One of the most anticipated and longest waits for an electric truck must surely be the Tesla Semi which after many delayed planned launches finally broke cover earlier this year and started hauling demanding loads for the likes of Frito Ley, potato chips are incredibly heavy after all.
It seems however that Tesla’s unique centre seat driving position and slippery aerodynamic design have inspired some imitators, with a Chinese brand rolling out a new electric prime mover that apes the Tesla Semi and is likely to further ignite trade wars between China and the USA.
The electric truck that appears to have been inspired by the Tesla Semi was recently spotted in China and spy shots suggest the cabin layout has the driver in the centre, with an additional seat on either side in a 3-seat cabin configuration, just like the Tesla Semi.
The JAC electric truck is reported to have two electric motors, each producing 246kW, with a top speed of 89 km/h, but unlike Tesla’s permanently mounted battery the JAC reportedly has a swappable battery pack, a bit like the Australian Janus concept. Reports are that the JAC has a range of about 350 km compared with the alleged Tesla range of 500 km.
High-volume production of the Tesla Semi hasn’t even started yet, but the Chinese doppelganger appears to have already emerged. on. the roads of its home country
The images of the JAC look alike emerged when a Tesla owner spotted the Semi lookalike on a freeway in China – the camouflaged test mule truck was on a flatbed, trailer on its way to summer testing.
The electric semi-truck was apparently on its way from Hefei, in China’s central-eastern where JAC has its HQ and main manufacturing operations.
At first glance, the camouflaged truck seems nearly identical to the Tesla Semi, however if you look closely you’ll notice the absence of the signature wraparound glass and a lack of wing mirrors. The Chinese knockoff even has digital camera housings above the windows.
When Tesla first showcased its Semi, it had camera-based wing mirrors, but they were placed at the rear of the cab, unlike the ones seen on the knockoff. Last year Tesla dropped its digital mirrors in favour of traditional wing mirrors.