Elon Musk presented Tesla’s first-ever electric semi-truck Thursday at a Los Angeles event in which he also showcased a new Tesla sports car. Musk described the new truck as a cheap alternative to diesel trucks, which he said are “economic suicide.”
Musk told his audience that it will cost less to ship freight on a convoy of these trucks than to ship them by train and that they will cost 20% less per mile than diesel trucks. He said that the trucks will also have “thermonuclear explosion-proof” windshields, lane-keeping technology, enhanced autopilot, and battery life that can keep the truck going for up to 500 miles when the truck is traveling at maximum weight and highway speed.
Several trucks appeared before the audience during Musk’s presentation. One truck’s back door opened to let a new Tesla Roadster, Musk’s newest electric car model, drive out of it. While Musk focused on the electric truck for most of his presentation, he also touted the new Roadster’s speed and acceleration, which he said had broken “world records” for production cars.
“The point of doing this is just to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” Musk said. “Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.”
Musk added that Tesla expects to start producing the truck by 2019 and the car by 2020. Tesla will additionally build a nationwide network of “supercharger” charging stations.
Tesla is struggling to meet production demands on its existing cars, however. Stock in the company’s Model 3 car fell in October after the company announced that it was able to produce only 220 models in September despite promising to produce 1,500 that month and 2,000 or more a month by December.