The Tesla Semi already has some big-name reservations

Tesla on Thursday night unveiled its electric semi truck, but the massive new vehicle was overshadowed by what it was hauling inside. Then Tesla announced a new roadster, which Tesla says will go from zero to 60 in 1.9 seconds, has a top speed of 250 miles per hour and has a 620-mile range.

At the same event, Tesla also introduced a new version of its first sports vehicle, the Roadster. Tesla is way behind on production of the Model 3, a new lower-cost sedan, with some customers facing waits of 18 months or more.

Musk said Tesla plans a worldwide network of solar-powered "megachargers" that could get the trucks back up to 400 miles of range after charging for only 30 minutes.

A zero-to-sixty time of 5 seconds, or 20 seconds with a full 80,000-pound load.

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"Overall, the Semi is more responsive, covers more miles than a diesel truck in the same amount of time, and more safely integrates with passenger vehicle traffic", Tesla said.

The Roadster is scheduled to go into production in 2020, and the Semi should become available in 2019, Musk said. Of course, with the pickup truck business being huge in the United States, it might just happen eventually to allow the Palo Alto company grab a piece of the action.

Elon Musk continues to disrupt the auto industry with Tesla's innovations. "It probably is, based on the specs provided, but this isn't necessarily a slam dunk".

Meanwhile, J.B. Hunt Transportation Services also announced today that it would be experimenting with the Tesla Semi.

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But Chief Executive Elon Musk did not offer details about how Tesla would fund these projects, leaving Wall Street analysts sceptical about the company's ability to ramp up production as it spends money at a quick clip.

"The Tesla Semi will deliver a far better experience for truck drivers, while increasing safety and significantly reducing the cost of cargo transport", said a statement from Tesla. And if three streamlined Semis are platooned as a close-following convoy, the cost per mile would go down to 85 cents, Musk said.

What could be particularly appealing to fleet operators is the Tesla Semi's tight integration with management services and applications. "So far, that final element has eluded Tesla Motors, which makes it hard to see these vehicles as more than "what if" concept cars". Musk has said it should take about two years for the semi to go on sale.

But truck drivers may still have some reservations.

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But most of that growth is expected to be for smaller, medium-duty haulers like garbage trucks or delivery vans. And charging even a mid-sized truck would likely require a two-hour stop, cutting into companies' efficiency and profits, says Brian Irwin, managing director of the North American industrial group for the consulting firm Accenture.


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