Here's Everything You Need To Know About Tesla's Electric Semi Truck

In 2017, Elon Musk officially unveiled the Tesla Electric Semi truck prototypes to the public. The EV automaker's CEO was riding shotgun in a Tesla Semi to the stage amidst an excited crowd. It wasn't just one big electric truck on stage, but another smaller electric truck prototype graced the occasion. During the unveiling event, Elon Musk revealed a few specifications about the Tesla Semi and said it would be produced in 2019.

Fast forward to our present time, and it has been around half a decade since Tesla's Semi truck was unveiled, yet we haven't seen it doing deliveries — if you don't count the spy photos, that is. However, the EV maker is taking reservations for its electric semi-truck and mass production could be around the corner. If everything goes according to plan, the Tesla Semi will be a game-changer for hauling large payloads of goods across long distances, and there are some good reasons to be excited about the model's arrival.

The Tesla Semi is a super-fast truck

When the Tesla Semi was introduced, Elon Musk revealed that it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds – though if it's fully loaded to the max weight capacity of 80,000 pounds, it can hit that speed in about 20 seconds. To put that into context, most diesel trucks can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 15 seconds, Musk said during the unveiling event. In fact, the Tesla Semi's acceleration speed is akin to that of the Volvo Iron Knight, which can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.6 seconds and was named the world's fastest commercial diesel truck in 2016. Also of note is that the Tesla Semi can maintain 65 mph uphill on a 5% grade.

Its incredible speed can be attributed to its aerodynamics and electric motors. "We designed the Tesla truck to be like a bullet," Elon Musk had explained. "The Tesla Semi has a 0.36 drag coefficient. By way of comparison, the Bugatti Chiron has a 0.38 coefficient of drag." He further added that the Tesla Semi is powered by "four independent motors on each of the rear wheels."

It may have the longest EV range

Tesla's CEO confirmed that the Tesla Semi will have a range of up to 500 miles when fully loaded. Elon Musk later said in an interview (via Electrek) that the range could reach up to 620 miles. If that happens, it would mean that the Tesla Semi will have the longest EV range in the world. As the record currently stands, the Lucid Air Grand Touring has the longest EV range at 516 miles (EPA rated).

The Tesla Semi's long range will be made possible using 4680 cells, which can increase the range by up to 16% compared to the 2170 cells that are used in most Tesla vehicles today, as first explained during Tesla's Battery Day 2020 event. Keep in mind that a different version of the Tesla Semi was also introduced in 2017 that was said to have a top range of 300 miles at maximum weight. As for how long it will take to charge these commercial trucks, Tesla says they'll be able to add 400 miles of range in around 30 minutes using the Megacharger network it is building at truck stops across the country (via Tesla).

The truck will be safe and easy to drive

Unlike most big rigs that have 10 to 18 gears, the Tesla Semi only has one gear. "It's smooth like you're driving a Model S or Model X or Model 3," Elon Musk told the crowd during the automaker's unveiling event in 2017. The Tesla Semi will also come with Autopilot driving as a standard feature. Some of the Autopilot features will include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and automatic lane keeping. 

"Even if you're in the truck and you have a medical emergency, the truck will stay in lane, and gradually come to halt and put on the emergencies. If it doesn't hear a response from you, it will actually call emergency services like an ambulance," Elon Musk also stated. The truck is also designed to prevent jackknifing by automatically adjusting the wheels. Besides that, the Tesla Semi truck will include "thermonuclear explosion-proof glass," and possibly automatic tire inflation technology (via Electrek).

The Tesla Semi could be produced in 2023

While speaking at the opening ceremony of Tesla's Gigafactory in Texas, Tesla's CEO said that the Tesla Semi will be produced in 2023, along with the Cybertruck and Roadster. In fact, it's one of the reasons why Tesla built a Gigafactory in Texas –- so it could have the capacity to produce all three EV models. Once the Semi is released, Tesla expects that it will be sold at a starting price of $150,000 for the 300-mile range model and $180,000 for the 500-mile range model.

Assuming those prices prove accurate, it means the Tesla Semi won't be very expensive compared to other diesel trucks – not to mention, it will reportedly be cheaper to maintain and fuel than most alternatives. "A diesel truck will be 20% more expensive than a Tesla Semi per mile," according to Elon Musk. Tesla's CEO also says customers will be able to drive the commercial truck for a million miles without it breaking down. At the time of writing, the Tesla Semi is available to reserve from Tesla's website with a deposit of $20,000.