The vehicle starts at $35,000 before options or incentives and is pivotal to CEO Elon Musk's attempt to transition Tesla from a niche player to high-volume automaker. His last run at this method was for the forlorn Model 3, where about 400,000 fans gave him $1,000.00 deposits on the non-luxury version of his EV Model S.
While the pre-orders denote a definite interest in the electric truck, the low numbers seem to indicate that many companies want to experiment with the technology before fully committing to it.
Megachargers, a new high-speed DC charging solution, will add about 640 kilometres in 30 minutes and can be installed at origin or destination points and along heavily trafficked routes, enabling recharging during loading, unloading, and driver breaks.
The heavy-duty truck will be able to go zero to 60 in five seconds, and can hit 60 miles per hour in 20 seconds with an 80,000 pound payload. And then came the all-new Tesla Roadster that can can reach 60mph (96.56kmph) in 1.9 seconds.
The new electric truck will be equipped with the driver-assist system built similar to Tesla's other vehicles.
Diesel trucks today now require several third-party devices for similar functionality. Even though the Tesla pick-up will be based on the Semi, it will not be classified as a heavy vehicle which means that one does not need to have a commercial licence to drive one of these. "At least today, the truck would have to operate in a much more confined network today than any diesel equipment".
But all this is a pittance compared with Tesla's financial needs.
It does 0-100km h in 1.9 seconds
Bloomberg said that an operator could be saving about $4,000 per year in maintenance and $14,000 in fuel when switching over from diesel to electric. Others have questioned why Tesla is even venturing in long-haul transport, since there is little room for improving endless cross-country journeys.
The average length-of-haul for truckers has dropped from about 800 miles 15 years ago to about 500 miles last year, according to the American Trucking Associations. Walmart operates almost 6,000 semis in the U.S.
The biggest order with a definite number attached belongs to leading Canadian supermarket chain Loblaw Companies with 25. The company's goal is to switch over its entire corporate fleet to EVs by 2030.
To top it all off the Tesla Semi can also travel in a convoy, where one or several Semi trucks will be able to autonomously follow a lead Semi.
After that date, the company expects to "generate significant cash flows from operating activities", Tesla said in its 1 November letter to shareholders.
First deliveries of the Tesla trucks are expected in 2019. Daimler, Cummins, and Bosch are taking electric commercial trucks very seriously in their product planning and development.
Medium-duty trucks and delivery vans are also seeing inroads from manufacturers responding to growing market demand.