Jay Leno has proven the might of the Tesla Semi’s towing capacity in a new episode of his show Jay Leno’s Garage.
In the video, the former Tonight Show host and car fanatic used one of Tesla’s Semi trucks to tow some hefty cargo — another one of the Semis, which Dan Priestley, the company’s senior manager of semi-truck engineering, estimates weighs between 60,000 and 70,000 pounds with the trailer.
“I don’t even feel like I’m pulling anything. It’s amazing,” Leno says in the video.
Priestley explained that the genesis of the Semi came from Tesla co-founder JB Straubel, who pondered why the company was shipping electric car parts using diesel semi-trucks, which inspired the company to build its own semi-trucks that run on electricity.
He also said that the first three years of operating a Semi will bring the owner almost $200,000 in fuel savings and that the truck will allow up to 11 hours of daily drive time.
Tesla’s chief designer Franz von Holzhausen explained that since the truck cabin essentially functions as an office for truck drivers, the design team thoughtfully crafted the truck’s interior for maximal comfort for drivers.
One of the biggest changes to the design came in the steps to the door. “We spent a lot of time making it more like climbing stairs than a ladder, because the number one cost for working compensation in trucking is falling off the truck,” Priestley explains.
“The average age of drivers in the United States is over 50, and you know we don’t have many young drivers,” Priestley says. “And so we’re hoping that by reducing the barrier for entry — you’re not having to manage, and, you know, double clutch when you’re downshifting and asynchronous gears and things that come with that. By making an easier-to-approach vehicle — it might attract some new drivers into the field.”
Finding alternative means of shipping is vital for a cleaner, greener planet, as medium- and heavy-duty trucks use up to 26% of the United States’ fuel every year, even though they only represent 4% of the total number of vehicles, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Commenters shared their admiration for the video and the engineers in it.
“I think having Jay Leno’s opinion and him testing these guys like a car guru and he’s asking all the right questions and bringing up all the right points 100%. What an informative and valuable video,” one user wrote.
“Listening to Tesla engineers is so refreshing,” another user said.
“I sincerely respect the fact that both the Chief Designer and the Senior Manager of Engineering hook up and disconnect the trailer with their own hands,” a third user commented.
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