Tesla CEO Elon Musk is a master of hype, always seeming to mix the right amount of futurism and business to work his admirers into a froth. The hype comes in waves around each new development from one of his enterprises — either from Tesla, or SpaceX, the Boring Co., Neuralink, or OpenAI — and this week, it’s the Tesla Semi Truck.
On Wednesday, Musk followed up a Sunday afternoon tweet (that memorably used the phrase “will blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension)“ with a teaser photo of the Tesla Semi, silhouetted against the night-blue sky, with its fluorescent headlines illuminated.
He later tweeted, the truck “can transform into a robot, fight aliens and make one hell of a latte.” Musk seems to be embracing the criticism and he’s a hype man and making light of it.
Later on Wednesday, Musk shared a video (animation?) of the truck pulling up:
The original debut date for the truck was October 26, which was delayed because of Model 3 production delays, and Tesla’s battery projects in Puerto Rico after the hurricane took out power on the island country after Hurricane Maria.
The below image was sent to people invited to the big reveal:
And this photo below surfaced recently online, believed to be Tesla’s Semi Truck:
“A lot of people don’t think you can do a heavy-duty, long-range truck that’s electric, but we are confident that this can be done,” Musk told Tesla shareholders at its annual meeting in September. “So we’ll be showing off a working prototype not too long from now, at the end of September.”
Musk has said the Tesla Semi Truck will hit the roads in 2019. “We will probably reach scale production on the semi in about two years,” he said at the shareholder meeting in September. “Maybe 18 months, but probably about two years.”
Here’s Musk talking about the Tesla Semi Truck at the TED 2017 conference in April, where he first revealed that teaser image:
The big reveal is set for 8 p.m. Pacific on Thursday night at the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne, California, southwest of Los Angeles. It will also be live-streamed on tesla.com.
“Most of that semi is actually made out of Model 3 parts, by the way,” Musk said at the TED conference. “It’s using a bunch of Model 3 motors. We’re revealing too much about the future of it but … we’re able to use a very high-volume vehicle and then combine several motors to have something that I think is actually going to have a very good gross margin.”
Reuters reported in August that the truck’s battery will have a range of between 200 and 300 miles, making it useful for regional shipping. The average semi truck has a 250-gallon tank capacity, and if the average 18-wheeler gets 5.5 miles per gallon, that’s 1,375 miles between fill-ups. But different tank sizes, the weight of the load, the grade of the terrain, and other factors all play into it.
“This will be a very spry truck,” Musk said. “You can drive it around like a sports car.”
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