Look away if you're a Tesla fanboy.
The Tesla Semi has finally entered production, and already the revolutionary truck is receiving negative feedback from actual truckers. We've been keeping quiet on the Semi's abilities because we don't have the required truck driving experience to provide a sensible opinion, so the emerging comments from truckers are more than welcome.
Tomasz Orynski, a Polish freelance journalist, blogger, podcaster, and trucker, unleashed his scathing opinion on the Semi recently. In a series of Tweets, Orynski gave his thoughts on the cab design. Without even going into the carrying capacity or anything mechanical, Orynski set out to prove why it is a "completely stupid vehicle."
As mentioned, we have no trucking experience, but it's hard to argue with the many flaws Orynski pointed out.
Orynski starts by talking about wasted space. The Semi has a narrow cabin with a center seating position. It looks fabulous in images, and it gets fanboys all worked up, but as it turns out, there's a good chance truckers will only get annoyed with it. Firstly, it makes seeing ahead and planning overtaking maneuvers difficult. He also touches on something else we'd never have thought of.
Truck drivers spend a lot of time handling things or signing paperwork at gatehouses, ports, factories, or toll booths. In addition to the center seat layout, the Semi's doors are also located behind the driver, where you'd typically find the sleeper section. Tesla doesn't offer a sleeper option for the Semi, which seems like a massive oversight.
Orynski mentions that truckers often take a 20-minute power nap, which seems like the perfect way to pass the time required to charge a Semi.
Orynski also has a massive issue with the Semi's many tablets. He currently drives a Mercedes-Benz with tablets, which he calls a "pain in the arse." We share Orynski's view on this, even in regular cars like the Tesla Model 3, and there's a study that proves touchscreens are distracting. A physical button is much better because you can reach down without taking your eyes off the road. According to Orynski, tablets are also dazzling at night.
The angled windscreen makes cleaning snow off the windshield tricky, especially on a vehicle so high off the road. There's also the potential of the cab overheating on a sunny day, thanks to the angled windscreen. You can use the air-conditioning, which is perfectly fine in an old-school ICE truck. In the Semi, this will likely chow the battery and limit your range.
The location of the side mirrors is also a problem. You can reach the side mirrors from the door in a typical truck and give them a quick wipe. Since the doors are located at the rear of the cabin, there's no way of getting to them.
"I can go on. [The] bottom line is that this vehicle is a rich boy's toy, not a practical, working vehicle because its designers have no clue about the realities of transport," wrote Orynski.
Locally, the Cowboy State Daily asked a few truckers what they thought of the Semi, and the responses were mostly negative. The drivers that cover more than the Semi's 500-mile range were not impressed with the idea of stopping to add range. Using a Megacharger, truck drivers are looking at adding at least 40 to 50 minutes to their day, which is understandable compared to the current seven-minute refueling time.
If any truckers are reading this, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.