Designed to challenge diesel trucks as king of the road, Tesla has unveiled its first electric articulated lorry with the vehicle set to go into production in 2019 – with a range of 500 miles on a single charge.
Chief executive Elon Musk also revealed a new Roadster, which he said would be “the fastest production car ever” made.
The Roadster will have a range of close to 1,000km (620 miles) on a single charge and will do 0-100mph in 4.2 seconds.
Describing it as “a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” Musk said riding in traditional cars would be like driving “a steam engine with a side of quiche.” The new Roadster will be available in 2020.
The Tesla Semi will achieve 0-60mph in 20 seconds when pulling 36,287kgs (80,000lbs), the maximum allowed on US roads.
Speaking at Tesla’s facility in Los Angeles, chief executive Elon Musk said: “It’s not like any truck that you’ve ever driven.”
However, the charismatic Mr Musk faces continued pressure from investors and customers as the firm struggles to meet demand for its Model 3 car – which is behind schedule due to factory delays, a situation Mr Musk described as “production hell.”
As well as coming up against diesel incumbents, Tesla also faces other electric rivals. Concept electric big rigs have been unveiled by Daimler, Volkswagen and Cummins – though all fall short on range, and none are currently on the roads.
There are an estimated 3.5 million truck drivers in the US, the vast majority of whom drive diesel-powered engines. Tesla will not be able to compete on diesel’s range, and battery specialists doubt Tesla can produce a powerful enough battery at a reasonable price.