Tesla engineer explains Semi’s spacious, driver-focused cabin

Tesla unveiled more information about the finalized design of its Semi at a delivery event in December. During the presentation, CEO Elon Musk spoke with Tesla Semi senior engineer Dan Priestly about the electric truck’s driver-focused interior.

Above: Tesla Semi cabin inside view from the top. (Source: Tesla)

“Tesla Semi cabin is built around the driver,” said Priestly about the Semi's interior cabin and driver space.

The Tesla Semi cabin is far from the traditional internal combustion engine truck cabin, as its roomier design allows for the driver to freely stand upright. Even tall people are easily able to stand inside the cabin, as Priestly explains.

Tesla also showed the following video clip, where a driver enters the Tesla Semi cabin, takes off his jacket, and hangs it on the rear wall of the truck’s cabin.

“It’s not a sleeper cab, it’s a day cab,” Priestly added.

The most interesting design change from traditional ICE trucks is the Tesla Semi’s driver’s seat, which is positioned directly in the cabin's center. According to Musk, the positioning seat is meant to offer maximum visibility with the help of the Semi's various cameras and sensors.

“As I said, it’s as easy to drive as a Model 3. Like, with basically no training you can drive this, you know, you got to think bigger when you’re driving it but it’s not hard to drive — it’s really easy. We put the seat in the center for maximum visibility, and you can stand up in the cabin,” Musk said.

By “no training,” Elon Musk means that drivers who are already well-versed in driving a Tesla vehicle will easily be able to drive the Semi. For drivers with previous experience driving a Tesla vehicle, the Tesla Semi should be easy to transition to.

As we can see in the Tesla Semi cabin picture above, Tesla has provided ample storage space on the driver's right-hand side. The driver can store beverages, snacks and other items for long trips.

The Tesla Semi also has wireless phone charging. In the above image and video, you can see another seat behind the driver on the right, offering space for a companion or an assistant driver.

The most attractive features in the Tesla Semi interior are its dual 15-inch screens on both sides of the dashboard. These are the same screens used in the Tesla Model 3, and the dashboard’s clean minimal design also resonates with the Model 3/Y theme.

Tesla delivered the first batch of the Tesla Semi trucks to PepsiCo in recent weeks. The multinational beverage maker placed an order for 100 Tesla Semis in 2017, and received the first units from the delivery after five years working closely with the automaker.


Written by: Iqtidar Ali. An earlier version of this article was originally published by Tesla Oracle. Revised update edited by EVANNEX.