Jay Leno has posted a special video on his Jay Leno's Garage channel in which he gets to drive the Tesla Semi Class 8 electric truck, something he had been wanting to do for a long time.
His wish came true thanks to Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen and Tesla's Senior Manager of Semi-Truck Engineering Dan Priestley, who both briefed Jay about the electric truck before letting him drive it.
As you can imagine, the 42-minute long video is a good watch and a great source to learn interesting stuff about the Tesla Semi. For example, von Holzhausen says the design team took inspiration from high-speed trains for the Semi, more specifically Japan's Shinkansen, or "bullet train."
This partly explains why the Semi achieved a very good drag coefficient for a Class 8 truck of around 0.4 – compared to roughly 0.8 for traditional diesel-powered trucks. Some of you probably know the Shinkansen part already, but that's the kind of stuff you can expect from the video.
Gallery: Tesla Semi new photos
With Jay being the genuine car guy everyone knows and loves, he quickly got down to the essential question of how much horsepower the Semi produces. Priestley says the system horsepower is around 1,500 but noted that the Semi never puts all that power down in order to save the tires and favor efficiency.
Driving off in the Semi with Dan Priestley in the seat behind him, Jay Leno was amazed by how similar the truck is like to drive to a regular Tesla car, even though the sheer size of the thing made him feel he was "driving the Empire State Building."
Jay was also surprised by the Semi's brisk acceleration, and Priestley says Tesla wanted to develop a truck that can keep up with pretty much any type of traffic, which is exactly what the Semi is capable of doing.
The video's climax comes when Priestley tells Leno that he can tow another Semi if he likes, a low-roof version of the truck that had been used in Nevada for hot weather testing and was now waiting on a trailer by the side of the road.
Using guidance from the cameras and following Priestley's instructions, Jay was able to hook up the trailer quite easily. After driving off, he was amazed by how easy it was to drive a 60,000-pound combination vehicle. Head over to the video to learn more about the Tesla Semi and what it is actually like to drive.