A Tesla Semi Was Spotted On A Public Road — Here’s An Update On The Truck

Business Insider’s Benjamin Zhang and Matt DeBord discuss the Tesla Semi spotting on a public road in California. Following is a transcript of the video.

Benjamin Zhang: So you may have seen this video of a Tesla Semi driving around California. We’re not exactly sure what it’s doing. But it’s real and you can see it in the flesh.

Matthew DeBord: I’m not sure what they’re doing either. I did see that video. I think, what’s going on is- I saw the truck when it was revealed in Los Angeles. And I think most of the trucks are being kept down their at Tesla’s design studio. Somehow one of them made it up to northern California and I think it’s just going back and forth between Tesla’s headquarters which is in Deer Creek in Silicon Valley and Fremont which is where their factory is on the east side of the San Francisco Bay.

Benjamin Zhang: We know they can’t even build their Model 3 sedan, how the heck are they going to build the truck?

Matthew DeBord: That’s an excellent question. They have one factory, in Fremont, California which currently pretty well maxed out trying to build the Model 3 which is their new mass market vehicle. They hope to sell it for $35,000 one of these days. And then their other two cars the Model S sedan and the Model X SUV was just their as well, and I don’t think they really have room to build a semi truck in there. So you look at the situation, and they’re supposed to be building a lot more Model 3’s at this point and they aren’t.

It’s a puzzling thing, why can’t Tesla, do a better job at its core -what should be its core competency- which is building stuff. They seem really good at, as you pointed out already, designing stuff, doing really dynamic and interesting reveals of the vehicles that they intend to produce. And then when it gets down to the nuts and bolts aspects which is bolting everything together and rolling it on the assembly line and getting it out to the customers they struggle. Folks are putting money down to buy this truck you know deposit the truck itself is going to be priced anywhere from $150,000-$200,000 I guess that general ballpark by the time they get around to actually building it.

Benjamin Zhang: Why are people plopping down this much cash for a truck that they can’t have?

Matt DeBord: Well, there have been some cynics out there who have said ‘oh yeah sure sure sure these big companies are plunking down their deposits to eventually get their semi their Tesla Semis. And isn’t just marketing? Isn’t this just a way for them to say hey we’re on with the green future, the sustainable future, we’re down with electric transportation. On the other hand you might be looking at the truck and saying well, it’s probably going to be- they’re going to operate it in a fleet context anyway that’s probably going to be cheaper to operate over the long haul then my diesel trucks are, if I have a central place where I can charge them up. It’s supposed to be a lot faster than a present-day diesel truck,

Tesla’s always distinguished themselves. You got to think about, how cool it is. Right if you get inside the cab of the truck it’s nothing like a traditional you know tractor-trailer big rig it’s nothing like that at all. It’s almost like the deck of a spaceship there are a couple big screens it’s all glass, the driver sits in the middle opposed to sitting off to the side. And they really kind of thought through self-driving aspects of the truck, the drivers’ comfort, the drivers’ safety, all kinds of things along those lines so I mean it looks like a pretty appealing product and it really doesn’t look anything like you know big rigs that are on the road right now.

Benjamin Zhang: But to wrap this whole thing up, in the grand scheme of things where does the Tesla Semi exist, in sort of automotive history?

Matt DeBord: Well nobody else is really is directly attacking this problem. Most of the big truck makers are going to stick- are sticking with the platforms they’ve got I mean they might be thinking about hybridizing the big diesels you know instead of making them full electric. Tesla’s going full electric and if they- if it is successful, it will be much more revolutionary and much more game-changing then doing the consumer autos.

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zack worrell says:


Terry Portis says:

900+ comments…..how many ppl on here either drive a rig or know anything about one??? Just curious?? Lot of comments from ppl not in the field…talk to a trucker….lol my Peterbuilt is fast too…..when I’m flat ground without my 60,000 lb load attached!!! Rotf…just saying… I’ll take the wait & see approach….we not even talking about pulling up mountains in the northeast region, or coming down 15% grades.. where all I can do is control the wheel & letting the exhaust break keep me at a low safe speed..etc…what kind of breaking system does it have??
Those of us that do this for a living have alot of ?’s… while everyone else is just saying how cool it looks…slow down ppl…some of these truck manufacturers have been doing this since the 30’s…. really hard to reinvent the wheel…only time will tell….

Waterloo Jameson says:

What are these two butt pirates talking about?

Braden Bell says:

They put a supercar in space. I think they can figure it out.

Max Blum says:

Conjectures and contrived speculations based on fragments of info? Useless.

Jr Hege says:

That is the ugliest truck I ever seen


To say they can’t built the Tesla 3 is stupid comment. How many 3s are already on the road? That’s why so many dislike

heavypizza says:

two idiots,alas no cup….

Landon York says:

The guy with the glasses is annoying af. The low grumble voice sounds like a stoned teenager

Jake C. says:

Heh Elon will rule haters make me sick

Chuckles Nuts says:

why cant tesla build stuff? why are they only showing off all the time? why dont you understand that tesla is a very new company and has built infrastructure out of nothing in a short amount of time. they are learning how to do these things. they also need to be prepared for the next thing that they need to do to make money. and their design department is done making the model 3 so they work on the design of the truck and then the design of the roadster 2. prototyping development and design does not mean anything for full scale production. new company new things are happening growing pains. take a we will see mentality.

DWNtoERTH says:

That second guy with the hair and the face and the glasses. What’s it called when your voice does that radio/doctor/pilot lowering of the pitch. Does it make you feel smarter?

tuff ute says:

At the End of the day all you guys are doing is putting Shit on his Product

Terry Digby says:

One of the least objective and least accurate reports out regarding Tesla and the Tesla Semi.

Paul Seary says:

Fuel cell truck is better!

Boeing T7 says:

Not sure, mmmmmmmmmmmmm… What about research! really guys!

Orrin Jones says:

Telsa to the flipping world! best car company so far revolutionary

rubberduckman64 says:

but why are they so ugly

edwong3 says:

Everytime I hear a dumba$$ criticize Tesla for Model 3 delays or other non relevant issues, I say, if you can do it better, then get on a plane and go to Fremont to show Elon and his team “how to do it”. Tesla will be waiting for a thousand years before a single brave soul shows up to “save the day”.

Jawad Najafi says:

Does it have 100 gauges and switches?
Does it have 18 gears? Wheres the stacks? Wheres the chrome?
I don’t hear the rumble!!
Bahhh this ain’t a truck..

roshan basu says:

You have it wrong. Tesla’s core competency isn’t building stuff, it’s pioneering technological advancement in the automotive industry, then further down the line changing the transport system to something less damaging to the planet than what we have now. They show it can be done, and hopefully industry leaders can follow suit. In simple English, improve performance, reduce carbon footprint. You both seem like experts, how have you gone so far off the mark?

KY K says:

Company is just going to go belly up at some point. Companies are continuing to pay money for these trucks and they have yet to full fill one order. It has been months possibly even over a year that this has been going on, there getting more an more orders and cannot even full fill one. One manufacturing plant for all these vehicles no less. They definitely bit off a hell of a lot more than the can chew. Big mistake!

Jack Bryson says:

What’s a tezzzzzzla

Diego Urbina says:

If you currently own a truck, you are already spending a ton of money in maintenance, that’s without counting the other tons of money on fuel/diesel. Buying this truck is a no brainer. Knowing that it takes time to get it, better jump in the band wagon now and secure your future savings. Every month that passes by, it’s thousands of money you loose in the future if you don’t do it.

applepie443 says:

goddamn. couldn’t watch to the end. why put so much emphasis on totally wrong places. jesus christ!

Kabuki Syneri says:

uh oh, don’t criticize anything Elon does. Don’t you know he is the second coming of Steve Jobs?

delbomb3131 says:

Do they not understand how driving truck works? Trucks don’t accelerate fast because they can’t make powerful enough motors, they don’t accelerate fast to protect the load. I deliver a lot of beer, and unless you baby the throttle you’re going to have a lot of tipped pallets.

murraysdreams says:

Well that didn’t update anything. That was just discussing what we already know.

Mitten Bitten Fishin' says:

Not if. When.

packson jollock says:

“A Statue Has Never Been Set Up in Honour of a Critic”

sierraink katana says:

Love seeing two guys bad mouth a busniess who they coudnt even work for…

Rocco says:

They ARE building Model 3 cars ding dong. THUMBS DOWN on the video!

aXBlackDeathXa says:

Nikola Motor did it first.

Victory Gaming says:

What about Gigafactory? In any case your video is just typical media bashing. In 3 years when these are as common as seeing the sedans (and I see A LOT where I live) you guys are going say “Oh we knew he could do it! Go Elon! We never doubted you for a second!” What a couple of jokers. How about you go out there and try to redesign automotive infrastructure from the ground up with no compromises to govt lobbying or oil companies. Yeah, you cant. Shut up.

john merlino says:

Did you guy’s get a hotel room after this with a few quarts of Mobil 1 and Lube each other Up!!…

Spiritus says:

A but of disinfo in this piece about Tesla “supposed to be making more cars and they aren’t”. According to Bloomberg’s tracker, Tesla Model 3 known production of cars based on registered VINs that have made it into the wild is currently around 1,052 cars per week which is just short of Tesla’s January estimates and the production curve is starting to increase exponentially. Yes, it’s behind their original schedule, but they are indeed evidently ramping up. There’s plenty of room to make Semis in the interim, as most of the factory is still empty, set aside for future growth. 8 million cars and trucks were previously made in that factory at an average rate of around 6,000 per week, before Tesla bought it. Tesla’s latest target is to reach 5,000 cars per week by July. The difference between Tesla and other manufacturers is that people waiting for Teslas are prepared to wait to get one. They aren’t doing what previous manufacturers have done, by making a model, the design of which is set in stone, it is getting better as production ramps up with multiple improvements, the line can be changed and improved rapidly within weeks, unlike other manufacturers who tend to make the same model, flaws and all, until the production run is over and a new model is released. I’d estimate that Tesla will smash past 6,000 cars per week this year and will have cleared their order book backlog within 18 months. We’ll wait and see, eh? 😉

Hannibal Abuurime says:

USA made baby

John Cahill says:

I come here for “A Tesla Semi Spotted on a Public Road” and end up with 6 minutes of this boring old fuddy duddy spouting the same lame negatives I can read anytime on Seeking Alpha. Hey, guess what? You naysayers claimed the S and then the X would never get built either. Tesla knows what it’s doing. Stop wasting our time with clickbait.

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