Elon Musk has made a habit of challenging the automotive establishment and the South African-born visionary is doing so again with an all-electric truck that will reportedly go into production in 2019. Called the Semi, it is powered by electric motors on the axles and customers can specify the size of the battery according to their requirements. Fully laden, the range is expected to be more than 800 km and it will have fast-charging capability that adds 640 km in 30 minutes. There is no mention of power figures, but it is clear the Semi will outperform any existing truck with a claimed 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time of 5,0 seconds. It completes the same feat with 36 tonnes of payload in 20,0 seconds, where an equivalent diesel truck takes a minute.
Because there is no engine and transmission, the cabin has a new, futuristic design, with the driver sitting in the middle with two touchscreens flanking him either side. Safety systems are similar to those available in luxury vehicles and it even has an anti-jack-knife function. Autonomous driving is also on the cards with functionality such as convoy driving, where trucks follow a leader. According to Tesla, the running and maintenance costs should be a fraction of those of conventional trucks.