Tesla's autonomous semi truck to start trials by October: Elon Musk

The self-driving electric truck is set to compete with traditional diesel trucks.

  • Published: September 15, 2017 2:23 PM IST

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that the company’s first take at electric trucks, the ‘Tesla Semi Truck’, will be unveiled for test rides in late October. The date is a month behind the intended schedule, and Musk announced via Twitter that it is still the tentative schedule. If all goes well, the electric lorry will be tested in Hawthorne, California.

The self-driving semi-truck is claimed to travel up to 1,000 miles on a single tank of fuel, and compete with traditional diesel vehicles. However, as The Guardian reports, analysts are skeptical if the battery technology used for the electric lorry, which takes up more volume and is heavier than conventional fuels, can match up to conventional diesel vehicles without reducing the truck’s maximum payload. However, given the electric truck’s capability of only 200 to 300 miles, it is said to be suitable for inner-city transport than loading for long-distance.

Tesla‘s plans for new electric vehicles were announced last year, with the release of the semi-truck scheduled earlier for September. As we are already mid of the month, the ‘tentative’ date has been pushed further. ALSO READ: Elon Musk’s Boring Company wants to build its own Hyperloop

Electric vehicles and transportation systems are the hottest areas of research, where technology companies including the likes of Google and Uber are trying their hands at bringing the seemingly environment-friendly transport to the commercial market. However, given the security concerns associated with unmanned vehicles, we are yet to see a fully-autonomous vehicle hitting the roads. Google is already working on an autonomous car project, while Waymo – Uber’s commercial transport research projects, is also working at building similar vehicles and services, which aid in efficiency by cutting down on fuel costs. ALSO READ: Elon Musk’s Tesla remains apathetic towards India’s push for ‘Make in India’

As for the Tesla Semi Truck, the plan is reportedly to test long-haul electric lorries, which move in platoons or road-trains. These will automatically follow a lead vehicle driven by a human. With human interference, chances of accidents will also be reduced. In addition to that, the autonomous vehicles following together could help increase the aerodynamic efficiency of the trail of vehicles.

The UK Government has announced its plan to ban vehicles driven by diesel and petrol from 2040 as part of its efforts at tacking air pollution, compelling manufacturers to seek alternative approaches to fuel and transportation.

  • Published Date: September 15, 2017 2:23 PM IST