The Future: A Self-Driving, Zero-Emissions Tesla Motorhome?
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The Future: A Self-Driving, Zero-Emissions Tesla Motorhome?

The Future: A Self-Driving, Zero-Emissions Tesla Motorhome?

Back in November 2017, Tesla unveiled its new Semi. Consumers were excited then, but now, with production plans set for 2020, the truck has only continued to pick up speed. CEO Elon Musk said the fully-electric, heavy-duty truck “rides like a sports car,” without spewing harmful emissions and thunderous noise.

Many were captivated by the reveal of this sleek, eco-friendly vehicle, and some even dreamt up new ways to vamp up the new ride and drive it into the future. 

It’s one thing to drive a Tesla⁠. Ever thought about living in one too? Well, a startup just released a prototype exploring that possibility.

Introducing the Tesla Semi RV.

What Would a Tesla Semi-Home Entail?

Vanlifer designed a concept prototype for what it dubbed the “Tesla Semi-Home,” with the Tesla Semi acting as the base of the electric campervan. A concept sketch by the company showed the motorhome would be able to fit 6 passengers, and would be equipped with all the same commodities as other luxury motorhomes and RVs — a full kitchen, seating areas, bathroom, and beds. 

Tesla semi-home prototypes from Vanlifer. Source: Vanlifer
Tesla semi-home prototypes from Vanlifer. Source: Vanlifer

The company also pointed out a Tesla Semi would save drivers around $200,000 in fuel over the course of two years. Plus, not only would an all-electric motorhome save some big bucks, but it would also be significantly more environmentally conscious. 

“Its [the Tesla Semi] range of up to 500 miles (fully loaded) makes it ideal for motorhomes,” the company wrote on their website. “So you can clock up some big drive days without the accompanying gas-guzzling guilt.”

The Tesla Semi’s Features Make It Ideal for Building a Motorhome

Vanlifer added that Tesla’s enhanced self-driving function, Autopilot, could also be an exciting new asset for a potential motorhome, especially for drivers taking long, scenic road trips.

“The enhanced autopilot also has us really excited as it means the driver has more time to take in the scenery of the drive, rather than worrying about driving itself,” the startup stated. 

Several major corporations such as Pepsi and Walmart have already made their reservations. Source: Alexis Georgeson/Tesla
Several major corporations such as Pepsi and Walmart have already made their reservations. Source: Alexis Georgeson/Tesla

Some other notable features about the Semi include its 500-mile range on a single 30-minute charge and ability to go from 0-60mph in 20 seconds, even with 80,000 pounds of cargo. Without cargo, Tesla said the truck will be able to accelerate from 0-60mph at 5 seconds flat.

Let’s Talk About Cost

For the Semi with up to a 300-mile range, it’s projected to cost $150,000, while one up to a 500-mile range will be about $180,000. 

Since 2017, customers have had the option to reserve Tesla’s long-anticipated vehicle online. Currently, to reserve a standard Semi, it costs around $20,000. However, to reserve the limited production “founders series” version of the truck, it would set one back $200,000. Nonetheless, Business Insider reports that several major corporations such as Pepsi and Walmart have already bought in

While these figures may seem pretty daunting, Vanlifer argues that the price is reasonable. In fact, the company said online, the price for the Semi “really isn’t much for a luxury, high-end motorhome.” 

Still, this price doesn’t include the trailer for the motorhome. 


The Environmental Defense Fund reports cars produce roughly 333 million tons of CO2 annually. (That’s 20% of global carbon-dioxide emissions.) Consequently, people have switched to everything from bikes to public transit to reduce their carbon footprint.

But as the Semi reaches the market, maybe a future with net-zero emissions won’t entail cutting cars. As seen from the minds at Tesla and Vanlifer, it might just require a little more imagination. 

View Comments (4)
  • I’ve been thinking about and eagerly awaiting this for a while now, but this particular implementation (/bs fantasy sketch) is idiotic.

    You don’t build a van on the 150k+ SEMI platform! It would be overkill for a class A (bus-sized) motorhome but is preposterous for a Sprinter alternative.

    The Tesla Pickup truck will have great range and capacity and would be the ideal basis for anything resembling a van-based motor home (also class B and possibly class C!).

    All Tesla needs to do it sell “rollers” of the PICKUP drivetrain (hopefully including everything needed for autopilot and supercharging… though how it’ll fit…?) and it will be THE premium solution to replace the Sprinter in thousands of applications!

    Also think about what this battery capacity will mean for a motorhome!

    And until they do sell rollers the pickup will be ideal for trailers and 5th wheels, which will also give you the ability to drive around town once you get there.

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