Elon Musk Unveils Tesla Semi, Roadster in ‘Smackdown to Gasoline Cars’

Elon Musk finally unveiled Tesla’s semi truck to a live audience in Hawthorne, California, and he did so in the Muskiest of ways: By driving up in a pair of huge, futuristic-looking semi trucks to Queens of the Stone Age’s rockin’ “Feet Don’t Fail Me” before leaping out of one of the truck’s cabins and raising his hands in triumph to cheers from the crowd. Oh, he and Tesla also unveiled their new Roadster prototype, which can go for more than 620 miles on a single charge, top 250 miles per hour, and rocket from 0-60 in 1.9 seconds. 

As Elon said during the event, this is Tesla’s “hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars.”

The Tesla Semi Truck 

The event started off quite late, as usual, but the patience of Tesla fans was rewarded with another glimpse of a fast, efficient, all-electric future. First up was what many thought would be the only unveil at the event, the Tesla Semi truck. Two of the cargo-haulin’ beasts showed up simultaneously, one silver, and one a Batman-ish matte black. (Seriously, if Wayne Enterprises ever deployed a fleet of semi trucks, it would look like that one.)

As soon as Musk’s polished dress shoes hit the concrete floor in front of the crowd, he started talking the Semi’s numbers, which all showcase the potential of a fully electric drivetrain in this capacity. And because speed seems to be a sticking point for Tesla, its Semi can go from 0-60 three times faster than a comparable diesel rig, blasting from standstill to highway cruising speed in 5 seconds flat. For reference, a 2017 Mercedes C300 Coupe, a fairly sporty two-door luxury car, takes 6.2 seconds to hit the same speed.

But semi trucks aren’t really made for stoplight drag racing, they’re made for cargo hauling, and that’s exactly what these Tesla trucks are best at. Musk noted during the presentation (nay, event!) that the Tesla Semi can haul the max allowable payload of 80,000 pounds over a distance of 500 miles at highway speeds. Most modern diesel trucks trounce that number, with well over 1,000 miles of range on average, but Musk also noted that most semi trips only average 250 miles. Plus, the Tesla Semi can be recharged with Tesla’s Megacharger supercharging stations while cargo is being loaded and loaded.

The Tesla Semi also has “Thermonuclear Explosion-Proof Glass” (it’s an exaggeration, of course, but apparently strong glass is critical for trucking), an advanced version of Tesla’s trademark autopilot, and a ton of other safety features that aim to make this the safest truck on the road. And for the pièce de résistance, the Tesla Semi trucks can be set up in convoys, which, it seems, only require a human driver in the one leading vehicle, and are claimed to be ten times safer than current convoy trucking.

The Tesla Semi is set for production in 2019, and while no cost of the truck was given, Musk said that, in convoy configuration, the Tesla Semi trucks will be half the price of diesel semis and even less expensive than rail transport.

The New Tesla Roadster 

After sending the two behemoth electric Semis away, it seemed as if the presentation was over. But again, in very Musky fashion, there was an encore surprise. Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla’s head of vehicle design, rolled out in a new prototype Tesla Roadster (to Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” by the way), which is not only drop dead gorgeous, but also likely to become the electric sports car.

As mentioned, the new Roadster’s ridiculous numbers mean that it’s going to break just about every world record there is in terms of speed for a production car. Zero to sixty in 1.9 seconds means that the Roadster will beat the $2.6 million Bugatti Chiron by a full half-second. Its quarter mile time of 8.9 seconds is especially skull exploding (to paraphrase Musk), seeing as how the quarter mile time of the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport — the world’s current fastest quarter mile monster — is almost a full second slower.

Musk also said that the Roadster will be able to hit some mysterious top speed north of 250 miles per hour, which is bonkers for any supercar, but especially one that has four seats and a couple of trunks. And for any car nuts out there, the most impressive number coming out of the new Tesla Roadster may be the amount of torque (or turning power, which is what gives the car the feel of go) it produces. The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport has about 1,100 lb-ft of torque. The new Tesla Roadster will have 7,400 lb-ft. It will have nearly seven times the amount of oomph that the world’s current fastest production car has. Which is insane. Which is ludicrous. Which is… absolutely plaid! (Yes, the new Roadster actually has a “plaid” mode, and yes, that’s a reference to Spaceballs.)

Unfortunately, unlike Tesla cars, Tesla wait times tend to be quite slow (and often a bit delayed). Also, it seems that the Tesla Roadster will probably set buyers back a cool $250,000. So you’ll have to wait until at least 2020 to watch rich people snap their necks in half while they blast off into the future.

What do you think about the new Tesla Semi and Tesla Roadster? Do you think these vehicles are going to further disrupt the internal combustion engine car market, or are you still waiting to finally see some Model 3s on the road? Give us your thoughts in the comments below!

Images: Tesla 

We For One Welcome Our Robot Overlords…

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