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Not content with revolutionising the automobile industry with its electric cars, Tesla has now unveiled its first electric articulated lorry, which they hope will challenge diesel trucks as king of the road.
Revealed during a presentation at an airport in Los Angeles, the much-anticipated Tesla Semi has a range of 500 miles on a single charge and will go into production in 2019.
The Tesla Semi will be able to go from 0-60mph in an impressive 20 seconds, even when pulling 36,287kgs (80,000lbs), which is the maximum allowed on US roads.
Speaking onstage, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk said: "It's not like any truck that you've ever driven."
The truck is the next stage of Tesla's efforts to move the economy away from fossil fuels, through projects including electric cars, solar roofs and power storage. It has four motors, one for each rear wheel, and the driver's cab has also been redesigned with a roomy feel, with a centre seat for better visibility.
That said, it might be difficult for the company - which hasn't posted an annual profit in its 14 years of existence - to convince the trucking community that an affordable electric big rig can compete with the range and cargo capacity of low-cost, time-tested diesel trucks. Especially as its heavy batteries eat into the amount of cargo an electric truck can haul.
Diesel trucks are capable of travelling up to 1,000 miles on a single tank of fuel, twice as far as the 500 miles a single charge enables the Tesla truck to travel. Musk said that one 30 minute charge for the Class 8 vehicle, which is the heaviest weight classification for trucks, would be enough for the truck to go 400 miles.
He also said that diesel trucks were 20 percent more expensive per mile to operate than his electric truck. According to the Tesla website, the Tesla Semi will provide over $200,000 in fuel savings and a two-year payback period.
Credit: PA Images
At the same presentation, Musk also revealed the fastest production car ever made. The $200,000 shiny red Tesla roadster can do 0-60 in 1.9 seconds and reach a speed of up to 250 mph. It can also go 650 miles on a single charge.
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