Though Tesla fans will likely overlook it, the new date and word "tentatively" suggest a delay in the rig's rollout. Musk had previously said the Tesla Semi would be revealed in September. He teased an image of the semi during a TED talk in April.
The rig is expected to have a range of between 200 and 300 miles, whereas conventional diesel-powered semis can travel up to 1,000 miles on a single tank. But logistics firms are reportedly interested in electric trucks as a way to lower emissions and operating costs, since electric motors require less maintenance than internal combustion engines and electricity is cheaper than diesel fuel.
Tesla Semi truck unveil set for September. Team has done an amazing job. Seriously next level.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2017
The lower range figures suggest that Tesla may be targeting regional hauling for its first iteration. Reuters has also reported that Tesla is working on self-driving capability for its big rig.
Tesla isn't alone in its quest to electrify semi-truck hauling, and it's not the first to the gate. Engine maker Cummins has already unveiled its own electric semi, the Aeos. It's capable of 100 miles of range fro its 140-kWh battery pack, making it best suited for use in cities rather than for long hauls. And Mercedes-Benz is letting 20 customers drive its Urban eTruck, which it first showed at the International Commercial Vehicle Show in 2016, for a year, with plans to reach full-scale production by 2020.
Nikola Motor Co. last year unveiled a hydrogen-powered rig that it says has a 1,200-mile top range and gets nearly double the equivalent fuel economy of the average diesel rig.