Tesla showed off its new big rig Thursday night at an airport next to its design headquarters in Hawthorne. But CEO Elon Musk didn't stop there. Always one to push boundaries, he used the new Tesla Semi to drop off a brand-new version of the Roadster sports car, which rolled out of its cargo hold and sped away on the tarmac, demonstrating its record-breaking acceleration.
"There's only one thing beyond ludicrous, and that's plaid," Musk said, before the Roadster demonstrated what it's designed to do: obliterate any and all gas-powered competition with a sports car that can rocket from 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds -- the fastest of any production car ever to be built. The four-seater will be able to travel 620 miles per charge, Musk said.
Before the Roadster rolled across the runway, the Tesla Semi had already exceeded expectations, with its sleek, aerodynamic cab and high-tech interior, featuring a centered steering wheel and two touch screens. And then Musk revealed the truck's range: 500 miles per charge, even carrying a load of 80,000 pounds. That's about double the range most analysts were expecting, and indicates its intended use for long-haul trucking.
Musk says he's going to build something called a megacharger network that will allow the trucks to be recharged while they're being unloaded. The trucks can recharge to 400 miles of range in 30 minutes, using power entirely generated with solar.
The Tesla Semi can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds, Musk says -- 20 seconds when hauling 80,000 pounds.
The truck will be available in 2019, adding to a growing number of companies getting into electric freight. Already, Toyota is operating an electric truck powered with the same hydrogen fuel cells used in its Mirai sedan as part of a pilot program at the LA port
Automotive supplier, Bosch, is also working on a hydrogen fuel cell electric truck with with a company called Nikola Motor, while Daimler and Cummins have both built battery-electric truck concepts.