Tesla is all set to unveil its electric semi truck this week, and has already sent the invitations to a Thursday event. On Sunday, Elon Musk invited the rest of the world to witness the launch via a live webcast, saying it would “blow your mind clear out of your skull.”

Tesla electric semi truck
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Autonomous driving to differentiate Tesla’s semi truck

The launch of the electric semi truck comes at a time when Tesla is already facing challenges in the production of the Model 3, the much-hyped mass-market vehicle by the company. Musk unveiled the teaser image of the truck at the TED 2017 conference in Vancouver. During the Tesla shareholders meeting in September, Musk said the semi truck would start rolling over in 2019.

“We will probably reach scale production on the semi in about two years. Maybe 18 months, but probably about two years,” he said then.

Tesla’s semi truck was supposed to be launched several weeks earlier. However, it got postponed to address the Model 3 issues and raise the battery production for Puerto Rico and other hurricane-affected regions, Musk said.

Experts believe that although Tesla has delayed the launch of the truck, feature-wise, the Tesla electric semi truck would be able to differentiate itself from others in the market. In the future, the automation of heavy-duty vehicles such as the truck, could be a major differentiation point for the company.

Autonomous driving is largely seen in the shadow of luxury vehicles, but integrating the technology in the heavy-duty vehicles is going to make long-range driving simpler and efficient. It will also ensure a more streamlined delivery system where trucks will only stop at the supercharging station to refill.

Tesla electric semi truck – what to expect

Not much is known about the Tesla semi truck, but reports are that the vehicle would be powered by electric motor, power electronics, batteries and other components that the company already makes and which could be scaled up to fit the heavy-duty truck. Various leaked photographs suggest the semi truck would have a modern design, along with a tall and imposing cab, reminiscent of the helmets worn by the Imperial storm troopers in the Star Wars movies.

Talking of the semi truck, Musk previously stated that the company has worked in close collaboration with the logistics providers on the design of the truck, and they have given valuable input in creating a vehicle. As far as the range of the truck is concerned, it would be better for short or medium haul journeys. However, the truck will also be capable of traveling between cities and to port routes in “some areas for hauling bigger loads at a cost advantage compared to using fuel,” says TechCrunch.

Musk, who refers to them as “beats,” also already promised that the truck’s torque would be the best in the business. Meanwhile, competition is building up for Tesla as many players have entered the arena. For instance, Daimler launched an all-electric truck named the E-Fuso Vision One just last month, whereas Cummins released the Urban Hauler Tractor in early September.