Tesla CEO Elon Musk is pushing back against critics who contend that his goal of producing an electric tractor-trailer is more pie-in-the-sky than practical.
Critics, including panelists at last month’s ACT Expo in Long Beach, California, have said that the cost and the weight of batteries needed for electric long-haul transport make it less-than-ready for primetime.
“A lot of people don’t think you can do a heavy duty long-range truck that is electric. But, we are confident that this can be done,” Musk said at Tuesday’s shareholder meeting in Mountain View, California. (The entire meeting is available for viewing at Tesla’s website. In the video below, you can listen to Musk talk about semi-truck development beginning at 4:42).
Tesla said that trucking companies, some of which were consulted during R&D for his company’s electric semi, continue to express an interest in buying the truck.
“We have shown it to a number of heavy-duty trucking companies, and they just want to know how many can they buy, and how soon,” Musk told shareholders. “We are getting them closely involved in the design process. The biggest customers of the heavy-duty Tesla semi are helping to ensure that it is specified to their needs. It’s not a mystery. They already know that it is going to meet their needs, because they told us what those needs are.”
Jerome Guillien, former general manager of Freightliner Trucks new product development, serves as Tesla’s vice-president of trucks and programs, according to teslarati.com. Guillien has been working on Tesla’s electric tractor-trailer for the last 18 months. The truck is scheduled to be revealed in September.
“I just really recommend showing up for the semi truck’s unveiling,” Musk told shareholders. “Maybe there’s a little more than what we’re saying here.”