By on February 22, 2018

Tesla Semi, Image: Tesla

Footage of Tesla’s electric semi truck has been circulating around the internet all month — proving the vehicle is more tangible than some might have previously argued. There appears to be at least two test platforms milling around California right now, and one of them is laying rubber on low-speed industrial roads.

While we’re not sure of the logistical merits of an electric semi offering blisteringly fast cab-only acceleration, Tesla’s truck certainly looks capable of trouncing your average bobtailed hauler. There’s even video evidence to back up this claim. However, fleet managers won’t give a rat’s ass about this, as it has nothing to do with optimizing efficiency.


That doesn’t make watching the electric truck pull away any less impressive. We expected Tesla’s hauler to be a torque monster capable of superior acceleration, but this thing looks downright fast. The test platform showcased in the video (found via a Jalopnik sharing) even distributes two rows of rubber directly over the road’s painted “25 mph” marker in an act of utter defiance.

Take that, The Man.

Presumably, the company will want to add some sort of limiter to prohibit lead-footed truckers from doing exactly this once the vehicle goes into production. But Tesla already said the truck is supposedly capable of a 0-to-60 time of about five seconds without a trailer, and Elon Musk claimed it was intentionally designed to “be like a bullet.”

We may see this truck entering commercial service with a silly ludicrous mode that fleet managers have to beg the company to disable.

[Image: Tesla Motors]

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41 Comments on “New Video Footage Proves Tesla’s Semi Is Needlessly Fast...”

  • avatar

    What does that speed do to the battery range? That thing was really cooking.

  • avatar

    What’s the point of a semi truck that will spend most of its time standing still at a charging station? Will fleet managers shun the vehicle because of that, as they should, or will they be blinded by greenie propaganda and lies and acquire it nevertheless?

    • 0 avatar

      Probably won’t replace long haul obviously. But short haul in urban/suburban areas might benefit from the decreased noise alone. Anyone that lives behind a loading dock listening to trucks idle at 4 AM will love these.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Long haul trucking is defined at a driving radius of 250 miles or more.

        The Tesla Semi is supposed to be able to drive up to 500 miles with the big battery. “Long haul” seems feasible for it.

    • 0 avatar

      @asdf: You can put 400 miles of range into it in 30 minutes.

    • 0 avatar

      What lies are you talking about?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @asdf: Of course, you’re wrong again.

      Fleet managers want the lowest cost/lb/mile, not greenie points. If the Tesla Semi doesn’t deliver that, then it will fail.

    • 0 avatar

      In densely populated cities like Paris and London these things would make a lot of sense. You are probably right that in the US it will not fly – we have a government that enthusiastically supports every form of pollution.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m sure fleet managers are frequently blinded by greenie propaganda. Perhaps you can set up a speaking tour to unblind them. UPS – those “save the whale” MFs might be your first stop. They’ll thank you some day….

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I believe inner city work would suit a truck like this. Overnight and really long haul, maybe not so good.

      It wouldn’t work to well in Australia, where our major cities are at their closest 1 000km apart.

      • 0 avatar

        If they install the giga-chargers at intermediate locations, it could be done. The charge rate for the giga-chargers is supposed to allow it to get 400 miles range in 30 minutes. Don’t know where the power would come from though – maybe a solar farm?

        I haven’t seen specs on the gigacharger, but I have seen photos of the semi trucks connector and it’s 8 big pins in a straight line. Given the trucks power consumption of less the 2kWh per mile, it would need 800kW for 400 miles. That would mean 4 separate 400kW chargers (the largest I know about) connected to the truck to get that much power into the truck in 30 minutes. So the 8 pin connector makes sense.

      • 0 avatar

        For the long haul, these trucks will eventually be semi-autonomous and capable of platooning. Meaning, one lead human driver can guide 5 or so trucks on a long haul pretty efficiently, and improve range. Once the trucks arrive in congested cities, human drivers can board and take over.

  • avatar

    Oh my…look fake cab. Long haul much?

  • avatar

    Anything regarding Tesla or what it does is “needless”.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    As someone who is all too frequently stuck behind slowly accelerating trucks in stop and go suburban traffic, I welcome our new speedy semi overlords.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…needlessly fast”

    Says who? Try telling that to the semi driver trying to merge with heavy traffic.

    All the video proves is that a tractor without a 50,000 trailer behind it is pretty quick. I think the fully-laden Semi is supposed to do 0-60 in 20 seconds. In these days of 7-second SUVs and 6-second family sedans, that’s not overly quick, but it beats the ~35-second 0-60 of an average semi by a lot.

    Why the obsession to print daily put-downs of Tesla? A quick truck is a win, but you make fun of it just like a schoolyard bully.

    Clicks = money, I guess.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    It doesn’t matter how fast it will go pulling a trailer. Most fleet operations (large trucking firms) have governors that cap the speed at 70mph (or less)-mandated by their insurance companies.

    However-Telsa can’t build the Model 3’s to any consistent schedule-why would a semi truck by any different?

  • avatar

    The Tesla semis will run 100mph plus in massive network of transcontinental tunnels that Musk is boring. But only the cool kids in Teslas get to drive in them.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Obviously the next step in this rig’s development is to mount one on top of a Saturn V Rocket and see if it can catch the roadster.

    • 0 avatar

      I was looking at the BFR specs and if I’m reading it correctly, you could fit the Tesla Semi and a trailer. I suppose you’d have to blast Deep Purple’s Space Truckin’ instead of Bowie.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Large trucks already have torque limiting to the drive wheels. Most modern prime movers will wheel spin at 100kph (unloaded) in the dry.

    I’m not stating the Tesla is not faster.

    My ute come BT50 pickup wheel spins at 100kph on the freeway ramp going to work in the damp/wet in 4th gear, all the nanny aids lights start flashing. I have yet to turn of the aids to see what the outcome will be. Fun, maybe?

  • avatar

    Trucks seem like an application where swappable batteries would be a good idea.

    A lot of trucks will work from a company depot which sounds like the perfect place for a battery charger and a forklift. If you wanted to invest enough you could string up a set of depots along your busiest long haul routes.

    Of course I also think small trucks would be a much better place to start electrifying. Most of these will work out of a depot, drive in stop start, not drive long distance, and sit idle over night. But then maybe you need to being doing huge distances for the fuel savings to offset purchase price.

    • 0 avatar

      It may work on short haul runs like from Phoenix to delivery points one-half the battery pack range, and back.

      But for cross-country? Doesn’t seem likely.

      Team driving usually means driving long-haul around the clock, not counting the time for lumpers to load or unload.

      Drivers getting paid by the mile can’t make any money when they are laid up overnight waiting for their tractor’s battery banks to charge.

  • avatar

    Musk could use autonomous “refueling trucks” full of batteries that drive behind the EV semi for 30 minutes at a time. A special coupling would allow them to “dock” at speeds up to 65 mph. Tesla Refueling trucks would be staged along the interstate system and dispatched as needed. The refueling trucks themselves would be charged by parking next to giant Tesla coils that would also distribute free electricity to host communities. When a refueling truck can’t hold a charge any longer it would be sent to Venus in a SpaceX rocket for refurbishing.

  • avatar

    400 miles of range in 30 minutes …. And how much less time on oil changes? Adding 15 minutes to a driver swap isn’t fantastic. Adding a day of use every couple months is. This only works if the # and location of chargers works out to not waiting an hour to start charging. That’s logistics, and trucking companies are either good at it or already broke.

  • avatar

    Did anyone else hear the loud high pitch noise? I hope the production version doesn’t do that.

    • 0 avatar

      I can hear the high-frequency noise from the PWM controller on Toyota HSD drives. They’re pretty common in my town, and it’s handy to know when a hybrid is braking without looking — they’re pretty quiet otherwise.

      Drag racing EVs just happen to sound like a cordless drill from hell. I don’t think there’s much you can do about that. I’ve never much cared for the sound & fury of big engines with “modified” exhaust systems, and high-power EVs have been winning races ever since Plasmaboy’s White Zombie EV drag racer.

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