Tesla Shows Off New Electric Semi Truck, and Car that Does 250 mph

Elon Musk unveiled the new Tesla Semi on Thursday night — and surprised everybody with working prototype of a new Roadster sports car whose purpose, he said, is to “give a hard core smackdown to gasoline cars.”

Musk claims the car will rocket zero to 60 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds — which he said makes it the first production car to perform the feat in under 2 seconds. He said the sports car has a top speed of 250 mph.

“It’s just stupid,” he said. He offered no detail on when or even if the car will actually be built.

He was also sketchy about the new electric Tesla Semi. Eyebrows popped up high when he said it would have a range of 500 miles, far more than anyone anticipated. He provided no detail about the size and weight of the battery, but did claim total operating costs will be lower than a diesel-driven truck. Experts will be weighing in Friday on how that’s possible.

The truck is scheduled for production in 2019, Musk said.

Whether Tesla can build it in sufficient numbers, with acceptable levels of quality, at a total cost of ownership that makes sense to shipping fleet executives and other bulk buyers of heavy trucks is a different question.

The truck won’t be available for at least a couple of years. There’s no factory yet. And other truck makers, from International to Volvo to Nikola to Mercedes-Benz, are also developing electric trucks with self-driving capabilities. Tesla won’t have the market to itself.

Before Musk’s theatrics, reporters were led down a spotlighted outdoor corridor flanked by boxed hedges and into a large room that contained four big rigs: two Teslas, a Freightliner Cascadia, and an International. The reporters tended to call the Tesla models “impressive” in appearance.