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Musk Confident about Bettering Initial Semi Specs When the Truck Launches

Last week, we told you about Martin Daum, the head of Daimler Trucks, and his reluctance to accept the specs of the Tesla Semi presented by Elon Musk during the event in November.
Tesla Semi and Roadster event 1 photo
His comments came after Mercedes-Benz had introduced the eActros heavy-duty truck, a two- or three-axle commercial vehicle based on the company's Actros model. By comparison to the Semi, the German battery-powered truck can only hope for a maximum of 200 kilometers (124 miles), as opposed to the Tesla's 500 miles (800 km) maximum. That's eight times as much.

Daum didn't even care to talk about the other stuff Musk was happy to put forward, such as acceleration times and running costs, and for a good reason: with a 370 hp combined output and half the maximum payload, it's very probable the eActros would have fallen short there as well.

Though not presented as a direct response, Elon Musk has tweeted that he feels "optimistic about beating the Semi specs announced at the unveiling for the same price." He went on to say the "Tesla Semi will be something really special," and if the rest of his message is true, that last part will definitely hold out.

He didn't, however, specify which specs, in particular, might suffer upgrades compared to the already impressive list show late last year. Is it the acceleration? While it works well for publicity, it's not exactly what potential customers are most interested in. Range? The 500 miles is already super-impressive, but it's probably the only relevant point where they could have some gains.

Musk also mentioned the price. So far, Tesla communicated two prices for the two versions of the truck, and they took everyone by surprise. The 300 miles model will cost $150,000, while the 500 miles one will only add $30,000 to the base version.

The price of the Semi is key here, both for customers and Tesla alike. Buyers will jump at the opportunity of buying a truck that pays for itself after two years of use thanks to its low running cost, while the manufacturer needs to find a way to bring production costs way down if it wants to make any profit with the truck. According to Tesla, everything will be revealed in 2019, though some reassuring from Musk - as much as that's worth - on keeping the deadline would be nice.


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