A few hours ago, Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla semi truck he's been promising. It's suposed to be cheaper per mile than diesel, and deliver a safety experience on the highway the industry currently lacks. The new all electric semi truck looks like an electric train, with the driver seated in the center of an aerodynamic cab.

Tesla Semi Truck Revealed

Elon took to Twitter to share with us how he feels about it:

And while it may not YET be Optimus Prime, considering Musk's fears about artificial intelligence, it's good he's seeing the possibilities. Sticking with today's version of the truck, here's how the Tesla Semi  improves on existing semi trucks:

1)    500 miles of range

2)    Speed: 0-60 in twenty seconds with load

3)    80,000lb load capacity

4)    Onboard sensor set to reduce jackknifing, improve stability, and continue to update the truck's onboard computer with safety insights

5)    Up to 400 miles of charge in just over half an hour (or "on your break" as Elon puts it)

6)    Serious driver upgrade in the cockpit, with touchscreen displays for navigation, routing and connectivity and the driver centered over the chassis like a racecar

7)    Reservations for a truck are only $5,000.

Tesla semi truck: industry antidote?

Does it sound like fun? Yes it does, and fun (and safety) may just be the antidote the trucking industry needs for the pressures it's facing under extreme sustained growth. (E-commerce and the on-demand economy are making trucking one of the toughest professions out there.)

Here's how the industry looks as Tesla enters the market:

·      Roadway fatalities for truckers are up again year over year.

·      Truck driver deaths are over one-quarter of the fatal annual occupational injuries in this country.

·      Truck driving is the most dangerous profession in the US. Over half of trucking fatalities involved the vehicle itself.

·      The American Trucking Association projects that by 2027, freight will grow 35%.

·      A survey of 2,200 commercial trucking execs reports they believe that retaining drivers is their most crucial strategic initiative

Driving a sleek new Tesla is certainly one way to entice drivers to stay. While there will likely be production delays in the proposed 2019 ship dates--something Tesla followers have gotten used to as the company tries to reinvent industries--the fact remains this truck has the opportunity to set a standard for driver fun and safety, as well as lower cost per mile, in an industry that hasn't had time for much innovation in the past ten years. Meanwhile, Tesla itself keeps trucking forward. At the end of the event, Tesla revealed its new roadster, showing it's got more than a few surprises for naysayers who think the company's too busy to be great.