Tesla is best known for its sporty all-electric sedans, but this month, we’re slated to get our first look at something much bigger from the automaker: its first electric semi-truck.
We’ve known Tesla has been working on an electric semi since at least July 2016, but outside of a Reuters report claiming the trucks will drive in autonomous platoons, there’s not much other information available. The trucks will likely be powered by Tesla’s batteries and outfitted with the automaker’s suite of sensors used for its Autopilot self-driving tech.
Tesla Semi truck unveil set for September. Team has done an amazing job. Seriously next level.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2017
Since we don’t have much to go on heading into the big reveal (which still doesn’t have an official date), Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas, a top Tesla analyst, shared some interesting predictions about the Tesla Semi in an investors note obtained by Electrek.
Jonas thinks Telsa’s entry into the industry could be “the biggest catalyst in trucking in decades,” leading to a separation between companies ready to embrace next-generation technology and those that will wind up stuck in the past.
Jonas laid out a set of predictions in the note, answering some of the most glaring questions about the Semi ahead of its unveiling.
He believes the truck will be an all-purpose Class 8 semi-truck, rather than a limited application vehicle. That means it’ll weigh more than 33,000 pounds, with the ability to take on all types of freight.
Jonas projects the Tesla semi will also go on sale in 2020 at a cost of around $100,000, if trucking operators lease out the batteries separately. It’ll also have a range between 200 to 300 miles per charge to support regional trucking routes, and perhaps most importantly, the autonomous-electric setup could be up to 70 percent less expensive to operate than a typical semi.
These are just one analyst’s predictions about the Semi, but they’re not hard to imagine. The top-level Model S P100D configuration offers an estimated 337 miles per charge. If the automaker can bring the same type of efficiency to a bigger battery, the 200 to 300 mile range could be within reach.
Now that September has started, the biggest question about the semi is when Tesla will actually roll it out. Jonas has a potential answer there, too: he thinks the news could come in conjunction with the North American Commercial Vehicle Show on Sept. 25. Keep an eye on Elon Musk’s Twitter feed — hopefully, we’ll have real answers to all of these questions soon.