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Autonomous Vehicles

Musk Talks About Tesla Semi, More Gigafactories, & Electric Roller Skates

Elon Musk told his audience at the TED Conference in Vancouver that Tesla may announce as many as four new Gigafactories this year. He also revealed a teaser of the Tesla Semi and a video explaining how underground tunnels might work.

It’s not easy following the Pope on stage, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Elon Musk. He was in Vancouver on Friday to participate in the annual international TED conference and took advantage of the occasion to tease a photo of the upcoming Tesla Semi, talk about building more Gigafactories, and offer a glimpse of how cars in the future could navigate through subterranean tunnels on electric roller skates. None of what Elon had to say was exactly news, but being the consummate showman he is, Musk could make opening a can of peas seem exciting.

The Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi tease

Musk told the audience the Tesla Semi will “out-torque” the brawniest diesel-powered big rig. That’s actually no surprise. Great gobs of torque at low rpm are the hallmark of electric motors, which is why they are used on subway cars and locomotives. Musk says he has driven the prototype and it handles like a sports car. Musk called it “spry” — an adjective seldom applied to Class 8 trucks that stand 12 feet tall.

The headlights shown in the teaser photo resemble the lights found on the front of the Model S and Model X. Styling is of vital importance to everything Tesla does and the Tesla Semi will be no exception. We won’t know what the truck actually looks like until September, when Elon says it will be revealed to the public for the first time. (See: “3 Tesla Unveilings: Model 3 — July, Tesla Semi — Sept, Tesla Pickup — In 18–24 Months (#ElonTweets).”)

4 More Gigafactories

Musk also told the audience at TED2017 that Tesla will likely announce four more Gigafactories before the end of this year, but he offered no hints about where they might be located. An educated guess is one will be in China and another in Europe. Musk was in China two days ago for an unannounced private meeting with Vice Premier Wang Yang.

Tesla is looking for manufacturing partners so it can build automobiles in China. It would help that effort considerably if the batteries for those cars were manufactured in China as well. Hyundai and Kia have both been slapped around by Chinese officials this year because they proposed to power locally produced cars with batteries manufactured in Korea. China let it be know in no uncertain terms that it thought that was a very poor idea.

Recently, a group of engineers in Lithuania put together a highly entertaining video designed to entice Musk to consider their country for a Gigafactory. The video is done completely as a Minecraft project and is very entertaining to watch.

Cars On Electric Roller Skates

Musk is serious about boring tunnels under America to relieve urban congestion. Yesterday, pieces of a new boring machine showed up in the SpaceX parking lot. Musk says he could bore tunnels 30 levels deep if need be. Ordinary mortals (like me) have a hard time understanding exactly how tunnels would work. Musk makes it clearer in a new video.

It shows Teslas driving onto what could be called electric roller skates. Then they are lowered by elevator into the proper tunnel where they speed along underground at speeds up to 105 miles per hour. “You should be able to go from say Westwood to LAX in 5–6 minutes,” said Musk in Vancouver. That same trip on surface streets can take up to an hour during peak traffic periods. Watch the video to see what Elon Musk sees when he dreams at night.

Source: TechCrunch | Photo credit: Tesla

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Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.


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