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Tesla Semi is using ‘a bunch’ of Model 3 electric motors, says Elon Musk

During a conference call with analysts following Tesla’s first quarter financial results, Elon Musk briefly commented on Tesla Semi, the automaker’s upcoming electric semi truck.

The CEO disclosed that Tesla Semi shares “a lot” of parts with the Model 3, including the new motors made for the upcoming $35,000 all-electric sedan.

It could explain why the vehicle is coming sooner than anticipated. Tesla is scheduled to unveil the prototype in September and it could become Tesla’s next vehicle to hit production after the Model 3.

Musk said that there are “a bunch” of Model 3 electric motors in the Tesla Semi truck and by sharing parts with the vehicle, he expects high gross margins on the truck.

CTO JB Straubel said that the truck wasn’t exactly complicated as a technical program while Musk said that it’s all about bringing the cost per mile down and show the industry that electric powertrains can work at any level of ground transport.

He added that he is confident that the cost of operation will be ahead of the diesel truck competition – making it attractive to freight companies.

The comments today follow the unveiling of a first teaser for Tesla Semi last week:

When unveiling the teaser, Musk confirmed that the prototype is already working and he even got a quick test drive around the parking lot. He added that the truck “feels like a sports car”.

The CEO also confirmed that the vehicle will be capable of long hauls, which was previously uncertain due to its expected all-electric powertrain which requires an incredibly large battery pack in order to travel hundreds of miles with a large payload.

While it’s interesting to learn that it will be powered by Model 3 motors, we are more interested about the batteries that will feed those motors. The energy capacity of the Tesla Semi will need to be comparable to gas-powered class 8 trucks and that would be unprecedented for batteries considering one gallon of gas represents about 35 kWh.

The biggest electric buses today have 400 kWh battery pack, but they don’t transport tens of thousands of pounds of cargo.

We should know more when Tesla unveils the vehicle in September.

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