Two new Teslas are on the way, and they couldn’t be more different from each other.
CEO Elon Musk drove an electric semi-truck onto a stage in Hawthorne, California, during a live webcast Nov. 16. The truck will have a range of 500 miles “at maximum weight and highway speed,” Musk said.
“Because the vast majority of routes are 150, 200 miles, it means that you can go to your destination and back” without recharging, he said.
But eventually it’ll have to charge, and Musk said his company plans a “worldwide” network of solar-powered “megachargers” which, in 30 minutes, will charge the trucks for a 400-mile range.
“By the time you’re done with your break, the truck is ready to go,” he promised drivers. “You will not be waiting for your truck to charge.”
As for performance, “The Tesla Semi will go zero to 60 in five seconds. That’s by itself or with a trailer,” Musk said. When loaded and traveling at 80,000 pounds maximum gross vehicle weight—the most allowed on U.S. roads—Tesla’s truck goes zero to 60 in 20 seconds, a fraction of the time diesel trucks take.
And he claimed “this truck will not break down for a million miles,” saying, “It has four independent motors. You can lose two of those four motors and the truck will still keep going.”
Musk said nothing about the price of the Tesla Semi, which goes into production in 2019, but he already has a customer. A day after the unveiling, trucking company J.B. Hunt announced it reserved “multiple” trucks.
“We believe electric trucks will be most beneficial on local and dray routes, and we look forward to utilizing this new, sustainable technology,” said John Roberts, J.B. Hunt’s CEO.
When Musk was finished talking about the truck, he surprised the audience by unveiling a prototype of the new Tesla Roadster. The shiny red electric sports car was driven out of the truck’s cargo hold onto the stage.
“This is going to have a 200 kilowatt-hour battery pack,” giving it a 620-mile range on a full charge, he said.
“The point of doing this is to just give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” Musk added, promising “the new Tesla Roadster will be the fastest production car ever made. Period.”
He said the car will go from zero to 60 in 1.9 seconds with a top speed of about 250 mph. Expect a $200,000 sticker price when production begins in 2020.
While it grabs a lot of the headlines, Tesla is not alone.
“Tesla isn’t the only company making big EV announcements. The industry is moving quickly and developing products that meet a variety of needs,” said Brian Sloboda, with NRECA’s Business and Technology Strategies Department.
“The key for co-ops will be to ensure that charging is developed in a way that benefits the vehicle’s owner and the local grid,” Sloboda added.
Michael W. Kahn is a staff writer at NRECA.