Tesla Truck is Awesome. New Roadster is a Bonus

November 17, 2017

0 to 60 in 5 seconds. 500 mile range.
That’s the truck – the roadster is faster, and runs farther.

Solar powered mega charger network – runs on sunlight.

“A hardcore smackdown” to gasoline powered transit.


Tesla has unveiled its first electric articulated lorry, designed to challenge diesel trucks as king of the road.

The long-anticipated Tesla Semi has a range of 500 miles on a single charge.

Tesla says the vehicle – known in the US as a semi-trailer truck – will go into production in 2019.
Chief executive Elon Musk also unexpectedly revealed a new Roadster, which he said would be “the fastest production car ever” made.

The red sports car was driven out of the trailer of the electric lorry during Tesla’s presentation on Thursday.

The Roadster will have a range of close to 1,000km (620 miles) on a single charge and will do 0-100mph in 4.2 seconds.


Mr Musk described it as “a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars”.

He said riding in traditional cars would be like driving “a steam engine with a side of quiche”. The new Roadster becomes available in 2020.

As for cost, the company said that per mile the Tesla Semi would work out cheaper than a diesel equivalent when fuel and other maintenance is taken into consideration – but did not share the cost of an individual truck.

The Diesel Technology Forum, a non-profit trade group that promotes the use of diesel, said Tesla’s announcement needed to be “evaluated in the context of reality”.

“Diesel is the most energy efficient internal combustion engine,” Allen Schaeffer, the forum’s executive director.

“It has achieved dominance as the technology of choice in the trucking industry over many decades and challenges from many other fuel types.

“Still, today, diesel offers a unique combination of unmatched features: proven fuel efficiency, economical operation, power, reliability, durability, availability, easy access to fuelling and service facilities, and now near-zero emissions performance.”

As well as coming up against diesel incumbents, Tesla also faces other electric rivals. Concept electric big rigs have been unveiled by Daimler, Volkswagen and Cummins – though all fall short on range, and none are currently on the roads.

Meanwhile, the Tesla is not the only game in the E-truck space.



The mayors of 12 major cities from around the world have taken a landmark step to increase the use of zero-emission public transportation late last month.

Mayors of London, Paris, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle, Auckland, and Cape Town all signed the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration, which pledges that they will add only fully electric buses to their cities’ public transportation from 2025.

Although electric buses are the largest part of the agreement, the mayors also agreed to other measures to reduce carbon output in their respective cities.

Roadster here.


24 Responses to “Tesla Truck is Awesome. New Roadster is a Bonus”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    I’m a much bigger fan of electric city buses than electric semis.

    City buses travel in the midst of the breathing public.
    City buses stop and “idle” more than most city transport.
    City buses travel on narrowly established routes with centralized chargers.

    I’m sure cities would enjoy the lower maintenance burden for their fleets, too.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Yep, electric buses make a lot of sense. There are a only a few electric bus lines in the country right now—-nothing like there used to be back in the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s before the General Motors Conspiracy wiped them out (along with the trolley lines) and brought in stinky IC powered buses. I can barely remember the electric buses in Newark, NJ just after WW2—-I was a kid—but I do remember it was neat that they “hummed”. There were a lot of electric trucks around back then also.

      • Canman Says:

        Did the electric trucks use the trolley wires? I find it hard to believe they’d’ve used batteries back then.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          No on the trolley wires—-they had batteries, big old lead-acid ones, which were invented around the time of the Civil War.. One of the earliest companies was Walker.

          “…These trucks had a 3.5 HP electric motor that was powered by many batteries to produce 66 to 80 volts and a maximum of 40 amps. The driving range of these trucks was about 50 miles and the maximum speed was 10 to 12 MPH…”.


          • redskylite Says:

            Thanks for that information, it is easy to underestimate earlier technologies and knowledge, we were on a good path in those early days and obviously time to extend. Exciting times.

          • Canman Says:

            That’s interesting. They look like giant golf carts.

  2. Gingerbaker Says:

    “The Diesel Technology Forum, a non-profit trade group that promotes the use of diesel, said Tesla’s announcement needed to be “evaluated in the context of reality”.

    The reality is that everything that rep said next is irrelevant. The Tesla rig outperforms every diesel rig on the planet for mechanical performance, economics, and environmental impact. And does it by a HUGE margin.

    Essentially, that rep is babbling about how his brand of buggy whip has the best specs of all the buggy whips available, while Elon Musk is selling the Model T.

    No doubt tomorrow, we will see diesel truck manufacturers take a big hit in the stock market.

  3. Gingerbaker Says:

    And that new Roadster – wow! Drop dead gorgeous. 0 – 60 mph in 1.9 seconds. It does the quarter mile in under 9 seconds (!) and has a top speed of over 250 mph. All this with a 620 range, 2 + 2 seating, and copious luggage space.

    Ferrari et al. must be sending their trousers to the cleaners.

  4. There isn’t really any reason for cities not going 100% electric vehicle fleet for public transportation and other fleets such as for cleaning streets, collecting trash, gardening, and policy cars will have the best argument to replace dirty oil cars with faster EVs. Health related issues from DIESEL exhaust and such are among the main short term arguments.

  5. Huh?“Still, today, diesel offers a unique combination of unmatched features: proven fuel efficiency, economical operation, power, reliability, durability, availability, easy access to fuelling and service facilities, and now near-zero emissions performance.” Near zero emissions performance? Who knew the answer to the problem of global warming lies under the bonnet of a semi?

    • webej Says:

      All combustion depends on oxidation, same as turning food into energy in your body. All the power any diesel can muster depends on oxidation of carbon with oxygen. Near zero emissions of CO² basically means zero power/energy. Whatever he is referring to when he says emissions, he cannot be referring to CO², nor micro-particulates for which diesels are famous. There is also a trade-off between hotter engine temperatures (and more nitrous oxides) or less heat (and less nitrous oxides) but poorer efficiency. No technological progress can get around the laws of nature.

      Electric vehicles are also only environmentally friendly when electricity generation switches to non-combustion processes, with the exception of urban driving, where there is a local benefit even if the electricity is generated from fossil-fuels (or nuclear).

  6. J4Zonian Says:

    While I’m thrilled to have improvements happening so fast now, to me, cooperative, that is, publicly-owned high speed rail still makes more sense for long distance passenger and freight (and eventually hyperloop and similar technologies). I think it will always be more efficient, faster in real life, cheaper to power. and better for both nature and democracy. Solar panels can be put on the train and tracks and more panels and wind turbines along the rights of way so almost no batteries have to be carried–more efficient in both expense and weight.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      I love the idea of rail, but there are. so many obstacles to overcome – not the least of which is finding the money for tracks and trains.
      On the other hand, comfortable, clean, quite buses with wi-fi and other amenities are getting traction on many routes, especially among young people.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        Yep and that’s good. They should all be part of the system, and buses are a lot quicker and cheaper to put in place than a national and international high speed rail network. HSR needs to hook into local hubs of light rail, buses, bikeshares, and other modes and it’s looking like there’s a good chance it will soon include self-driving cars and buses, even electric planes, maybe.

        The tendency in the US will be to go with the most extravagantly consumptive, flashy private modes that are an electric continuation of what we’ve been doing with oil, and neglect the rest. But we’ve waited so long, only radical solutions will be enough, and that includes equalizing politically and economically, cutting back on everything including travel and trade of all kinds, using mass transit a lot more than we do now, and revitalizing a publicly-owned rail system (hsr and other). Those modes of transport and everything else used only by the (globally) rich will need to be de-emphasized at least.

        What we need to do is slow down, feel things, think rationally, and take all the actions we can to ensure survival of civilization and the millions of species threatened by climate catastrophe and the larger ecological crisis. Our other choice is to continue those consumptive and comfortably busy lives that are all about distracting us from feeling (One major cause of climate denial is our lack of connection to unconsciousness, intuition, sacredness, aka connection and awareness of ecological webs…) Red sports cars and race car-like semis are part of that busyness. Musk has been brilliant, marketing first to the spoiled rich brat in us trying to be distracted, and then appealing to concentric circles of less and less wealthy people while prices followed the same pattern, developing the increasingly cheap infrastructure and unit price to mass produce game-changing machines and modes. But now it’s time to recognize that manipulation, admit our problem is psychological, confront both inner and outer reality and do whatever it takes to deploy the real solutions to this crisis.

        I’m not saying any of this is likely, in fact confronting our own emotional illness is by far the most difficult part of what is actually an eco-psychological crisis. It’s extremely unlikely. But if we want civilization and the millions of species threatened by climate catastrophe to survive, this is a small part of the huge change I think we have to make.

        • webej Says:

          Tesla is a great visionary, but whether they will be able to perform at manufacturing remains a question. Another question regards whether the sunken costs for the gigabattery plants will pan out in the face of new battery technologies that come by. Tesla’s funding might give way before competing forces.

          • J4Zonian Says:

            Yes, all true. But Musk’s contributions have already made everything put into the company worth it, even if the technology is now taken by other companies to develop. (And if the company fails we MUST make sure that happens–that the technology continues forward.) A gigafactory in China is being built because of Tesla’s inspiration, Australia is pursuing renewable options developed by Tesla, Musk has begun to repower Puerto Rico, showing both fossil fuels and the US government to be fatally flawed. Huge advances in cars, trucks, trains, batteries, and solar panels are all due to Musk at a crucial time for all of them.

            PS I hope he turns his attention to wind turbines; I’d love to see the same kinds of advances made there.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      Tesla projects that the new semi, when driven in tandem, and possibly without drivers, will be ==> lower cost/mile than rail (!).

      And, remember that rail only gets half the job done, moving stuff only from one railyard to another. Freight then has to be unloaded and driven to its myriad end users. With trucks.

      I certainly envy countries with great rail infrastructure, but the economics for the U.S. may not work out in its favor now.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        Projections of cost of things not yet in production often turn out to be wrong.
        Cost is not the only consideration.
        In a just, sane world, it’s not even close to the main consideration.
        If trucks can be driverless do you think trains can’t be?
        It essentially comes down to 2 different visions of the world, an atomized, profit-driven world of competition, (conservative) and an integrated, integrative, efficiency-driven world of cooperation (progressive). I prefer the latter, which in any case would be a hybrid, with the possibility of tremendous integration of parts–like trucks and trains. Musk could be a major driver of that integration.

        • J4Zonian Says:

          PS For all of Musk’s supposed revolutionaryness, he’s an incrementalist, taking what we have already and tweaking it a tiny bit to make baby steps toward sustainability. He’s a showman and salesman for those tiny changes to a world that still involves sports cars, and individual houses as self-reliant power sources made to look pretty much like houses now… I appreciate all this when I think about how ferocious the resistance is to any change at all, but really I like John Muir and the Nearings better as inspirations for the direction society needs to take.

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            You are starting to sound like an environmental perfection moralist. Sports cars are bad?

            Comfortable spacious houses for people are bad?

            Incrementalism is bad?

            The Nearings, God bless them, retreated into Luddite-ism. Musk is offering us salvational progress with luxury. Both seem valid to me, depending on personal tastes.

          • J4Zonian Says:


            What I should sound like, to those who fully understand the problem, is someone interested in real, practical solutions.

            We’re facing the most dire crisis in human existence and that’s only the GHG problem, only the foreground of the the full problem, which is the larger psycho-ecological crisis. Civilization is threatened with a chaotic and violent collapse within a century, even a few decades; the extinction of millions of species is increasingly likely, and human extinction, even the end of all life on Earth is possible if the combination of climate catastrophe, desertification, toxification, war including nuclear war (made much more likely by climate catastrophe, especially if we don’t prepare) destabilizes the cybernetic system of all life we’ve come to call Gaia.

            We’ve now waited so long that only radical and immediate solutions will be enough to prevent those effects for sure. Still, very few people are recognizing or admitting the urgency of the crisis. It’s crazy to think it will be enough to reduce carbon by 50 or 80% by 2050–the usual class of “solution” considered radical by most, even in left of center politics. Right now we’re trading the current and increasingly inevitable future deaths of millions, even billions, and hundreds of thousands or millions of extinctions, for the physical and emotional comfort of the richest few percent of people. The crisis, as well as virtually all our other problems, is overwhelmingly caused by those few percent, and the insulation from feedback that their wealth and privilege give them has turned them into terrible decision-makers. For both of those reasons the world can no longer afford rich people. Equalization, both political and economic, is crucial to solving the crisis. And both symbols and reality of wealth and privilege are likely to have to go if we’re going to survive as a cohesive global society.

            The direness of the crisis calls for an all-hands-on-deck, all-the-real-solutions-at-once right f now attitude. So, for example, while we’re replacing necessary travel and transport functions with low-carbon modes we also have to reduce both as much as possible—stay home, trade less, give up trivial extravagance—at least for the duration. Those who come after us, whose home and lives our complacency has wrecked, will have to figure out what happens then. While buses may be faster to build than rail systems, the greater energy, materials and land efficiency of rail should matter. In the absence of the only sane policy—a massive, immediate global mobilization including nationalizing the fossil and other industries and shutting them down as fast as alternatives can be built, (efficiency, wiser lives, clean safe renewable energy) Musk’s strategy to appeal to the immature rich by building another toy, and charging the people who could pay a huge amount was smart. Now it’s time to recognize reality, grow up and put the toys away.

            Will the rich do this? Hell no. Unless the rest of us stop it with a revolution, the selfish unconsciousness of wealth, power, and privilege will continue, demanding the usual extravagant toys and ostentation to distract the rich from their emptiness and continue to cow the poor by making them keep thinking that any day now they’ll be rich, too. The attempt to conquer nature has failed; the unleashed power of physics, chemistry and ecology has changed everything save our modes of feeling, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe. We could change direction, I suppose, but let’s not. We might sound like purists, or worse, environmentalists…

  7. livinginabox Says:

    I’m not a fan of fast cars, but I’m even less of a fan of fast dirty noisy cars.
    I live in an area where Aston Martins are pretty common, I see them almost every-day. We have an AM garage in town.
    These cars are very loud (deafeningly) when accelerating hard. I’m pretty sure the owners do this to show-off. I’d like them banned.

    I wish there were more Teslas.

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