Tesla puts a price on its Semi

Following its official launch, Tesla has revealed the price tag for its all-electric Semi – but transport industry experts are questioning CEO Elon Musk's impressive performance claims for the vehicle.

Interested parties are now able to reserve a Tesla Semi for an 'expected base price' of US$150,000 (~$200,000) for a Semi with a 300 mile (480km) range, or US$180,000 (~$240,000) for the promoted 500 mile (800km) range Semi.

According to Reuters, US chain Walmart has ordered 15 of the Tesla Semi, and fleet operator JB Hunt will be ordering the electric truck for trials only at this stage.

However, some analysts question whether the Tesla Semi can live up to its claims without sacrificing payload.

David Cebon, Information Officer of UK-based organisation International Forum for Road Transport Technology, said the Tesla Semi may be “too good to be true” as the required battery power could possibly take up 25 to 60 per cent of the available payload.

“Tesla’s claims for its new electric truck require some scrutiny,” Cebon said.

“Tesla claims that the new truck will have a range of 800km and an energy consumption of 1.25kWh/km. Running 800km will therefore require 1000kWh of energy: in practice a 1300kWh battery. Suitable lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles cost US$150/kWh today and are expected to fall to US$100/kWh by 2021. This suggests a 2021 battery cost of US$130,000: approximately equal to the current average price of new heavy truck in the US (in the Class 8 category).”

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