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Besides the obvious lack of local emissions, Tesla claims the Semi will save owners large amounts of money in running costs when compared to a similar diesel HGV, citing the "low and stable nature of electricity prices".

"It blows my mind", he said to cheers.

Tesla's new Roadster. Image source: Tesla. On Thursday night, Tesla boasted of both.

"From a purely economic perspective, if Tesla's cost of ownership stats prove accurate in practice, Tesla's Semi has a strong chance of taking significant share", he said.

Trucking company J.B. Hunt Transport Services said it had already placed multiple orders for Tesla Semi trucks. The 500-mile version will be able to do round-trip runs on the vast majority of USA freight routes, which are 250 miles or less, Musk said.

Guggenheim analyst Rob Cihra acknowledges that "skeptics" will take some convincing that an electric semi truck could "haul more than its own batteries around", but his odds are firmly on Musk's "important competitive weapons to an EV Class 8 truck market" to win the race.

Musk was equally effusive about the Semi he rode in on, which has Tesla's enhanced Autopilot system, the streamlined look of Tesla's passenger cars and a driver's seat in the center of the cab.

"By the time you are done with your break, the truck is ready to go. This is a massive increase in safety". Midwest retailer Meijer said it has reserved four trucks.

"I hope you like what you see", said Elon Musk while presenting the Tesla Semi. And like Tesla's existing Supercharger network, there will be enough charging locations to enable long-distance travel worldwide, Tesla said. Though the vehicle is clearly priced in supercar territory, it's far cheaper than numerous supercars it outperforms.

Could this be the electric truck the world has been waiting for? "Tesla clearly sees the promise". The Semi also comes with regenerative braking for improved brake life, while there is no need to shift gears on this truck, which should make it convenient for drivers. When a truck is out of commission, money is lost. "Driving a gasoline sports auto is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche", he told the audience.

Michael Harley, group managing editor for Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, questioned Tesla's strategy. And charging even a mid-sized truck would likely require a two-hour stop, cutting into companies' efficiency and profits, says Brian Irwin, managing director of the North American industrial group for the consulting firm Accenture.

The truck should be able to maintain a speed of 65 miles per hour going up a 5 percent grade, compared to a maximum 45 miles per hour for a diesel power train, Musk said.

But most of that growth is expected to be for smaller, medium-duty haulers like garbage trucks or delivery vans.