Tesla has unveiled its first electric lorry

Tesla electric lorry

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc, has unveiled the first electric-powered lorry in the world. The semi-articulated vehicle is set to revolutionise the haulage business, and it has a range of 500 miles on one charge. Diesel lorries with two fuel tanks can travel at least three times as far, and Aurora Energy Research say charging the 1,600-kilowatt battery could power 3000 -4000 averages houses, but Tesla have refused to speculate on this.

The lorry can do 0-60mph in 20 seconds when pulling weights of 36,287kgs, which is the maximum US load. It can also drive along stretches of road on auto-pilot and is due to go into production in 2019. There are around 3.5 million lorries in the USA, and most are diesel powered. Each produces around 500 grams of carbon per kilometre, so this would need to be offset against the carbon footprint involved in producing the electricity before Tesla claim their lorry reduces pollution.

The unique one-seater driver’s cabin is designed for safety and comfort. Jack-knifing is prevented by the lorry’s on-board sensors which detect instability and produce positive or negative torque to each wheel whilst independently activating the brakes. The camera’s help with object detection and provide information to the driver about blind spots, obstacles, and safety issues. The enhanced autopilot mode includes automatic emergency braking, lane keeping and lane departure warnings.

Before Tesla’s haulage dream can become a viable alternative, millions of dollars will need to be spent across the highways of America on electrical infrastructure. The launch of the lorry took place at the company’s HQ in LA where they also unveiling a new Tesla Roadster, which Musk said would become the fastest production car ever made and can reach 100mph in 4.2 seconds. It can also travel 620 miles before needing a charged which out performs petrol and diesel cars.

Tesla are already under pressure from investors after managing to produce only 260 of the 1,500 Model 3 cars it said it would in the third quarter of 2017.

The car is a mass-produced saloon, and the hopes are it will rival petrol cars in the market, but with such small numbers being produced Tesla have a long way to go, in 2016, the US produced around 3.2 million cars. The semi-articulated lorry will be the first mass produced electric lorry, although Daimler, Cummins, and Volkswagen all have concept designed and hope to break into the market.