Tesla Unveils Two New Vehicles

Photo Courtesy: Alexis Georgeson/ Tesla Motors

Vipul Telang/Photo Editor

Tesla unveiled its highly-touted Semi as well as its updated Roadster on Nov. 16 in Hawthorne, California.

CEO and founder Elon Musk introduced the Tesla Semi at a private event in a hangar at Hawthorne Municipal Airport. The Semi introduces many of the features and amenities that have been seen on the Model S, X, and 3, along with performance that is normally seen in high-end sports cars. Without a trailer, the Semi can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in five seconds, which is ten seconds faster than a regular diesel truck.

Part of the reason for the impressive acceleration is the drag coefficient. The Tesla Semi has a drag coefficient of just 0.36, which is less than the Bugatti Chiron, which has a drag coefficient of 0.38. This is helped by the windshield that gives the driver a larger range of sight compared to a diesel truck. The driver also sits in the middle of the truck, with two information screens on either side of the steering wheel.

Musk also highlighted the range of the Semi. Fully loaded at highway speeds, it can travel 500 miles on a single charge. Musk glossed over this point, as a lot of trucking routes are longer than 500 miles. However, he emphasized that over eighty percent of trucking routes are 200 miles or fewer, allowing drivers to make the round trip on just one charge.

Photo Courtesy: Alexis Georgeson/ Tesla Motors

At the conclusion of the Tesla Semi presentation, Musk brought out the revamped Roadster, which had been inside one of the trailers. The Roadster accelerates from zero to 60 mph in a heart-stopping 1.9 seconds, which makes it the quickest production car ever. The top speed is at least 250 mph, but Musk did not give an exact number, presumably until the production model is revealed. This is assisted by Tesla’s new “plaid” mode, which is much more powerful than both “insane” and “ludicrous” modes found on previous models. “Plaid” mode is a reference to Spaceballs and the warp-like acceleration and speeds that the Roadster can achieve. This is incredible for a car that seats four people in a 2+2 configuration. Drivers will also have a range of 620 miles, which is currently the largest range of any of Tesla’s models.

The Roadster will be sold for $200,000, while a limited-edition Founder’s series, limited to 1,000 cars, will sell for $250,000. Musk stated the reason for building the Roadster was that “[it] should be a hardcore smack-down to gas-powered cars” and that petrol cars would look like “steam engines with a side of quiche.”

With the Semi entering full-time production in 2019 and the Roadster slated to enter production in 2020, Tesla is set to shake up the automotive world. Only time will tell if Tesla’s usually optimistic production deadline will stand strong against the predicted high demand for both vehicles.