Tesla Semi Prototype Scooped Testing On Public Roads

Tesla wants to leave its mark on heavy-duty transportation with a fully-electric semi that’s planned to go into production in 2019.

The truck is currently in prototype form, and in this video, we see it for the first time testing out in the open since it debuted during a special event at the end of last year.

The short clip posted on YouTube was shot somewhere in the States near a UPS depot, and as expected, the Tesla Semi looks and sounds very fast. Officially, it needs just 5 seconds to sprint from rest to 60mph (96km/h), when it’s not dragging a trailer behind it, or 20 seconds under heavy load.

As all vehicles made by Tesla, the Semi is not only about speed and power. It features a zero-emission range of up to 500 miles (800km), in the top-of-the-line model, for which the automaker is expected to ask about $180,000. Slash $30,000 from that price and you could get a lower model with 300 miles (480km) of range in between charges.

Tesla has already received plenty of interest for the Semi. Despite the company’s history of delaying products, they already have 100 units reserved by PepsiCo, and 125 units reserved by UPS, with the latter being their largest order yet.

All-in-all, the Californian maker has received some 1,500 reservations, with customers including Wal-Mart, J.B. Hunt, Sysco, and Anheuser-Busch, among others.


  • Weight?

    How much more does a bobtail rig like this weight over a diesel bobtail rig fully fueled?

    • smartacus

      enough to lessen the amount of cargo you can haul to keep below the 80,000 lb limit.

      And the weight balance will be different, so expect a lot of battery power to be used up
      dancing on the truck scales to achieve proper weight balance distribution on the axles.

      • benT

        Linked is the regulated weights and measures of prime move (tractor) and trailer that can be attached in Western Australia which has some of the longest road freight routes in the world for livestock and freight.

        NOTE ::
        the 65.5 units weight limit for prime mover AND trailer – this means 65.5 tonnes (65,000 kg) or more than 125,000 lbs approximately.

        The 50 unit limit is for overheight trailer.

        I am not an expert but these numbers are published by the Government Department that does ACTIVELY monitor and check weights and measures by stopping road trains in transit and checking on the road routes.

  • marioGTI

    Hideous electro-monster.

  • diesel_vdub

    It looks more like a toy than a semi.

  • Bash

    Looks really unattractive at all.

  • Mickey Jones

    One man cab. Middle seat. Interesting.

    • willhaven

      Wow – I just noticed that. A bit odd – I wonder if this is a prototype only feature or if they want to appeal to be able to sell to left and right hand drive markets without major changes.

    • Sébastien

      That worries me, imagine how much offset it’ll need to move before seeing if it’s safe to overtake or make a turn behind an obstacle.

  • Enter Ranting

    Can’t wait for these to hit the road. No more getting stuck behind a slow diesel-powered semi chugging up a hill.

    • LWOAP

      Don’t get your hopes up, son; only 200 or so have been reserved. And furthermore, the performance capabilities of the semi isn’t exactly getting the trucking industry all giddy with excitement either. The way they see it, hauling capacity is more important than 0 – 60 times. You’re going to be dealing with diesel rigs for quite some time.

      • willhaven

        *1500 reserved, but I agree – you won’t see these around too often.

        • LWOAP

          Thanks for the update.

      • Enter Ranting

        Thanks for the insight. I figured all big rigs would be replaced nation-wide over the course of an afternoon with Teslas.

  • smartacus

    faster accelerating
    semis will brittle the
    asphalt even faster.

    simple physics:
    the faster a heavy
    object accelerates,
    the harder counter
    force the surface
    pushes back with.

    and tesla won’t even
    pay for it because they
    don’t pay into Federal
    Highway Trust Fund
    in every gallon of gas.

    Ergo, the poor guy
    commuting on his
    500lb motorcycle to
    feed his family will
    pay for tesla’s share
    of road use through
    his meager pay going
    into the fuel he buys.

    oh how charitable of tesla
    to let others pay their way

  • UGH! Another Tesla Story


  • smartacus

    multiple tesla stories every single day
    yet no reporting of the tesla on autopilot that hit a firetruck???


    I forgot to mention, Tesla’s going to be competing with Volvo as well considering they are going to be making electric big rigs. The thing is though, Volvo says their product will be out the door next year.

    Will it actually happen? Find out ne……Oh, damn, my bad.

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