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Central Piece of Tesla Semi's Design Is Wrong Says Former Truck Driver

For a non-trucker, the Tesla Semi seems like every trucker's dream come true. It's like they get to complete the shipment they get paid for and drive a sports car at the same time, albeit one with a very high seating position and weighing tens of thousands of pounds.
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In true Tesla fashion, the Semi event focused on the vehicle's dynamic performances and only touched on the things that make it useful for a trucking company. Things like pulling power, a very resistant glass, and low operating costs are only part of the equation, so a former truck driver decided to enlighten us about the rest.

Before we go into what he had to say, it's worth pointing out that the Tesla Semi, which is supposed to come to the market two years from now, has been designed with a semi-autonomous future in mind. Think about that when you read some of the objections raised in the following paragraphs.

The man in question is Jonathon Ramsey and he writes for Autoblog. This year, he took a break from being a journalist to fulfill his childhood dream of being an over-the-road truck driver. He covered 90,000 miles over nine months and eventually gave up when realizing that this life is not as poetic as his child-self thought.

But what that means is that he has very fresh memories of what driving a truck across America feels like, which makes him the right person to dissect the new Tesla Semi. The first point he makes is that the truck's specs make it suitable for line-hauling and other situations where the distances aren't that great and there's plenty of stop-and-go traffic.

He then goes on to criticise something we, as non-truck drivers, love: the central driving position. Jonathon claims it compromises the driver's ability to see their truck properly, enhancing blind spots and preventing drivers from leaning out the window. He also decries the absence of several mirrors, like the ones mounted on the nose of the truck, saying most rigs have a very large number of them scattered allover.

Well, the Tesla Semi is going to be fitted with sensors, just like any other Tesla, so blind spots won't be an issue. Those two screens will also be able to display the feed from any of the vehicle's cameras, and we know Tesla uses a lot of them for the Autopilot suite. It's not the same thing as physically seeing the truck as you poke your head out the window, but it's something truck drivers will get used to. Besides, who's to say the Semi won't be able to Autopark anyway?

There are a few other things that irk Jonathon about the Tesla Semi, but it feels like this one was his biggest issue. He goes on to acknowledge that electric trucks are happening, but he just questions some of the aspects of Tesla's approach.

The thing with trying to make things better is that most of the times you need to make some changes, and change isn't always welcome by those who've been doing things a certain way for a long time. Right now, all we have from the change camp are two prototypes and Elon's promises, so we'll hopefully see who is right come 2019, when the truck is supposed to come to market. In the meantime, if - like Jonathon - you have some complaints or suggestions about the Semi, feel free to try and voice them to Tesla, and maybe you'll help make trucking better in the future.


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