Tesla Motors to produce trucks and buses

The electric car company has confirmed plans to build commercial vehicles from 2017

Tesla Motors to produce trucks and buses
Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO Elon Musk.


Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO Elon Musk has confirmed the electric vehicle company is developing its own commercial vehicle prototypes.

As part of his second ‘Master Plan’, Musk has detailed his company’s plans to develop two other types of electric vehicles alongside the current consumer vehicle focus.

"In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport," Musk says.

"Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year."

Labelling the new electric truck range as ‘Tesla Semi’, Musk says they "will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate."

The move into electric trucks has grown momentum in recent months, with the current trials of hybrid regenerative technology by Adgero and the potential launch of the Nikola One later this year – the latter of which has already seen a large takeup by the American transport market.

Musk’s vision for the bus prototype, thanks to advancing autonomy, would see the removal of the driver and much of current vehicle designs.

"With the advent of autonomy, it will probably make sense to shrink the size of buses and transition the role of bus driver to that of fleet manager," he says.

"Traffic congestion would improve due to increased passenger areal density by eliminating the centre aisle and putting seats where there are currently entryways, and matching acceleration and braking to other vehicles, thus avoiding the inertial impedance to smooth traffic flow of traditional heavy buses."

The entrepreneur’s vision would also see a large infrastructure change in the way people use public transport.

"It would also take people all the way to their destination," he says. "Fixed summon buttons at existing bus stops would serve those who don't have a phone."

He says the vehicle’s design also "accommodates wheelchairs, strollers and bikes."

In terms of smaller commercial vehicles, Musk says the company has plans for "a new kind of pickup truck", but provides no more details.

The forward looking announcement from Musk is the second of its kind, and both adds to and retrospectively looks at his first master plan document released 10 years ago.

You can read the full vision here.



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