Well, after their recent surprise announcement that such a thing existed, Elon Musk and Tesla announced and demonstrated their new “heavy bed” electric truck.
What does this mean for things like transportation and moving companies?
The original ad
A few months ago, Musk did one of his famous “oh, by the way… “Announcement type. This broke the news, with all the fuss and drama you would expect from someone saying”oh i think it will rain tomorrow“, which would soon showcase a high-tech, all-electric transportation platform.
Virtually every industry expert was shocked and excited. Some were highly skeptical that this was possible in the few months between Musk’s announcement and the deadline for the truck’s introduction to the world.
As usual, Tesla proved the latter to be wrong, including what was pure theatricality when, at the same time it was introducing the truck, a new Tesla electric supercar appeared from inside, again to the surprise of almost everyone.
However, let’s not talk more about the car here!
At the time of writing this article (November 2017), the truck has in many respects exceeded expectations.
Externally, the tractor and trailer don’t look THAT different. Sure, there is some streamlining and that not only improves the aerodynamics but also makes it look much prettier than most.
It is really in the cockpit that the huge visual differences are noticeable. Of course, unsurprisingly, it’s packed with technology including cameras, computers, and display screens, including radar. It also comes with armored glass that apparently won’t shatter or crack.
However, the most obvious difference is that the driver’s seat is in the middle of the cabin, not to the side. It is also unique in that both the driver and the passenger can stand upright in the cabin.
All that said, if you include the internal appearance of the cabin, this truck looks very different.
The figures cited by Tesla have yet to be independently verified, but they include some pretty staggering claims:
500 miles (805k) between recharges
Quick recharge technology
0-60 mph (96kph) in 5 seconds (without trailer). This comes down to 20 seconds when a loan of 80,000 pounds (approximately 36,000k) is obtained.
Of course, all of this comes with zero or near zero emissions.
It seems like an attractive proposition.
As with all things Tesla, its innovation is second to none, but application and practicality can be challenging at times.
For example, Tesla admits that, to put it bluntly, it has gotten into trouble with some of its car production. They have far exceeded technology and marketing (people want their cars), but what they are struggling with is the sordid and perhaps boring for them, that is, with mass production.
Hence, production delays and missing targets have become something they are almost as famous for as their groundbreaking approaches.
As some point out, the truck is supposed to go into production in late 2019, but so far there is little to say about numbers or even pricing. So, there is a big unknown there.
Others point out that, perhaps a bit like the original Nikola Tesla, they may be risking a dilution of their focus on too many radically different lines of R&D. The risk is that their overall business impact will be degraded, as they are basically trying to do. too much at the same time.
Right now, Musk appears to be driving major innovations in domestic electricity production, electric cars, electric trucking, aviation, high-speed tube transcontinental transportation schemes, orbital travel, and even deep space. Clearly, there are synergies between some of these efforts, but some people wonder if this is too much for a single company or man to keep up with.
The world is already a better place for Tesla and Elon Musk. This new truck seems to be part of that, but it will need to have a real impact on the road and in numbers if the company and its concepts are to achieve credibility in this domain.