Elon Musk unveils Tesla electric truck and new sports car

‘The point of doing this is just to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars’

Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s first electric semi-truck on 16th November along with the 1000km range Tesla sports car, the Roadster. Video: Tesla

 

Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s first electric semi-truck on Thursday evening at an event in Los Angeles that also included the surprise reveal of a new Tesla sports car.

The new Roadster, which has the same name as the first electric vehicle produced by Tesla from 2008 to 2012, emerged from the back of one of the trucks at the end of a presentation that focused largely on the economic and performance needs of truck drivers.

“The point of doing this is just to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” Musk said. “Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.”

While the sports car provided a jolt of excitement for Tesla enthusiasts, much of the event focused on pitching the truck to truck drivers - customers with very different concerns than the average Tesla owner.

In typical Musk style, the CEO had hyped the truck on Twitter throughout the week. On Sunday, he promised that it “will blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension”, while on Wednesday he teased that the truck “can transform into a robot, fight aliens and make one hell of a latte”.

There was no espresso machine to be seen, but Musk did promise a laundry list of features he claimed would ensure the overall cost of ownership will be 20 per cent less per mile compared with diesel trucks.

Among them: faster acceleration; better uphill performance; a 805km range at maximum weight at highway speed; and “thermonuclear explosion-proof glass” in the windshield.

Safety features include enhanced autopilot, lane-keeping technology, and a design that makes jackknifing “impossible”, Musk said.

Tesla Roadster 2. Photograph: Tesla/Reuters
Tesla Roadster 2. Photograph: Tesla/Reuters

‘Economic suicide’

The company plans to build a network of “Megachargers” (as opposed to the “Superchargers” used by other Tesla vehicles) that can produce a 644km charge in 30 minutes.

Musk claimed it would be “economic suicide” to continue using diesel trucks, saying the Tesla version, if driven in convoy, would be cheaper than shipping goods by rail.

The CEO’s promises for the new Roadster were no less ambitious. Musk said the car’s acceleration from 0 to 60 m/h (96 km/h) and 0 to 100 m/h (160 km/h), as well as its quarter-mile speed, were all “world records” for production cars.

He said production on the trucks would begin in 2019 and the sports cars would be available in 2020.

Despite the confidence exuded by Musk, questions will undoubtedly arise about the company’s capacity to manufacture the new vehicles.

Tesla debuted its first mass-market sedan, the Model 3, to much fanfare in July, when the waitlist for the vehicle already numbered more than 500,000. Since then, production has not gone smoothly.

In the third quarter of 2017, the company produced just 260 Model 3s - well below the 1,500 it had promised in August. Tesla blamed “production bottlenecks” for the delays. The Wall Street Journal reported that as recently as September, the cars were still being built by hand, rather than on an automated assembly line. – Guardian