Tesla Semi spotted with a suite of sensors on the roof, Elon Musk approves its volume production

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Tesla’s class-8 electric semi-truck has been a long time coming. Official updates regarding the Tesla Semi are rarely released.

But during last month’s Tesla Shareholder Meeting, the company’s CEO gave an update on these large electric trucks. “Just last week, I approved the plans for volume production of the Tesla Semi,” Musk said in his presentation at the event.

Interestingly, one of the test trucks was spotted without a rooftop fairing days after Elon Musk’s Tesla Semi update. As the fairing was missing, a large suite of sensors and equipment was seen installed above the driver’s cabin.

The video of this spotting was posted on the r/TeslaMotors subreddit. The Tesla Model 3 driver captured a short clip of the Tesla Semi as he passed it by on a highway outside Tesla’s Gigfactory in Reno, Nevada.

Video of the Tesla Semi spotted near Giga Nevada with a suite of sensors going through testing and calibration.
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Tesla Semi truck spotted with a suite of sensors instead of the rooftop fairing installed.
Tesla Semi truck spotted with a suite of sensors instead of the rooftop fairing installed. Credit: u/GameSyns via Reddit.

In the above screengrab and video, the large suite of sensors and equipment is visible just above the front windshield. There may be cameras integrated inside as well. In a 2018 spotting of an early Tesla Semi prototype, there were 26 external cameras identified on the long hauler. Tesla consumer cars have only 8 external cameras for Autopilot, Sentry Mode, parking, etc.

Tesla might just be testing Tesla Semi on Autopilot/FSD on the highways. Since Tesla Semi trucks will be navigating on highways for the majority of their journeys, navigating on Autopilot would ease the job of the driver.

According to Elon Musk, the economics of the Tesla Semi are much better than a diesel truck. And every transport and logistics company is looking for ways to cut their costs. So, it makes perfect sense to use a Tesla Semi instead of a diesel truck. He said:

If you’re a transport company [and] don’t use an electric – that [is] the Tesla electric semi – you’re just losing money. Why would you do that – do you not like money? Ok, but if you do like money, then I recommend using the Tesla Semi.

So, I think this time it’s really going to actually sell at a scale that people will be surprised at, and will actually move the needle financially and do a lot of good. And also for CO2 and sustainability because semis are driven all the time. Actually at much smaller numbers, they have a very big effect on total carbon emissions.

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Tesla showed this rendered image of the Tesla Semi factory at Giga Nevada during Elon Musk's presentation (2024 Tesla Shareholder Meeting / Cyber Meetup at Giga Texas).
Tesla showed this rendered image of the Tesla Semi factory at Giga Nevada during Elon Musk’s presentation (2024 Tesla Shareholder Meeting / Cyber Meetup at Giga Texas). Credit: Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

At the start of 2023, Tesla shared its plans of expanding Giga Nevada and building a new Tesla Semi factory inside. There already is a Tesla Semi limited-production plant working at Giga Nevada.

However, it has been a long delay in starting the construction of the Tesla Semi factory building. We hope it starts soon and as Elon Musk has stated, the volume production plan has been approved but he did not give a solid timeline for its execution.

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Iqtidar Ali
Iqtidar Alihttp://www.teslaoracle.com
Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on XAutoWorld.com, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii

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