Tesla's New Semitruck Might Be Playing Catch-Up

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Now, a little over two years after Musk's post, we get a first-person look on what it's like to experience dizzying acceleration in the planet's quickest production auto.

That was after Tesla unveiled its new semi-truck, which CEO Elon Musk said can go zero-to-60 in five seconds with an empty trailer. The new Roadster - a revamp of the original Tesla roadster launched in 2008 - can travel 620 miles on a single charge and has a top speed of 250 miles an hour. The new model is set to begin production in 2020 and will cost $200,000.

Without a large diesel engine, the driver will have a roomier cab than in other trucks, Tesla said. The company is guaranteeing the Semi drivetrain will last to 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometres), equivalent to 40 trips around the globe. There's also a version with a 300-mile range.

At the Thursday event at Tesla's facility in Hawthorne, Calif., Musk showed off a futuristic, battery-powered big rig with a surprising 500-mile range.

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Just like it has built a global network of "superchargers" for its passenger EVs, Tesla plans to build a network of "megachargers" around the world for trucks refuelling on the go, with the powerful plugs able to deliver 400 miles of charge in less than 30 minutes. Musk said it will be able to maintain a speed of 65 miles per hour while going up a 5 percent grade.

Tesla says production for the new Semi should commence by 2019 in the US. Reservations for both vehicles can be made with an initial deposit of $5,000 - but in the case of the Roadster, a total of at least $50,000 is due within 10 days. On the one hand, the Tesla Semi is shaping up to be the hot-rod of trucks, with a 0-60 miles per hour time of 20 seconds even when at maximum 80,000 pound load. The company says that will translate into thousands of dollars in savings. Thanks to the low cost of running it, buyers should make back the additional cost in just two years, Tesla claimed. Stepping into the delivery ring is Tesla Founder and CEO Elon Musk, whose previous vehicle and SUV models have been a continued success. Musk has said it should take about two years for the semi to go on sale. Regulations require commercial trucks to be sidelined if their windshields are cracked in a way that could affect the driver's view.

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