Tesla Semi launch delayed due to tight battery supply

Tesla has announced that the production for its Semi has been pushed back to 2020 citing strained battery supply for production of its range of EVs, Autocar reports. Speaking at the company’s annual shareholders meeting, Elon Musk said Tesla aims to speed up battery production rates, going as far as to suggest a venture into metal mining.

Despite the delay, customers are still able to reserve Semis. The full-electric lorry was first unveiled in November 2017, attracting huge fleet buyers such as Walmart, UPS, FedEx, and Budweiser. It’s unclear whether the bottleneck will hamper further investments in the lorry, though.

For a lorry, its technical specifications are quite astounding. The Semi is powered by four independent electric motors on the rear axles, and will sprint from zero to 97 km/h (0-60 mph) in just five seconds. Of course, this is without a trailer hitched to it, but Tesla says with a full 36,287 kg (or 80,000-pound) load, its truck will complete the sprint in 20 seconds. Regular diesel trucks require at least 40 seconds more to get there.

The Semi’s battery pack is similar in composition as its other products, and is designed for repeated charging cycles for over a million miles. On a full charge, the lorry is capable of delivering a driving range of over 500 miles (800 km), which some experts claim as “physics defying.”

For support, Tesla will deploy its new high-speed DC chargers – dubbed Megachargers – that is said to provide 644 km (400 miles) of range in just 30 minutes. These will be installed at strategic points and along heavily trafficked routes, enabling recharging during loading, unloading, and driver breaks.

In terms of features, the Semi’s cabin is designed to be driver-centric, complete with two touchscreen displays that provide easy access to information. The truck’s systems also sync with a fleet’s management system to support routing and scheduling, as well as remote monitoring.

Safety-wise, the Semi has reinforced battery, surround cameras, impact-resistant glass, and on-board sensors that detect instability and adjusts torque to each wheel and brake actuation to prevent jackknifing.

There’s also Enhanced Autopilot, with systems such as Automatic Emergency Braking, Automatic Lane Keeping, Lane Departure Warning and event recording. Several Semi trucks can also form a conga line where all of them autonomously follow a lead Semi. Reservations for the Tesla Semi can be made for US$5,000 (RM21k) per truck.

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