Analysts say Tesla's new truck prototype it'll unveil Thursday night may boast a radically new design, boost cab comfort and feature autonomous driving technology. Fred Katayama reports.
One day before Tesla unveils a prototype electric big-rig truck Thursday, CEO Elon Musk tweeted this teasing shot. The semi with trapezoidal headlights could draw more headlines if - as Reuters reported - it drives itself. Stacked Capital managing partner, Arben Kane: SOUNDBITE: ARBEN KANE, MANAGING PARTNER, STACKED CAPITAL, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think it's a big game changer." In addition to radically changing the design, analysts think Tesla could boost cab comfort and make driving autonomous. Although the battery may fatten the sticker price, electric transmission and autonomous driving could drastically lower operating costs. The big technical challenge Tesla will face: beefing up battery performance. Oppenheimer senior analyst Colin Rusch: SOUNDBITE: COLIN RUSCH, SENIOR ANALYST, OPPENHEIMER, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The long haul over-the-road applications that Tesla is talking about have some real challenges in terms of battery charging time as well as just managing hills and things like that in terms of the power needed to pull the freight they're going to be pulling." The company will enter a new market just as it struggles to roll out its first mass market sedan, the Model 3. It has twice delayed the truck's debut. But that timing could actually help the stock, which has lost a fifth of its value since mid-September. SOUNDBITE: ARBEN KANE, MANAGING PARTNER, STACKED CAPITAL, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If you actually look at their current stock and the pressure that Tesla has around the Model 3 delay, this actually is a perfect distraction." Tesla shares charged higher ahead of the unveiling set for Thursday night.