Each vehicle that Tesla has released to date holds the distinction of being disruptors in their respective segments. This is true for the Model S, the Model X, and the Model 3 — all of which have seemingly helped push established automakers to explore cleaner forms of transportation.
The Tesla Semi is no different, particularly since the electric truck is entering a segment where electrification is still a relatively novel idea. As the trucking market prepares for the arrival of the Tesla Semi, some legacy automakers are now exploring electrified concepts of their own, the latest of which is Ford with its F-Vision, a zero-emissions truck built with autonomy in mind.
The Ford F-Vision was unveiled last Thursday at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Germany. The vehicle is built by Ford Ottosan, the legacy automaker’s Turkey-based vehicle production base. During its unveiling, Ford noted that the F-Vision is meant to feature Level 4 self-driving capabilities. Being a concept vehicle, Ford was tight-lipped about the concept truck’s estimated power and range, but the company did stress the F-Vision’s autonomous capabilities.
Ford designed the F-Vision in such as way that it could either be driven by a human driver or operate on its own. The truck has quite a few tricks up its sleeve as well, such as an adaptable windshield that automatically tints to counteract the sun’s brightness, or raise and lower to maximize or minimize the driver’s view of the road. The truck is also equipped with an interactive front end, which can display different designs and communication methods. Linking to a trailer is designed to be seamless with the F-Vision as well, as the vehicle features an automated link system with its trailer.
Just like the Tesla Semi, the F-Vision is optimized for safety. Ford even announced that a feature not unlike Tesla’s “Convoy Mode” for the Semi would be available, as drivers of the F-Vision can “platoon” with other vehicles to optimize safety. Inasmuch as the F-Vision is a compelling step towards electrification though, Ford has noted that the vehicle is strictly a concept for now. It could very well be the basis of Ford’s other electric trucks in the future, but it might be a while before the veteran automaker starts producing and releasing its lineup of zero-emissions trucks. Ultimately, by the time Ford’s fleet of electrified long-haulers hit the market, the Tesla Semi would likely be as ubiquitous as the Tesla Model S, X, and now, the Model 3. Nevertheless, the idea of more electric trucks on the road means that Tesla’s push towards cleaner transportation is working.
During the vehicle’s unveiling, Elon Musk announced that the Semi would start production in 2019. Just recently, this timeline was clarified by Tesla head of investor relations Martin Viecha, who noted that the company aims to begin producing the Semi “earnestly” by 2020. Ahead of its release, the Semi is currently undergoing real-world testing, with the vehicle being spotted in several states across the US. Just recently, the Semi was spotted near the company’s office in Draper, UT, where it surprised Tesla enthusiasts with its unearthly sound while it was accelerating.
Here is Ford’s preview for the F-Vision concept, as well as a recent sighting of the Tesla Semi.