Tesla is set to reveal its first electric big-rig truck in October — here's everything we know

Cadie Thompson

Tesla is planning to get into the trucking business.

The electric-car maker is set to unveil its first electric big rig on October 26, CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet Wednesday night.

And while Musk hasn't said much about the upcoming vehicle, some details have leaked about what we might see.


Tesla has been working with truck makers on the vehicle's design.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company was working with major truck companies to design Tesla's all-electric big rig . "We are showing off a working prototype at the end of September, but we have shown it to people who buy heavy-duty trucking, and they all love it. They just want to know how many can they buy and how soon," Musk said during Tesla's annual shareholder meeting, hosted in July at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. "We are getting them closely involved in the design process," he added. Tesla is including the companies in the design process because it helps ensure their needs are met, Musk said.
Two trucks demonstrating "platooning" technology. Thomson Reuters

Tesla may announce some of its trucking partners at the event.

Because Tesla has already said it has been working with trucking companies on the design, it's possible the automaker could share who some of these partners are. They could include large truck carriers as well as shippers, according to a recent note from Morgan Stanley analysts Ravi Shanker and Adam Jonas. Tesla could also be working with the trucking companies Schneider National and XPO, as well as FedEx, according to Jonas.
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Tesla should reach full-scale production for the big rig sometime in 2019.

Musk also said the company would most likely reach full-scale production for the truck in 18 months to two years.
Tesla Motors

And deliveries could begin in 2020.

The big-rig truck could go on sale as soon as 2020, according to the Morgan Stanley analysts.
REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

The truck may have a range of 300 miles per charge.

With a full charge, the truck will have a range of about 200 to 300 miles with an average payload, according to a Reuters report that cited an executive for the fleet operator that met with Tesla. To help put that into perspective, conventional diesel-powered trucks can travel up to 1,000 miles on a full tank.
Green Car Reports

Tesla could introduce a battery-swapping business or ultrafast recharging to help with the truck's range.

To compete with traditional diesel trucks, Tesla may offer new charging solutions. "Tesla will have to clearly address these issues at the event to be able to sell the idea of an electric semi-truck to a deeply skeptical industry," Jonas and Shanker said in the note. The analysts said the company was unlikely to include a more than 1,000-kilowatt-hour battery, which would provide a range of 600 to 700 miles, because it would be too expensive. "Instead, we believe that Tesla would choose to put in a smaller battery (around 250-300 kWh) and choose to solve the range problem either through optional battery swapping or very rapid supercharging/flash charging," Jonas and Shanker said.
Daniel McMahon

It could have self-driving technology similar to Autopilot.

The truck is expected to have self-driving technology that allows it to drive autonomously while traveling in platoons, according to a Reuters report that cited an email discussion between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Tesla may have already begun testing its truck.

It's most likely that Tesla has been testing a prototype truck on public roads for several months, according to the Morgan Stanley note. According to a Reuters report , Tesla was in discussions with the Nevada Department of Transportation in June about the possibility of testing two prototype trucks in the state.

The truck could begin pricing at $100,000.

The Tesla big rig could begin pricing at $100,000 if the company charges separately for leasing batteries, according to Morgan Stanley, adding that Tesla might charge a $5,000 deposit .