Tesla has had a decidedly up-and-down year since the Semi Truck launch highpoint late in 2017.

Tesla has had a decidedly up-and-down year since the Semi Truck launch highpoint late in 2017.

Photo: Jack Roberts

I never know what to think of Elon Musk.

It’s been an up-and-down year for Musk, ever since the rock concert coming out part for his anticipated all-electric Semi tractor. In the months that have followed, Musk and Tesla have endured endless speculation about the viability of both his company and the Semi truck, doubts as to whether or not either one will survive beyond next year, financial and corporate ownership drama and an ill-conceived tweet – just to name a few things.

There is not doubt that Musk is a modern day genius. And I'm impressed by the amazing company he's built, and many of the products and technologies he's talking about developing -- the hyperloop, low-cost rooft tile/solar panels and battery packs for residential homes, for example -- make a lot of sense to me. But then I see all the negative press coverage and after a while, it all takes its toll on me, and I start thinking that maybe Musk is a brilliant guy who just over-reached a bit. I mean -- he wouldn’t be the first genius to do so by any means. And then the guy goes and does something insanely brilliant, like shooting a car into orbit around the sun, and I’m right back to Square One, trying to make sense of it all in my head.

This has been a Square One kind of week, with the Tesla Semi taking a long-range road tour to show off its capabilities to potential customers pretty far outside California borders – in Illinois and Arkansas to be exact.

A couple weeks ago, the Tesla Semi made a minor social media splash when it showed up at California’s Donner Pass inspection station and promptly got popped for a DOT inspection. At the time, the event itself was the main topic of discussion, although a few shred commentators did wonder what the truck was doing on the California border and where it was going.

As it turns out, according to media reports, the Semi truck was being taken on a long-distance road trip to visit the UPS facility in Addison, Illinois, and then down South to roll into J.B. Hunt headquarters in Lowell, Arkansas.

According to reports from CleanTechnica, the Semi received a raucous reception at both locations, with employees lining up to get a first-hand look at the futuristic electric truck, climb inside and take photos.

Even more interesting, per a tweet by Elon Musk, the Semi made the approximately 2,000-mile trip alone, without any escort or support vehicles – using only an extension cord and the existing network of Tesla MegaChargers.

For now, it seems the Semi is headed back westward, if a stop at Ruan Transportation, in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 30th. According to a report on Ruan's website, Tesla officials met with representatives from the fleet, including CEO Ben McClean and several of the fleet's major customers.

Ruan Transporation CEO Ben McClean inspects the Tesla Semi tractor-trailer up close during a...

Ruan Transporation CEO Ben McClean inspects the Tesla Semi tractor-trailer up close during a visit to the fleet's headquarters in Des Moines on August 30, 2018. Photo: Ruan Transporation 

No word as to where the Tesla Semi is headed next – although Musk has hinted that the truck will visit other potential customers in the U.S. soon. So keep your eyes peeled and shoot us a tweet at @HDTrucking and let us know where she is!

Shining it all up before the rides begin. pic.twitter.com/ueQeJ4x74n

About the author
Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts

Executive Editor

Jack Roberts is known for reporting on advanced technology, such as intelligent drivetrains and autonomous vehicles. A commercial driver’s license holder, he also does test drives of new equipment and covers topics such as maintenance, fuel economy, vocational and medium-duty trucks and tires.

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