The all-electric automaker has made a few updates to its first-ever semi-truck.
Very soon, the Model X will no longer be Tesla's largest offering. Yes, after copious delays and many promises, it seems the long-awaited Tesla Semi will finally reach customers before the end of the year. While some of the technical details have since changed, there's no denying it's a very impressive prospect for fleet managers and trucking companies.
We've already previewed the revised interior with its new controls and redesigned instrument panel, but it seems the production-ready Semi will also arrive with several exterior changes. The all-electric long hauler still retains the distinctive, aerodynamic shape first seen in 2017 but there are subtle differences to examine.
Perhaps the biggest change comes in the form of exposed rear wheels. The original concept (compared below) concealed its rear wheels, presumably to reduce drag and increase driving range. The latest batch of official images shows more traditional, uncovered wheels. No reason has been given for the subtle change, but we're guessing it's more cost-effective and practical, particularly when hitching a trailer at an angle.
While we're on the wheels, it seems Tesla has gone for a more traditional chrome finish. Early designs previewed black-painted items, as well as wheel covers. Presumably, these would not be durable, or they would cost too much. Again, it's impossible to say with no official communique from the automaker. Elsewhere, the front fascia and the area under the side steps have been lightly redesigned.
The greenhouse has also been redesigned with a bigger glass area that now stretches further past the cabin, improving blind-spot visibility. Below this, it looks like the cab may have a space for additional storage, but we don't see any buttons or handles on the new panel behind the door. Elsewhere, the headlights appear to have a simpler, blacked-out design. Also present on the production-ready model are prominent side mirrors that replace the rearview cameras originally portrayed.
Company CEO Elon Musk seems determined to bring the tech to the American market, but the technology is still frowned upon by the feds. There's a good chance, however, that the feature will make its way onto Semis sold in other markets. After all, it can only improve battery range. The Semi also trades minimalist door handles for more practical items with recessed grab slots.
Lastly, the cab design has been changed slightly. Look closely at the new images and you'll notice a black strip at the rear of the cab that wasn't present on earlier examples. This appears to be a new aerodynamic aid designed to further bolster driving range. Hopefully, Musk can deliver on his claims as the Semi looks very promising.
Not only will it rewrite the semi-truck rulebook, but Tesla says it will massively reduce overhead costs. The company says the biggest Tesla yet can cover up to 500 miles on a single charge and, when plugged into a Semi Charger, glean 70% of its range back in just 30 minutes. That may not be as quick as refueling with diesel, but cost-cutting fleet managers won't care too much when they see the reduced expenses. Tesla promises fuel savings of up to $200,000 in the first three years of operation.
All that remains is for the Tesla Semi to be launched, produced, and delivered. The Semi was first announced in 2017 and is yet to turn a wheel in the hands of the public.