Tesla just unveiled its first electric semi - and it looks like a spaceship

Tesla just unveiled its first electric semi - and it looks like a spaceship
Tesla just unveiled its first electric semi - and it looks like a spaceshipScreenshot

Tesla is getting into the trucking business.

On Thursday, CEO Elon Musk took the wraps off the company's first electric big rig, a semi the company claims is safer and more efficient than any diesel-powered heavy duty truck on the market.

"Overall, the Semi is more responsive, covers more miles than a diesel truck in the same amount of time, and more safely integrates with passenger car traffic," the company said in a statement.

The truck is safer because it was designed with a reinforced battery that helps prevent damage upon impact and also gives the truck a very low center of gravity, the company said.

"Its windshield is made of impact resistant glass. Jackknifing is prevented due to the Semi's onboard sensors that detect instability and react with positive or negative torque to each wheel while independently actuating all brakes," Tesla said in the statement.

But one of the truck's most striking features is the interior of the vehicle, which is designed specifically for the driver.

For starters, there's enough room in the cabin for the driver to stand. And instead of the driver position being on the left, Tesla has centered it so that the driver has better visibility all around the vehicle.

Two touchscreen displays, one on each side of the driver seat, provide access to things like navigation and blind spot monitoring.

Tesla's big rig also comes with built-in connectivity, which allows the truck to seamlessly integrate with the fleet's management system to help with routing and scheduling.

Among its other high-tech features, the truck has Enhanced Autopilot which enables automatic braking, lane keeping, and lane departure warning. Cameras on the outside of the vehicle also help detect blind spots and alert the driver when there is a dangerous situation.

Musk said in June that the company aims to begin production of the truck in 18 to 24 months, so that would mean sometime before 2020.

Tesla, though, isn't the only automaker making a push into electric trucks. Earlier this year, Daimler also showed off an electric heavy duty truck concept that has a range of 220 miles per charge. However, the company has not said when the truck would hit the market.

This story is developing, check back for updates.

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