Is Tesla electric truck to have a range of 200 to 300 miles?

Tesla

With self-driving technology on the horizon, cars are not the only items of interest. From manufacturers to fleet operators to consumers, interest is keen on what the prognosis looks like for lending self-driving capabilities for trucks.

Transportation firms, for one, are looking to reduce both emissions and operating costs. As Reuters indicated, electric motors need less maintenance than ; "juice from the grid is cheaper than diesel."

We may not have to wait very long to see what effects electric trucks may have on transportation.

Back in June, Elon Musk made electric-truck headlines at the company's annual shareholders meeting when he mentioned a Tesla electric semi truck. As carried in Futurism, he said a working prototype would be shown off in at the end of September.

A key question regarding the readiness of electric self driving trucks has been how far can they go on a single charge? A Reuters report that carries comments from an executive outside of Tesla indicates Tesla might soon provide an answer in the form of its own electric truck.

The talk, in brief, is that Tesla is working on the Semi to have a driving range of 200 to 300 miles on a single charge.

Interesting Engineering pointed out that "However, this range has not been confirmed by Tesla nor Musk and neither the price tag of the truck has not been mentioned in any official statements. Interested buyers and industries wouldn't have to wait that long to find out though."

The information in the report from Reuters about range came from Scott Perry, chief technology and procurement officer at Ryder System. Tesla responded to Reuters' questions with an email, stating "Tesla's policy is to always decline to comment on speculation..."

Reuters said the plan "could change as the truck is developed," but that it was "consistent with what battery researchers say is possible with current technology."

That pales in comparison to what diesel trucks can accomplish on a tank of fuel.

Brandon Hill, Hot Hardware "While 300 miles may be sufficient for the daily travel needs of regular car drivers, that range falls well below that of diesel-powered long-haul trucks that can travel 1,000 miles or more before needing to refuel."

As for the range numbers, Marc Vartabedian in Reuters said that the prototype to be shown will be capable of traveling "the low end of what transportation veterans consider to be 'long-haul' trucking. Perry said, "right out of the gate I think that's where they'll start."

Perry said Tesla's efforts were centered on an electric rig known as a day cab— no sleeper berth. It was capable of going about 200 to 300 miles "with a typical payload before recharging."

Vartabedian said this is a sign that "Tesla is targeting regional hauling for its entry into the commercial freight market."

Some scenarios typical of regional trips might include moving goods from ports to cities nearby or moving product from warehouse to retail.

Reuters said according to Sandeep Kar, chief strategy officer of Toronto-based Fleet Complete, roughly 30 percent of U.S. trucking jobs were regional trips of 100 to 200 miles.

"So, in this instance," Hill said in Hot Hardware, "Tesla might have a viable niche."

Generally, opinions are strong that electric trucks present advantages not only as greener transport machines but cost-cutters after the initial investment is made.

"Ryder and its customers believe electric trucks could cost more to buy but may be cheaper to maintain and have more predictable fuel costs. As batteries become cheaper and environmental regulation increases, the case for electric trucks could strengthen," said Vartabedian.

Wayne Cunningham in Road/Show by CNET made a similar point: "With lower maintenance and fueling costs, electric trucks offer substantial benefits to fleet operators. Initial costs may prove prohibitive, but mass production of an electric truck holds the potential to rein that investment in."


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Aug 28, 2017
"That pales in comparison to what diesel trucks can accomplish on a tank of fuel."

True. But does it pale in comparison what many trucks *need* to do? Many trucks are single purpose beasts (not: "short distance today - international travel tomorrow"). For those that are used in a (relatively) short range capacity these eTrucks may well be an option.

KBK
Aug 28, 2017
battery swap stations along major thoroughfares and highways will take care of the range issue.

300 miles is about right for getting out, stretching one's legs, eating, washrooms, etc.

Trucking will make the switch soonest as it simply has to. As quickly as trucking can buy into a lower expense package, it will immediately do so.

Aug 28, 2017
battery swap stations along major thoroughfares and highways will take care of the range issue.

300 miles is about right for getting out, stretching one's legs, eating, washrooms, etc.


I was going to say, aren't there already safety regulations that say drivers have to stop and take a break? And employment law that says they must be allowed to do so anyway? Nobody could safely drive 1000 miles in one sitting. 300 miles is already more than four hours.

A truck with a 300-mile range and a swappable battery should meet all market needs, not just niche markets, if safety and employment laws are properly enforced, and swap stations are located appropriately.

Aug 29, 2017


I was going to say, aren't there already safety regulations that say drivers have to stop and take a break? And employment law that says they must be allowed to do so anyway? Nobody could safely drive 1000 miles in one sitting. 300 miles is already more than four hours.

A truck with a 300-mile range and a swappable battery should meet all market needs, not just niche markets, if safety and employment laws are properly enforced, and swap stations are located appropriately.


The real question is about the costs. Although the PR departments of companies speak about "going green", the only "green" the CEO will care about is the one you put in the wallet.

Moral issues aside, tech needs to be competitive in terms of price as well.

Aug 29, 2017
"The real question is about the costs. Although the PR departments of companies speak about "going green", the only "green" the CEO will care about is the one you put in the wallet.

Moral issues aside, tech needs to be competitive in terms of price as well."


True enough. The studies I've seen indicate that initial costs are slightly higher, but operation and maintenance are much lower, so electric trucks are greener in money terms, too.

Aug 30, 2017
"battery swap stations along major thoroughfares and highways will take care of the range issue."


But replace it with another issue: your trucks can now only go along the major thoroughfares and highways, almost as if they were trains on tracks. The point of trucks is that they can go anywhere, not just circle around a few designated points, and setting up battery swapping stations all over the place is costly because of the number of batteries needed in reserve for each.

The cost of the batteries is the key, because a semi truck uses approx. 10 times the fuel than a car, so you can basically stack ten Model S batteries on the back and it will go 250 miles. That would be about 5 metric tons of lithium batteries which subtracts from the cargo capacity, and it would cost about $300,000 with an endurance between 4 to 10 years depending on how many miles a day you go.

Aug 30, 2017
It is worth to note that a truck which has a range of 300 miles will exhaust its battery in just four years if it actually drives 300 miles a day, five days a week. That's about 300,000 miles.

Typically a truck is driven half a million miles and then sold to some smaller operator, who will drive it another half a million to a million miles more. In any case, you can expect the first owner to wear down the battery to the point of replacement.

The cost of a second hand semi tractor is something like $50,000, and for the second owner to buy a $300,000 replacement battery on it would be just insane. That means there's no resale value for these electric trucks - they become junk once the first battery is dead. The first owner has to bear the full cost of the vehicle.

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