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Truck? What truck? Tesla Semi overshadowed by insane new Tesla Roadster

Elon’s gone plaid

As we previewed yesterday, Elon Musk introduced his electric semi truck last night, an event that was almost totally overshadowed by his unexpected surprise announcement: a new Tesla Roadster sports car. And what a car it’ll be…. When it gets built, eventually. Tesla got its start with the Roadster over a decade ago, and that original EV sports car was built on a Lotus Elise chassis, and even then it was quite the performance machine.

But the new Roadster is a clean sheet design and the numbers are stunning: 0 to 60 in just 1.9 seconds, 0 to 100 in 4 seconds, a top speed of 250 miles an hour or better, and over 600 miles of range from a 200 kilowatt-hour battery. And while the price is pegged at a lofty $200,000 for the base model and $250,000 for the “Founder Series,” that kind of money barely buys a set of new tires for the exotic cars the Roadster will be leaving far, far behind in pretty much any race.

It also doesn’t look too shabby either. Musk says the Roadster will arrive in 2020, and you can reserve a regular model with a $50,000 deposit, or you can lock in one of the 1,000 Founder Series cars by paying the full $250,000 up front. Oh, and we forgot to mention one little thing: the Roadster has seating for four people, not two.

But will it have air horns?

Nothing like driving not one but two silent electric semis up on stage for your main event and popping out like it’s no big deal. But it is a big deal. While the Tesla Semi comes with impressive numbers: fully loaded with 80,000 pounds of freight, the 1,000-horsepower Tesla Semi can hit 60 miles an hour four times faster than a diesel truck.

But it’s not all about get up a go. Musk says the Semi can go 300 to 500 miles on a charge, and while it’s being unloaded, hi-speed chargers can pack in 400 miles worth of juice in just 30 minutes. That makes the Semi a huge competitor for short-route hauling, which covers about 80 percent of all truck transport routes. Out on the highway, Musk says his Semis will be able to link their sensor systems together to run in close proximity, a scheme known as platooning.

Musk calls it Convoy Mode, and says it will extend the range of the trucks since it drastically cuts down on wind resistance. Price for the Tesla Semi? About $400,000, which is a LOT more than the cost of a diesel hauler, but over the long haul (sorry), it’s important to remember there’s no diesel fuel costs and electrical drivetrains are much easier and cheaper to maintain than typical diesel systems, since there are no gears or even a central engine.

For once, though, Tesla isn’t the first to this space. Other semi tractor makers have been working on electric-based haulers as well, including fuel-cell-based systems. So while Tesla might get all the press for its high-profile super-truck, it already looks like electric trucks are going to be a part of our cargo-hauling future.

The real silly season

Hey, it’s Friday, but it’s not quite that Friday yet – you know the one we mean, Black Friday. But that hasn’t stopped us from gathering up all the great deals on tech that’ll be hitting stores and websites next Friday, so warm up those credit cards. We’ve got a complete guide to what’s hot – and on sale – next week, and if you’ve been thinking about upgrading that old-school HD TV, this year is the time to do it.

Check out our constantly updated list of deals, and be sure to check out some of our other stories as well, including the Pope getting a sweet white Lamborghini, this Boston Dynamics robot doing a perfect backflip, and a filter system that makes clean water out of just about anything, including… well, you’ll just have to click to find out, this is a family show after all.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

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