In a rather rare social media post, Jerome Guillen, Tesla’s President of Automotive, shared an image of a vehicle that truly lies close to his heart — the Tesla Semi. The Automotive President’s post features the all-electric long-hauler parked at a Supercharger while pulling a trailer loaded with a Tesla Model X. Jerome even cleverly captioned his image with the words “Aircraft Carrier?” — a fun reference to the electric SUV’s open Falcon Wing Doors.
The recently-shared picture of the Tesla Semi was taken at the Kettleman City Supercharger, a site located between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The location is one of the United States’ largest Superchargers with 40 charging stalls, solar panel-equipped roofs, and a comfortable lounge for travelers stopping over to charge their vehicles. The site is also the same Supercharger where the red Tesla Semi prototype was sighted a few weeks back.
Since becoming Tesla’s President of Automotive last September, Guillen’s uploads of the all-electric long-hauler have become rather elusive. That said, his recently uploaded Tesla Semi post was certainly worth the wait, since the image could very well be the first picture of the upcoming electric truck with a completely new cargo and trailer.
The Tesla Semi is expected to be a vehicle that can disrupt the trucking market in the same way that the Model S and Model 3 are disrupting the full-size and mid-size sedan segments. The vehicle incited a lot of raised eyebrows when it was initially announced by CEO Elon Musk, thanks to its impressive specs that include a 300 to 500-mile range, a 0-60 mph time of 5 seconds flat, and four Model 3-derived electric motors. So disruptive were the Semi’s specs that Daimler Trucks boss Martin Daum infamously suggested that the Tesla Semi must be breaking the laws of physics.
Despite these reservations from critics though, the development of the Semi continued. Elon Musk has noted that improvements to the Semi are actively being done, even suggesting that the long-range variant of the all-electric truck could have closer to 600 miles of range per charge. Just recently, even the Daimler Trucks CEO, who dismissed the Semi in the past, acknowledged Tesla and the company’s tenacity. Daum still gave Tesla some warning about the lucrative and competitive trucking segment, though, stating that the business is far trickier than the consumer vehicle market.
“Tesla has proved they really have the tenacity to really go through huge losses to capture the market. But trucking is a difficult business. They will learn the hard way; trucking is not like passenger cars where one size fits all,” he said.
Inasmuch as Daum’s warnings are justified, the Tesla Semi is being developed with steady, experienced hands. Jerome Guillen, after all, has extensive experience in the trucking industry, and prior to his promotion as President of Automotive, he was personally heading the Semi program. Before to his employment at Tesla, Jerome served as the project leader for Daimler’s Freightliner Cascadia program as well, where he eventually became the head of the company’s Business Innovation unit. By the time he left for the electric car maker, Daimler’s Business Innovation unit was profitable and self-funding.
During the vehicle’s unveiling, Elon Musk noted that initial production of the vehicle will commence in 2019. That said, Eric Markowitz & Dan Crowley of Worm Capital stated in a note published after a tour of Gigafactory 1 that the electric car maker is planning on “earnestly” producing the Semi by 2020.