Get ready to share the road with self-driving trucks powered entirely by batteries.
Elon Musk revealed on Twitter Wednesday night that Tesla will unveil its new Semi truck in California next month. “Tesla Semi truck unveil & test ride tentatively scheduled for Oct 26th in Hawthorne,” he wrote. “Worth seeing this beast in person. It’s unreal.”
Like Tesla’s other vehicles, the trucks will be battery-operated. They’ll reportedly be able to travel 200 to 300 miles on a single charge, though Tesla has not yet confirmed that detail. That would be impressive if true, considering that even most powerful electric sedans perform in the middle of that range.
It’s not yet clear what the price will be. Diesel cabs run about $120,000, and experts have predicted that a battery capable of sending a semi truck 200-plus miles alone could cost more than that. Experts also told Reuters last month that a battery that potent would likely be so large and heavy, it could leave little room for cargo in the truck’s bed.
How Tesla will work around these potential issues remains to be seen. The company hasn’t yet displayed prototypes of the trucks to the public, save for a shadowy teaser image shown off by Musk at a TED Conference in April. At that time, Musk said the Semi would be unveiled in September.
Tesla also hasn’t confirmed that the trucks will have autonomous capabilities, though the company does appear to be developing that technology for big rigs. According to a Reuters report in August, Tesla has been in communication with officials in California and Nevada about testing self-driving trucks. It’s still unclear what the timeline would be for those tests.
Self-driving rigs could save trucking companies save big on costs, though they could also displace the approximately 1 million truck drivers that work in the U.S.
Tesla’s cars are currently capable of operating autonomously during highway driving. All new Tesla vehicles are now equipped with the hardware required for self-driving, and the company is close to completing the software that is needed for autonomous driving to come to fruition.
Theoretically, autonomous vehicles should make the roads safer, especially if some of those vehicles are massive semi trucks. And switching from diesel to electric power could have a big positive environmental impact: More than 6 percent of carbon emissions in the U.S. come from trucks, according to statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Musk didn’t reveal where exactly the unveiling of Tesla’s new “beast” will take place. SpaceX’s headquarters and Tesla’s design studio are both located in Hawthorne.