A Tesla Semi was recently sighted in a transport carrier at Freeway 5 in CA. Interestingly, the all-electric long-hauler had its windows and lights completely wrapped with protective tape this time around. The vehicle also appears to be freshly detailed, from its wheels to its rear.
Tesla currently operates two known Semi prototypes, both of which were unveiled back in November 2017. Tesla's silver Semi prototype has been spotted road testing across the United States since it was revealed. A matte black version of the truck was eventually modified and rewrapped in a stunning matte red in December 2018, as per reports from Tesla owners who were fortunate enough to encounter the vehicle at the company's Superchargers.
This is really what makes this new sighting from Tesla enthusiast @anielbarreraa very interesting. Over the years, both Tesla's silver and matte black/matte red Semi have gathered what appears to be thousands of miles worth of data on the road, and both vehicles certainly look like they have experienced their own fair share of wear and tear. Both trucks, as far as previous sightings are concerned, are battle-worn from all the traveling they have done. The vehicle in the recent sighting, on the other hand, seems freshly detailed.
It remains to be seen why Tesla is transporting a freshly detailed matte red Semi on a transport truck. Perhaps the vehicle is on its way to an exhibit for a Semi reservation holder, though previous instances of this usually involved Tesla simply driving the all-electric truck to its clients and having the vehicle detailed on-site. Or perhaps Tesla has produced another Semi prototype that will eventually be used for crash tests. Either way, the recent sighting of the Semi suggests that Tesla's all-electric truck program is alive and well.
The Tesla Semi has mostly taken a step away from the limelight as the electric car maker focused on its Model 3 ramp and its preparations for the Model Y. Yet, among Tesla's vehicle lineup, the Semi has the potential to give the most significant contribution to the company's efforts to push sustainability, considering that long-haul trucks are responsible for a notable degree of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2017 alone, heavy-duty trucks accounted for 39 percent of vehicle CO2 emissions worldwide. That's a market that is ripe for disruption from the Semi.
A recent leak reportedly from a Semi reservation holder has suggested that Tesla will start producing the vehicle in the latter half of 2020. This is a year later than the initial date announced by Elon Musk during the vehicle's unveiling in 2017, but the wait may very well be worth it. Over the two years since the Semi and its specs were formally announced, Tesla has vastly improved its battery and powertrain tech, and these improvements will likely be adopted on the all-electric truck.
This means that the Semi, when it does enter production, will likely have better specs than expected. Elon Musk has suggested as much, stating that the long-range version of the truck will have a range that's closer to 600 miles per charge than the initially announced 500 miles per charge. Couple this with novel features such as Convoy Mode, which allow multiple trucks to operate semi-autonomously as a group, as well as an extremely affordable operating cost, and the Semi may very well become the Model 3 of the trucking segment.