Another New Route For Tesla: Its First Electric Semi-Tractor-Trailer

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DETROIT (CBS News) — After more than a decade of making cars and SUVs — and, more recently, solar panels — Tesla Inc. wants to electrify a new type of vehicle: big trucks.

The company unveiled its new electric semi-tractor-trailer Thursday night near its design center in Hawthorne, California.

Tesla (TSLA) also surprised fans with another product: An updated version of its first sports car, the Roadster. Tesla says the new Roadster will have 620 miles of range and a top speed of 250 mph. The car, coming in 2020, will have a base price of $200,000.

CEO Elon Musk said the semi is capable of traveling 500 miles on an electric charge, even with a full 80,000-pound load, and will cost less than a diesel semi considering fuel savings, lower maintenance and other factors.

Musk said customers can put down a $5,000 deposit for the semi now and production will begin in 2019.

“We’re confident that this is a product that’s better in every way from a feature standpoint,” Musk told a crowd of Tesla fans gathered for the unveiling. Musk didn’t reveal the semi’s price.

The truck will have Tesla’s Autopilot system, which can maintain a set speed and slow down automatically in traffic. It also has a system that automatically keeps the vehicle in its lane. Musk said several Tesla semis will be able to travel in a convoy, autonomously following each other.

Musk said Tesla plans a worldwide network of solar-powered “megachargers” that could get the trucks back up to 400 miles of range after charging for only 30 minutes.

Read more and see video, here.