In an interview released this morning Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed new details about the upcoming Semi truck, including a new design feature will increase its potential range.
When the Semi was first announced in 2017, Musk said the automaker would produce two versions of the electric work truck. The two variants would have a range of 300 miles (482km) and 500 miles (804km), each with a towing capacity of 80,000lbs.
Since the unveiling, Tesla has obviously made some advancements in battery technology, most recently with the announcement of their new 4680 tabless battery cells.
Thanks to those advancements in battery technology, and more yet to come, Musk believes they will be able to get as much as 1,000km of range for the Semi.
“Getting a range of let’s say, 500km is I think quite easy, like trivial to be frank for a semi truck. And this is assuming a truck that is pulling a load of something in the order of 40 metric tons. That’s a heavy truck. If you want, for long-range trucking, you up to, we think, easily 800 km, and we see a path over time to 1,000 km range with a heavy duty truck.”
According to Musk, the key to achieving these kinds of numbers is having a low-weight, high energy density cell that is integrated into a structural battery pack, something else the company unveiled during Battery Day in September.
Musk confirmed both of these features will be implemented into the Semi truck.
With driving ranges nearing 1,000km, Musk said there will be a minimal payload reduction when compared to conventional diesel semi trucks, as low as 1-ton. In the long term, he thinks there would be payload reduction at all.
Tesla is already testing the Semi truck, and has been for over a year. A silver prototype was recently spotted on the highway near San Jose pulling a trailer with unique fins, presumably to increase aerodynamic efficiency.
You can see the full interview in the video below, which starts at the point where Musk discusses the Tesla Semi and its range.