On Thursday, Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s latest creation: a semi truck. Not as sexy as an affordable electric car, perhaps, but an electric truck will have more impact on Musk’s larger mission, which is to make the world’s transportation infrastructure more sustainable.
It sounds ludicrous at first. Tesla may have done a good job proving that electric cars can be fast and fun, but even the longest-range car runs out of juice after 315 miles. And unlike a sleek Model S, trucks are as aerodynamic as the side of a house, they have to haul heavy loads, and drivers who are paid to cross the country as quickly as possible won’t be thrilled at the idea of long charging stops.
But heavy haulers with electric locomotion have a lot of advantages over dirty diesel trucks.