Production Tesla Semi Previewed With Model S Controls

Electric Vehicles / Comments

The cabin of the electric hauler sports a few differences when compared to the original design.

It's been nearly five years since the Tesla Semi was revealed, and, despite countless promises on the company's part, the electric semi-truck is nowhere to be seen. However, it seems the automaker has finally set the ball rolling. Order books for the long-awaited Semi finally opened in May this year, and just two weeks ago, Elon Musk confirmed deliveries would commence this year.

Ahead of the first customer deliveries taking place, Tesla has quietly updated the Semi's page on its website with a new video previewing the production-ready interior. The overall architecture of the cabin doesn't appear to have changed much. But if you look closely, you'll spot a few minor differences.


Let's start with the steering wheel. The three-spoke tiller appears to have been lifted straight out of road cars such as the Model S and seems to be lacking the column stalks used to control the turn signals. The Semi will likely go down the same route as the company's cars, and make use of buttons for these and other functions, such as the horn.

The central driving position remains. Not only will this make it easier for Tesla to sell in countries that drive on the right, but the company has said the McLaren F1-style seating position gives the driver a better view of what's ahead. A pair of touchscreens dominate the interior, with one positioned on either side of the driver. Both appear to have side view cameras.


Compared to the earlier cabin (seen below), the biggest change seems to be the revised driver console. The earlier model features a glossy, flat surface with dual cupholders and several storage binnacles. As we can see from the new images above, it's been redesigned to offer more practicality.

There seem to be two wireless smartphone chargers, which should come in handy for the biggest Tesla's target market. Semi drivers often carry two phones; a personal and a work device. Whether this is the final interior remains to be seen, as the company may announce several changes before the official launch.

There are all sorts of clever engineering and design touches to be found on the Semi. It should prove rather safe, with standard active safety systems and advanced motor controls, for optimum stability. Should this technology fail to keep you out of the ditch, Tesla notes the all-electric architecture reduces the risk of a rollover.


Initially, the Semi was expected to hit the long road with four independent motors. Updates to the website now say the all-electric hauler will be powered by a trio of electric motors. Elsewhere, claims surrounding charging and driving range have also been revised. Previously, the company said drivers could expect to glean 400 miles of range in 30 minutes.

Now, the website simply states, "Recover up to 70 percent of range in 30 minutes using Tesla's Semi Chargers. Still, a range of 500 miles is nothing to scoff at - and neither are the proposed benefits. Over three years, the company notes that semi-truck operators can expect up to $200,000 in fuel savings. That doesn't include maintenance, which is likely to be more cost-effective than a regular diesel-powered semi.


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