Tesla VP Of Trucks Provides New Details On Tesla Semi – Video

Tesla Semi

NOV 28 2017 BY MARK KANE 52

Now we have a whole lot more official information about the Tesla Semi from the main person behind the new venture.

As we recently reported, Tesla’s Vice President of Trucks, Jerome Guillen, spoke at a recent conference in the Netherlands. We now have a video with some of his key comments. Unfortunately, the above video is only a small snippet of the entire presentation, however, you can follow the source link at the bottom of the page to listen to Guillen’s entire speech.

Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi

In the U.S., the new Semi is scheduled for late 2019. However, Tesla is already its own first customer. The automaker intends to use its own Semi-trucks to move cargo between the Gigafactory in Nevada and its automotive assembly factory in Fremont, California.

Like the Model 3, this will allow the company to address early problems ahead of customer deliveries.

Guillen also noted that there were many questions about the cargo capacity of the Semi. Tesla intends to achieve a capacity that parallels or exceeds today’s diesel trucks.

The full speech from the presentation is available via Electrek (audio only with images):

Source: Electrek

Categories: Tesla, Trucks

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52 Comments on "Tesla VP Of Trucks Provides New Details On Tesla Semi – Video"

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Yeah it’s aerodynamically shaped like a high speed train but as a result the drivers sits in the center which doesn’t seem ideal because unlike these high speed trains trucks have of over take once and a while which as far as I can tell cannot be done safely when it’s a tall vehicle that obstructs the view that needs to be overtaken.

It will have 360 degree camera’s and big screens on the left and right side instead of mirrors.
Only thing is to keep the camera’s clean.

This is not a legal option. Must have real mirrors.

Yup. Tesla keeps lobbying to allow cameras to replace side mirrors, but no success yet.

My guess is that Tesla will install the smallest legally allowed side mirrors, supplemented by video cameras and viewscreens in the cab. I presume the 2nd screen shown on the prototype is for that purpose, altho Tesla may need to add another screen or two for full coverage.

As Tesla advances toward full driving autonomy, the job of truck driver will transition to more of a human monitor. Eventually that might be done remotely, with one human monitor handling several trucks at once.

Unless they get a waiver from FMVSS.

It is in Europe, Volkswagen had one production car without mirrors

Does the law mandate how large those mirrors are?

Yes, the centrally located driver’s seat demands several blind-spot cameras facing in various directions, including forward and back. It may also need more than just the two view screens, to display all those blind-spot video images. Tesla may need to mount one or two more monitors above the driver’s eyeline.

On the InsideEVs forum, we discussed the need to keep forward-facing camera lenses clean. I suggested a miniature version of a ship’s clear view screen plus, if necessary, a windshield washer nozzle.

At any rate, I think this is a problem capable of being solved, and in fact I think Tesla can improve on the current situation where a trucker sometimes has to veer to the left when driving to get a view ahead or behind.


Mirrors are not only problem in Europe.

Tesla tractor is to big, in Europe we have limit on overall length of tractor-tralier combination, while in USA you have no limit on tractor length and 53 ft limit on trailer.

Also almost all tractors in Europe are 4×2 (they are cheaper to maintain, use less tires, shorter, more maneuverable … ) while Tesla is 6×4 with an engine for every wheel in tandem axle so it is not simple to just remove one axle.

In The Netherlands there is a special category that allows a 25.25 m total length and 60 t maximum weight.

There are some special rules though, like limiting the roads allowed to use, weather, overtaking, etc

Something that could be done, is to have a camera(s) on the lead truck, that is viewable in the following truck(s) so they can “see around” when they want to pass.

Are these supporting tandem trailers? Tesla mentioned convoys of 3 trucks but many highways let a semi pull 2 trailers. That seems a lot more economical than a 3 truck convoy.

“Are these supporting tandem trailers?”

Believe it or not Tesla’s current AP software doesn’t even support pulling a single trailer behind the Model X according to Bjorn.

So how is he able to pull one, if it’s not supported? In fact many videos of him pulling trailers. Here is the biggest one 3.5k lbs.

Tesla has not mentioned the possibility of tandem (or triple) trailers, so I guess that’s not an option.

First major market is California. California allows two small trailers or one large trailer. Total vehicle weight including tractor and trailer is 80,000 lb. The triple small trailers as seen in some states are not allowed.

Continuous duty power output is something that has not been mentioned, but it would not surprise me if this is the reason that if you have 2 or 3 trailers you need 2 or 3 completely different trucks. Not to mention battery loading.

You have to walk before you can run.

Agree with the overtaking. My experience driving truck summarized as follows on this piece. 1. Although rather obvious, many people fail to realize there is no rear view mirror. The straight back view is completely obstructed by the trailer. So there’s no possible way to get worse than ‘not at all’ with view in this direction. 2. Side mirrors are just that and point backward (obvious). Positioning the driver in the middle won’t be detrimental because think about the left hand drive, you still need to see out the passenger mirror. So re-positioning the driver won’t change this much. However narrowing the front of the truck would move the mirrors in thus obstructing the view. From an orientation perspective I could even see displays put external to the cab to mimic mirrors but the image is a camera from the side of the truck. Hard to explain in text. Anyway this isn’t too disorienting. 3. Forward. This is probably the hard one. You won’t be able to see past tall trucks. The left hand position of driving allows you to sneak out a bit and look past down the side of the vehicle in front of you. Sure for cars,… Read more »
Tom said: “Forward. This is probably the hard one. You won’t be able to see past tall trucks. The left hand position of driving allows you to sneak out a bit and look past down the side of the vehicle in front of you. Sure for cars, you can just see over them. Trying to use a camera to replace this line of sight might be hard/disorienting. Might be hard for your brain to process. Perhaps not.” Think about the advantage of having an eye at the end of an eye stalk, like some snails have. Now think about a similar arrangement with a forward-facing camera sticking out on a “stalk” from the Tesla Semi Truck’s cab. Would that take some getting used to? Maybe, but people certainly have taken to the rear camera view in passenger cars pretty quickly! The problem as I see it would be with those cameras stuck out on the end of relatively long stalks. That increases the risk of smashing into something. Smashing a side mirror into something is already a fairly common occurrence big rig truckers. Ideally, the “stalks” should be capable of being swiveled inboard, and the truck’s Autopilot self-driving system should… Read more »

Chris, being able to see around to overtake another truck is a problem exclusively for 2-lane rural roads. Not a problem on interstates, divided highways, or multi-lane highways.

But the solution is to use the CB radio and have the truck ahead spot traffic for you. That’s generally the tradition in rural two lane highways in the US.

Trying to pull over far enough to see ahead certainly is an issue in heavy traffic, even on a multi-lane superhighway, if there is another large truck ahead blocking the view.

Specifically referring to the problem of the Tesla Semi Truck’s centrally located seating position, ex-trucker Jonathon Ramsey said:

“Furthermore, I can’t see around trucks in front of me without pulling halfway into another lane.”

Full article: “This ex-trucker has some questions about the Tesla Semi”


Not that I agree with everything he says, but he makes some valid points. On the other hand, some of his complaints appear to be whining over trivialities. The Tesla Semi Truck cab is designed for standing room; is it really a big deal to stand up and take a step or two to the window before rolling it down?

Camera and mirrors are not mutually exclusive. Just like cars have back-up cameras in addition to rear view mirrors, Tesla semi can have multiple view cameras in addition to mirrors to keep the bureaucrats happy.

With additional cameras, they can provide 360 degree view while the mirrors are there just to keep the gov’t naggers at bay.

Tesla will be the change agent that provokes the commercial truck makers to go EV… same as Tesla is doing for consumer cars.

Commercial trucking industry is now officially entering the EV revolution although same as consumer car makers there will be those laggards that will lose market share to the early entrants.

They have already done that. Daimler has been testing electric trucks for years.

Unfortunately for everyone, Diamler was only “testing” electric trucks and cars for years and didn’t get serious until Tesla showed them how it was done.

Remember the DHL story where they went to the laggard German OEMs to build EV delivery vehicles and they all tried to sell them diesels instead so they went on their own and built it themselves!

So while you extoll your love of the laggard German OEMs you show your serial anti-Tesla bias and ignore the fact that your beloved Germans would have never made the move if it wasn’t for the pressure that Tesla has brought on them.

Tesla hasn’t shown anything yet, some scriblings and a mockup based on – interestingly enough – a Daimler Freightliner truck. You write as if the Tesla Semi is already on the road. It’s not, it’s nowhere close yet. In fact it’s very dubious if Tesla will be able to make it in 2 years at all, never mind at the price they “expected” it to be.

What you are doing is showing your Tesla fanboyism where fantasy is established truth if it comes from Tesla and facts are lies when they speak against Tesla.

Daimler has in fact actual trucks on the road already and has had for quite some time. Tesla is nowhere near that and won’t be for several years. That’s reality.

Here is the concept they unveiled:
220 on a charge. 26 tons load out.
It’s a concept.

Now which electric trucks have they that have had on the road for quite some time? Maybe their straight trucks, which really don’t compare to a semi.


“Remember the DHL story where they went to the laggard German OEMs to build EV delivery vehicles and they all tried to sell them diesels instead so they went on their own and built it themselves!”

I think that is more than a bit unfair. Smith Electric Trucks tried for several years, first in the UK and then in Kansas City, to sell heavy EV freight trucks. Not Class 8 semi trucks, but smaller heavy trucks.

They didn’t get enough orders to keep them in production, and it certainly was not because they didn’t want to make EV trucks!

To date, the higher cost of making EV heavy trucks — especially in small numbers — has not justified the expense of buying them, except perhaps in small niche applications. That’s why no large trucking fleets have yet switched to BEV trucks; all we see is a relatively few BEV trucks being used here and there on a test basis.

If Tesla can make a go of this, then That will be absolutely fantastic! A real game changer! But for the present, that’s only an “If”. We’ll have to wait 3-4 years to see how this turns out.

DHL placed orders for Smith electric vehicles and Tesla Simis.

DHL has placed an order for 10 Tesla Semi’s

“Guillen also noted that there were many questions about the cargo capacity of the Semi. Tesla intends to achieve a capacity that parallels or exceeds today’s diesel trucks.”

This even more confirms my suspicion that Tesla is planning to use a next gen battery in the Semi that is not in the current 2170 Cells.

Another interesting note is that, even though Gullian says it will be the same AP hardware as M3, there is evidence from photos taken by Kmann over at Teslarati that Tesla semi has made room for Lidar in the little wings that stick out from the top of the truck with camera’s in them.

Therefore, if you want to be guaranteed that your model 3 AP hardware is kept current you should probably pay for FSD in addition to EAP when you order.

I completely disagree. A “beyond lithium” battery can match payload easily. No need for an expensive carbon-fiber body. No need to quote data at 60 mph vs. the industry standard 65. No need to talk vaguely about a “target” to match diesel payload in a few years, just give your weight spec.

Next-gen cells will also be waaaay too expensive for the pricing they’ve announced.

Normal 2020-era NMC cells can get pretty close to diesel payloads for the 300 mile version. That’s the one these fleet operators want. The global Megacharger network is mostly for PR purposes, no one will use these for long haul in the early 2020s.

Doggy said:
“I completely disagree”

Let’s see the math. How much does a 1 Mwh battery weigh???

How are you going to offset that additional weight.

Also please explain how Tesla is going to add the weight of 2 P100D packs to the Roadster??

You didn’t read his post carefully enough. The 300 mile version of the truck doesn’t need a 1 MWh battery pack; it can use a smaller and lighter one.

I think he’s right. If Tesla had some radical new battery tech that it was planning to put into a production Tesla Semi Truck in only two years, a quantum jump in battery tech like solid state batteries, then we would already be hearing rumors about reconfiguring Gigafactory One to manufacture the new type of battery cells.

” If Tesla had some radical new battery tech that it was planning to put into a production ”

Why does it have to be radical?

“…how Tesla is going to add the weight of 2 P100D packs to the Roadster??”

Weight isn’t a big deal, since the battery pack is down so low. That actually helps make the car handle better, with the center of gravity lowered.

I question that the Roadster Mark II is going to be configured with two standard 100 kWh packs. That would require one stacked on top of another, which would raise the floor quite a bit… the last thing you’d want for a Roadster! I think it will be just one pack under the floor, supplemented by several battery modules stuffed wherever they will fit, behind the back seats and under the hood.

FYI, in California and Oregon – the first major markets – max legal truck speed is 55 mph. I’m thinking that the 500 miles range is based on that speed. Elon did not say 500 miles at 65 mph. He said 500 miles at “highway speed”. He only said 65 when talking about much power it had and how fast it could climb –

Details…we need to see the effect of increased loads and lots of supercharging on battery capacity.

I’m a bit on the fence, maybe they think they can get more out of the current cell, on the other hand, watching the presentation, I had a flash that said new battery.
So I am leaning towards georgeS, but only slightly.

In regard to the a new cell and how they would ballyhoo it, they don’t really do that with coming batteries, like others do, all the solid state announcements of late.
Though logic does raise some nagging questions as to whether there is such a secret project.

The center driver position means that, all else being equal, the Tesla Semi will be safer in crashes.

All else is seldom equal.

Else, all, is equal seldom?

Is all else seldom equal?

That is another way of saying all other factors and variables remain fixed and constant, which they don’t.

GeorgeS, I think I’ll pay for the FSD and the AEP, but I think I’ll pass on the RPD and FAS, not sure about the TPW, maybe it’s redundant with the WPI.

Is that a joke?


I’m wondering about the clearance between cab and trailer, in terms of refrigeration apparatus, sharp turns etc.

Is it contemplated that this tractor will be compatible with standard trailers?

I think it’s pretty clear that Tesla intends its Semi Tractor to be used with standard trailers. Realistically, they have to; requiring special trailers would relegate the truck to a tiny niche market. You raise legitimate questions about reefer trailers and turns in tight corners. Hopefully the reefer unit sticking out at the front of a trailer won’t be a problem, but if it is then Tesla needs to have a solution for that. The problem with trying to make a sharp turn in limited space, and the need for that panel on the side of the Tesla Semi Truck’s cab to swing out… I don’t see any easy solution for that. I’ve seen enough tractor-trailer rigs backing up to loading docks to know that some of them are not going to have enough room for that. Not, generally speaking, the loading docks which are set up to regularly receive deliveries via tractor-trailer rig, but some smaller companies that rarely get shipments via tractor-trailer. But remember, Tesla doesn’t have to sell to 100% of the market in order to make a profit, nor to transform the industry. It only has to get a firm toe in the door, and the… Read more »

Good point on getting a toehold and if anybody can make a go of this it’s Tesla, given the combination of fundraising ability and chutzpah to use funds at the bleeding edge.

A generalized gap-filler solution between cab and trailer would be a huge win for the entire industry, diesel or electric. There are some nice automatically-deployed/stowed aero fixes for the rear of trailers– now it would be good to take care of the other end with its huge disrupting hole.

Between Nevada and Fremont, those snow/ice covered I-80 will be fun to test on for sure.

I wonder if they can put on chains easily in those wheel wells that are covered.

Add a Capstone Turbine Microturbine as a range extender and the exhaust heat can be directed down at the road in front of the drive wheels to melt the snow and ice.