Tesla deliveries the first semi trucks to Pepsi Co
The first Tesla Semis have been delivered, and so has the promise to adhere to the company’s mission: accelerate the advent of sustainable transportation. Yes, it took five years from the first peek at the Semi and three years longer than initially projected, but the Semi is set to change the trucking industry the same way the Model S, 3, X and Y changed the automotive industry.
While Tesla has been increasing the number of passenger vehicles it produces worldwide; these large trucks are not needed at the same level. The company states that 15 million passenger vehicles are sold in the U.S. every year, but only a couple hundred thousand big rigs. So why would Tesla put so much time and effort into something that doesn’t sell as many units?
Musk’s response, “it seems like a small percentage, but it (semi-trucks) is actually 20 percent of U.S. vehicle emissions. Because you’ve got a huge vehicle, and it’s being driven all the time.” Musk said, “Over a third of all the articulate emissions (are from semi-trucks). So, from a health standpoint, particularly in cities, this is a huge impact, like gigantic — that’s why we are doing it.”
The Semi is a Recruiting Tool for Truckers
Back in 2017, Elon Musk said he could drive a Tesla Semi. That was quite a statement, given that trucks this size usually come with anywhere from 10 to 18 gears. However, the CEO did just that five years later. He drove the newest member of the Tesla lineup to the event to deliver the Semi to Pepsi Co. Musk said, “It’s like driving a Tesla, literally.” That is because it’s built the same way with a single stalk to put the vehicle in drive, reverse, neutral or park. “It looks sick. I mean, you want to drive that! That thing looks like it came from the future… It’s fun. It looks awesome, there is a big shortage of drivers, so if you are a truck driver and want the most bad ass rig on the road - this is it.”
The Semi is known as the Beast
Senior Manager of Tesla’s Semi Engineering, Dan Priestley, explained why many people refer to the Semi as the beast. “(It has) three times the power than any diesel truck on the road right now. So you’ve got all the power you need to get the job done, but the other reason that it’s a beast is because it is efficient, you can go 500 miles on a single charge on one of these things. It’s the mix of those two - this is a game-changer. What’s awesome is both of those are enabled by our 1000-volt powertrain. This is the first vehicle we are doing with that.”
That max power combined with hyper-efficiency is due to a tri-motor power train system. One motor is for highway driving and will always be engaged, while the other two are for torque and acceleration. Those motors use the system straight out of the Model S Plaid powertrain. Priestly said, “These are clutched automatically. No driver input is needed. It is seamless.”
Musk commented on the Semi’s performance, “It looks crazy. It looks like an elephant moving like a cheetah.” He was also astonished at the size of the motor powering the Semi. It’s described as the size of a football, “I find it amazing that this enormous thing can be pulled by something that you can carry in your hands — it’s like, wow, that is power density.”
The Semi has been tested in all conditions in the real world, in a lab and virtually. One of those real-world tests was proving the naysayers wrong by taking the Semi for a 500-mile drive, fully loaded, from Fremont to San Diego on just a single charge.
Elon Musk later revealed on Twitter that the Tesla Semi's current efficiency is about 1.7kWh/mile, but that there is a path for Tesla to make it even more efficient. It's not clear whether the additional efficiency could be achieved through software or if it would require hardware changes. The quoted 1.7kWh/mile efficiency is a pleasant surprise, as many were expecting the truck to have an efficiency of about 2kWh per mile.
Speaking of charging, the new V4 Superchargers were also revealed. They produce 1 megawatt of energy and will be used for the Semi and the Cybertruck.
Tesla's Semi Delivery Event
Musk finished the event with this message: This is going to revolutionize the road, make the world a better place in a meaningful way.
Tesla is implementing a new hazard light pattern that improves drivers' attention
Emergency Safety Solutions
Tesla is rolling out a significant safety enhancement through a software update. Teslas, already the safest vehicles on the planet, got a little safer thanks to a small company based in Texas. While this article will highlight the advancement in safety, it will also applaud the work of Emergency Safety Solutions, which dared to challenge the old way of doing things.
Overnight Evolution: The Game Changer
Tesla North America didn't mince words when they announced: "If an airbag is deployed, hazard lights will automatically activate & flash faster to improve visibility." Elon Musk added, "New Tesla safety feature uploaded via over-the-air software update. Your car just got better while you slept."
It got much better thanks to a partnership with Emergency Safety Solutions (ESS), which we spotlighted a year ago. The small company, now just five years old, used a Tesla Model 3 to display its advancements in the hazard lights system, which had remained unchanged for more than 70 years. After numerous studies, the company changed everything about the hazard lights and approached Tesla with its findings.
Chilling Frequency: Every seven minutes, a disabled vehicle is involved in a crash on American roads. The result? An alarming 15,000 injuries or fatalities annually.
Ancient Flaws: The primary culprit behind these startling figures is a hazard light system that hasn't been updated in over seven decades.
The Solution: A frequency shift by adjusting flash frequencies from the sluggish 1.5Hz system to between 4Hz and 6Hz immensely heightens driver alertness. Hertz is a unit of frequency, which equals the number of cycles per second. In this case, the frequency of flashing lights is increased from 1.5 flashes per second, up to 4 - 6 flashes per second.
Real-World Outcomes: When 5Hz flash frequency was tested, drivers reacted a crucial 12 seconds faster. Moreover, they recognized an issue of more than three football fields sooner than the 70-year version. The number of drivers shifting to the safer side of a disabled vehicle also shot up dramatically — from 30% to an impressive 87%.
Emergency Safety Solutions also posted on X: "Great step toward making our roads safer for people in disabled and vulnerable vehicles! We appreciate our partnership with Tesla and applaud this major milestone in our mission to protect drivers when they need it most."
Tesla states in their post on X that this update is rolling out now in the U.S. to Model 3/Y vehicles and newer Model S and Xs.
It's more likely that H.E.L.P. is implemented in update 2023.38, but we have yet to receive release notes for vehicles in the U.S., so we'll have to wait and see if this enhancement made it in.
More H.E.L.P. to Come
Keep an eye out for even more safety advancements courtesy of this partnership with ESS and Tesla. The company created the Hazard Enhanced Location Protocol or HELP. Beyond the lightning-fast flashes, HELP seamlessly integrates with in-car and phone navigation systems, giving drivers a heads-up about potential hazards before they become visible. It's like giving your Tesla a sixth sense.
Unfortunately, that will take longer as it would require more automakers to get on board with this new system. However, as we've realized, automakers are following Tesla's leadership on several fronts, and they may also increase road safety and implement the advanced system.
If an airbag is deployed, hazard lights will automatically activate & flash faster to improve visibility
It's not a good day to be named Max and work at Tesla or on the security team assigned to the Cybertruck. You can't help but wonder how a daring individual found himself in the driver's seat of this highly anticipated vehicle. This perpetrator spoke in Russian and joked that a bag in the truck belonged to Elon Musk before zooming in to a name tag reading "Max."
While we certainly don't condone breaking the law, we were provided with a risky reveal of the Cybertruck's interior courtesy of a mysterious and perhaps too-bold-for-his-own-good infiltrator.
The video is less than a minute long but provides new information, notably on the updated user interface (UI). For weeks we've had Cybertruck sightings, but this is our best look at the Cybertruck's display.
Updated Icons and Font
The UI appears designed specifically for the Cybertruck; icons possess subtle sharp edges, mirroring Cybertruck's angular aesthetics. This design philosophy also extends to the unique font choice, giving the UI a rugged, distinct look.
A further advancement is the seamless transition between vehicle visualization and maps. The once-clear partition is a fading background, allowing for a more unified appearance. This unity is further emphasized with the vehicle now being depicted atop a 3D polygon terrain, which has been discovered before in firmware updates.
Icon Placement Changes
One of the first distinctions users would notice is the transition from horizontal app icons. This design has been the hallmark of previous Tesla models, to a vertical arrangement along the lefthand side of the screen.
The vehicle control icon is at the bottom, followed by climate controls and other apps. The gear indicator has evolved, too, switching from its usual horizontal layout to a vertical orientation in the screen's top left portion.
A closer look at the Cybertruck's UI
The status icons, such as time, temperature, Tesla profile used to grace the top of the display, but they have now been realigned to the left side and can now be found directly above the vehicle visualization.
Cameras, Front Camera Confirmed
Another intriguing update revolves around the Camera app. Where previously users had to decipher camera views, they are now labeled for convenience, as showcased in the video with marked "Left" and "Front" camera views. Yes, there is a front camera view, finally answering the question of Tesla introducing the front bumper camera. We previously had a look at how we expect Tesla's updated Camera app to work with the front bumper camera.
One of the standout features in the video is the battery display. Gone are the traditional battery icons. Instead, we are introduced to slanted lines, each symbolizing 10% of the battery charge. This visual representation is intuitive and integrates with the Cybertruck's angular design.
Music Mini Player?
Beneath the vehicle visualization is what appears to be a minuscule music control feature, though its precise functionality remains uncertain from the short video clip.
Inside the Cybertruck: More than Just a Fresh UI
Ambient Lighting: Drawing inspiration from the latest Model 3 Refresh and the Chinese Model Y, the Cybertruck incorporates a colorful ambient lighting strip. Strategically placed, this lighting adds a modern aura to the vehicle's groundbreaking design.
Interior Layout and Accessories: The video takes us on a mini-tour of the truck's interior, revealing several intriguing features:
Hexagonal Design Elements: Keeping in line with Cybertruck's geometric aesthetic, the backup camera icon flaunts a hexagonal design, intriguingly contrasting the octagonal design found on the cupholders.
Center Console: A spacious tray area reminiscent of the old Model S finds a home between the front seats. Decked with some wires and a yet-to-be-identified document, the console boasts "cyber cupholders" with an octagonal design. Furthermore, it's equipped with dual phone charging spots right in front of the cupholders.
Sun Visor: The video briefly showcases the two-stage sun visor, which resembles the one found in the Model X. The video provides a glimpse of the massive glass roof, promising a panoramic view that will undoubtedly make the interior feel even more expansive.
Rear Window View: A feature with many talking is the clear view through the back window. Although the video offers only a short glimpse, obstructed by tires placed in the truck's bed, it's evident that when the cover is open, drivers and passengers will benefit from an expansive, unobstructed view.
As one viewer pointed out, this video will probably be used for evidence one day. Whoever was in the Cybertruck owes Max an apology, and poor Max needs to remember to lock the door.
Video reveals the Cybertruck’s UI
- apps are along the left side - status bar icons like time and temp are above the vehicle visualization - smaller nav search icon - gradient between the visualizations and map
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