Trucker 1249 Teslatruck

Sneak peek at Tesla's all-electric Class 8 prototype

May 2, 2017
Rig will 'out-torque any diesel semi, 'drive like a sports car,' Musk says

Elon Musk, CEO and chairman of Tesla Motors, shared a glimpse of the company’s planned electric truck, which he said will be launched in September. He spoke at the 2017 TED conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The photo (seen above),  which immediately went viral, is extremely flashy, but in many ways is not all that dramatically different than other concept vehicle images truck manufacturers have shown in recent years.

While there have been advances in electric technologies in recent years, it generally has been aimed for smaller vehicles traveling shorter ranges. A tweet from Musk about the electric Class 8 earlier this month drew a mix of praise, curiosity and criticism from analysts and journalists.

At the TED conference, Musk did not shed too many details, based on the official blog posting from the conference. That did not stop him from making a bold prediction that his electric truck can “out-torque any diesel semi” while be driven around “like a sports car.”

Musk also said Tesla is on track for completing a fully autonomous car trip from Los Angeles to New York before the end of 2017.

While that ambition could run afoul of federal and state laws, he said “we should be able to go from a parking lot in California to a parking lot in New York, no controls touched at any point during the entire journey.”

He said the Tesla Model 3, expected this summer, will offer autopilot using passive optical cameras and GPS, but not light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology.

About the Author

Neil Abt

Neil Abt, editorial director at Fleet Owner, is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting experience, including 15 years spent covering the trucking industry. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., he began his career covering sports for The Washington Post newspaper, followed by a position in the newsroom of America Online (AOL) and then both reporting and leadership roles at Transport Topics. Abt is based out of Portland, Oregon.

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