Keep on trucking: Tesla's self-driving electric truck has 200 to 300 mile range

We know an autonomous truck is on the way from Tesla, but we don't know much about it yet. According to a fleet operator though, the big rig is going to be able to stretch up to 300 miles between charges, matching the Model 3 but with a lot more weight - and with the potential to increase that over time.

"I'm not going to count them out for having a strategy for longer distances or ranges, but right out of the gate I think that’s where they'll start," Scott Perry told Reuters, apparently after having met with Tesla in his role as an executive at Ryder System Inc. Around 30 percent of trucking jobs in the US are 100-200 miles.

Long distance travel is of course an essential part of being a truck and the fewer stops en route the more viable the business for the haulage companies. Tesla itself didn't comment on the report but has suggested we'll be hearing more official news about its plans at some point next month.

Eyes on the road

According to Reuters, the truck is a day cab model with no sleeping berth, and capable of going 200-300 miles between charges with a "typical payload" on the back. Self-driving tech is going to be built in, as you would expect from Tesla, though exactly what form it takes remains to be seen.

While that distance is impressive for an electric vehicle, regular gas-powered trucks can get two or three times as further between stops, which may make models running on batteries difficult to sell, at least to begin with. Tesla is busy consulting with industry figures like Perry to make sure its truck plans are going to be viable.

The Tesla Semi is being built with safety and affordability in mind, Tesla boss Elon Musk has said in the past, and a tentative date of sometime in 2019 has been put forward as to when we might see it on the road. Meanwhile, fleets of self-driving trucks are due to hit the UK's roads within the next 12 months.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.