Tesla Charges Into Semitruck Territory

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The world of big-rig trucking hasn't changed much in the last 50 years: Big semitrucks powered by big diesel engines carry up to 80,000 pounds of cargo inside single, double and triple trailers across the country, burning hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel between stops.

But Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants to change all that.

Ever the showman, on Nov. 16 Musk revealed his Tesla Semi to incredible fanfare in Los Angeles. The Tesla truck is much more aerodynamic than anything in its class. It's reported to achieve 60 mph in 20 seconds when loaded (5 seconds without a trailer), climb a 5 percent grade at 65 mph and travel about 500 miles between charges. Tesla says it can charge to 400 miles of range in a little more than 30 minutes at megacharging stations. The new semitruck also will have many safety and driver-assistance systems, including an enhanced version of Tesla's self-driving Autopilot mode, all of which are designed to make the vehicle much more energy efficient and cost effective than diesel-powered big rigs.

The cab interior and driver's seat look quite spartan, with only two giant information screens and a steering wheel in a large, open-view cockpit. Without the need for an engine in front of the cab, the overall interior resembles a spaceship cockpit than the cabs of flat-nosed Kenworth, Peterbilt or Freightliner semis.

As per usual, Tesla is accepting $5,000 reservations for the semi, with production expected to start in 2019.

As Green Car Reports is reporting, there seems to be quite a bit of debate about whether Tesla can actually produce a semitruck at a price that individuals, commercial fleets or municipalities can afford. An Electrek report about a Musk tweet also caught our eye as well. In the tweet, Musk wrote that a pickup truck with the look and relative capabilities of the semitruck might be an interesting option.

Whether a Tesla pickup truck would look like a downsized version of the Tesla Semi remains to be seen. But if Musk can get hundreds of thousands of people to lay down a significant cash deposit to fund his projects, who are we to argue with that business model? It's worked so far.

Still, we strongly encourage him to think twice about offering something that simply looks cool and doesn't perform better than everything else in the class if he wants to enter the competitive and brand-loyal full-size pickup market.

That said, an electric low-volume one-ton pickup for the horse or fifth-wheel camper trailer crowd could be an interesting idea. Just don't make it look like this Tesla Semi.

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Comments

How much does it weigh? How much does it cost to buy? Where is it going to be built?

Legit and potentially deal breaking (the first two, anyhow) questions.

Another question that comes to mind, to many people: Where is my Model 3, and why is it taking so long tu build?


Sketchy. Very sketchy...

How could anybody drive that from the center? Seems odd.

I think it is cool what tesla has been trying to do
But i don't trust the company. They are jumping the gun with their electric vehicles. They are totally propped up by the government AND by naive hopeful customers and they still can't turn a profit. They have some cool products but unrealistically priced for most consumers. Electric cars will NEVER become mainstream without a major breakthrough in battery technology. The problem is the cost of materials. Batteries are just too expensive and building a giant battery factory isn't going to change that without a cheap source of materials to make them. Lithium is expensive no matter what.

I am hopeful that some exciting new battery technology is just around the corner, but unless tesla can get ahold of this technology first and soon they are going to go bankrupt.

I have a opinion poll question for all of you guys on here:

Who wants this stuff?
Autonomous vehicles?
All electric drive-trains?

Really, let's take a poll because I have not seen anyone that wants this.
Is anyone curious?

It all sounds great but it's not realistic. Far too many dreams in the press release

Well...Walmart made it known to all nationwide that their investment in this truck will surely become a reality. I'm hoping at least, Tesla will offer Walmart as well as other potential Trucking Companies that may express interest later on down the road, Interior Configuration options other than just a Center Driver configuration, remember, the Trainer will need to be up front to see the road clearly as well as the driver when it comes to all trucking companies hiring potential drivers for their business, hopefully that was an option taken into consideration by Tesla when this truck was being built.

@ Old GM Guy
You ask who want's these electric vehicles , well I think our planet and future generation's do. Would you like future generation's to be able to breath the air on this planet? Think of your future grandchildren.

@opinion

One nation alone cannot fix the concerns you mention.

Only the wealthier countries can afford green solutions at this time. Asking the world's poorest countries to suffer the cost of green solutions is cruel in a world where many people still go hungry.

CNG semis are already being deployed in many places--much cleaner than diesel.

Electric will make sense in locales where air quality concerns are immediate. Mexico City, Beijing, Los Angeles, to name a few.

Within a few years specialty green-oriented shippers in the US and Europe will be offering their best-paying boutique clients a solution that these customers demand.

In the meantime building the infrastructure for Green is still a giant challenge.

Oh yeah--Tesla. I've heard of it. That's the new car company forced on the taxpayers via gunpoint.

Tell me again: Where does most of our electric power come from?

The center seating position is dumb mostly because you loose the passenger seat. What are you suppose to stick your wife or significant other in the back? A lot of drivers have wives or other people riding with them.

B-S. Just B-S. The polls have been taken, and the answer is crystal clear. People want to drive themselves, have the freedom to go where and when they want, not have someone else telling them what they want and need, and not bankroll every idea someone comes up with to save the planet, (by the way, I guess that means the parts of the planet that have nice lifestyles, right China, and India?) If Tesla wants to go on their own, then have at it. Or maybe they can go into the Stadium building business. Tax payers pay for those too.

Where does most of our electric power come from?

@redbloodedxy

After you mention fossil fuels and nuclear, there ain't much left.

Solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and the rest of the green solutions account for less than 10 percent of electric utility consumption today.

Please speak softly about this around Roadwhale. He'll tell you it's a government (or business) conspiracy (your choice).

Huh, no cabover version for Big Al?

That's right, cabovers are aero bricks...

So, can go 400 to 500 miles. When new.

How does that work at 10 degrees, on hilly roads, after the batter has been used for 3 or 4 years? And the battery costs???

The whole thing costs??

Can it do it without catching fire?

@Mark Williams
"As per usual, Tesla is accepting $5,000 reservations for the semi, with production expected to start in 2019"
No infrastructure, but production to start in 2019?. He likes getting money up front and he is a showman.
His car production has run off the rails, but he is now trying to push this?

There's something to be said for getting off petroleum but I too wonder about battery life. I guess we'll see how many miles and years Tesla car batteries hold up.

"Huh, no cabover version for Big Al?

That's right, cabovers are aero bricks..."

Most frugal trucks we have in Australia are those " aero bricks".
The Tesla semi looks like a huge wall from the front, how aerodynamic?

I just come here to read the comments from the manitowoc level IQs. God i love this site!

How much does it weigh? How much does it cost to buy? Where is it going to be built?

Legit and potentially deal breaking (the first two, anyhow) questions.

Another question that comes to mind, to many people: Where is my Model 3, and why is it taking so long tu build?
Sketchy. Very sketchy...
Posted by: Roger | Nov
/Quote
Watch the vid again and pay atention
Or go to www.electreck.com and read..
Tesla is bit slow building their cars,,because theyre also building Network of Superchargers all over the country and the world..
Plus
Helping Puerto Rico to fix set up solar charging infrastructure..
Plus
Building Solar roofs
Plus
Building space x rockets..
Etc etc

Most frugal trucks we have in Australia are those " aero bricks".
The Tesla semi looks like a huge wall from the front, how aerodynamic?
Posted by: Robert Ryan | Nov
/QUOTE

Do you morons pay any atention when watching the vid??
That semi is MORE aerodynamic then any car or truck you drive..


think it is cool what tesla has been trying to do
But i don't trust the company. They are jumping the gun with their electric vehicles. They are totally propped up by the government AND by naive hopeful customers and they still can't turn a profit. They have some cool products but unrealistically priced for most consumers. Electric cars will NEVER become mainstream without a major breakthrough in battery technology. The problem is the cost of materials. Batteries are just too expensive and building a giant battery factory isn't going to change that without a cheap source of materials to make them. Lithium is expensive no matter what.

I am hopeful that some exciting new battery technology is just around the corner, but unless tesla can get ahold of this technology first and soon they are going to go bankrupt.
Posted by: farmerjohn | Nov
/QUOTE
Whatever tax breaks Tesla gets is Peanuts compared to what OIL corporations receive from the same Goverment..

Ev motors have so many advantages over gas or diesel its the future,mark my words..
Watch the semi outperform diesel truck..also
Tesla roadster just killed every gas powered supercar in the world,,


https://youtu.be/5n9xafjynJA

Tesla roadster,,
4 seats..quarter mile 8.8 sec
650 miles range

https://youtu.be/Gd9JQAkcYak

Still doubting the future is electric?

@Chevrolet builds a better way to see the USA

I don't think anyone questions the viability of EV but establishing a national, then global, infrastructure that can support hundreds of millions of vehicles will take decades. In the meantime, internal combustion engine vehicles will be the choice of billions of people.

A peaceful and efficient transition will be needed

A warm climate truck for sure as there won't be any chains going on the drive wheels on that prototype

"That semi is MORE aerodynamic then any car or truck you drive.."

Really? Who said it Elon Musk?

Tesla is going to have to start delivering on some of their prior commitments. Tesla needs to deliver the Model 3s. I can see where an electric big rig would eventually sell, but until Tesla can deliver on their promises this is just a pipe dream. Not going to happen unless Tesla can start making vehicles in larger numbers. Tesla buyers will not wait forever for their vehicles to be produced and delivered.

@Wayne, You can't use chains in most of the midwest or northeast anyway.

Charges? Good luck charging on current stations with that thing! Only two years to build the supercharger network with the loads of money Tesla has available, HA. Not to mention the plant to build in. Is a good thing to have dreamers but damn.

"Oh yeah--Tesla. I've heard of it. That's the new car company forced on the taxpayers via gunpoint. Tell me again: Where does most of our electric power come from?"---- Posted by: redbloodedxy

NOT coal.

"'That semi is MORE aerodynamic then any car or truck you drive..' Really? Who said it Elon Musk?"---- Posted by: Robert Ryan

While I don't recall the specific number, the CoD is one of the lowest numbers ever for a car or truck. Down in the 0.2 to 0.3 range. But that also includes all the aero skirting on the trailer.

"The center seating position is dumb mostly because you loose the passenger seat. What are you suppose to stick your wife or significant other in the back? A lot of drivers have wives or other people riding with them."---- Posted by: Andy

Try looking at those photos again. There's at least one jump seat behind and to the right of the driver. Logically, there would be another behind and to the left.

However, most fleet operations do not allow for non-employee passengers, so those would be used almost exclusively for trainers and testers.

He likes getting money up front Posted by: Robert Ryan | Nov 22, 2017

@robert ryan

Ahem, that's what CEOs do, Robert. It's their job to raise capital.

For those who are concerned about coefficients of drag and other aero concerns, it can be easily addressed with lower speeds for semi's.

A reduction of say, from 65mph to 55mph makes a HUGE different in the amount energy required to overcome drag, but only makes a small difference in the time required to reach the destination.

If the traffic on the highway is heavy the difference in time required is even less.

@Wayne, You can't use chains in most of the midwest or northeast anyway. Posted by: Papa Jim | Nov 22, 2017

not the REAL papajim

For a very long time now I have saying that EV Pickup trucks of the future will look more like the 70s Dodge A100 pickup than any pick truck you've seen in the market. Trucks are all about Bed space. Size/proportions are way off IMO, but the idea is there. Highlights of what I am waiting for:


1. A high, upright cab you can stand in
2. A deep , covered, lit, air conditioned bed.
3. That you can run A/C overnight with under 15% overall KW consumption. Huge!
4. 1000 watt rated 110v outlets at the tailgate.
5. A tailgate that folds down to become a ramp.
6. A modest 4000lb towing rating.
7. 200 mile 20 minute quick charge.

https://electrek.co/2017/11/22/tesla-semi-expected-price-electric-truck/

Several companies have already confirmed Tesla Semi orders following last week’s event.

At an event in Los Angeles last Thursday, Tesla unveiled a new electric truck and made some impressive claims about its specs.

They say that the truck achieved a drag coefficient of 0.36, which is unprecedented for a truck and even beats several modern passenger cars.
/quote

"Oh yeah--Tesla. I've heard of it. That's the new car company forced on the taxpayers via gunpoint. Tell me again: Where does most of our electric power come from?"---- Posted by: redbloodedxy

In my neck of the woods, its mostly hydro,sun and wind,
,maybe you better get on the clean energy too..
Did you know that every year 7 milion people die from ilneses related to air,water polution..
Btw EV tax rebates is peanuts comparing with BILLions of subsidies Oil industry receives from the Goverment,,not to mention all wars fought for oil and consequent destruction of the enviroment,,especialy places like tar sands..

In my neck of the woods, its mostly hydro,sun and wind
Posted by: Chevrolet builds a better way to see the USA | Nov 23, 2017

@Chevrolet builds a better way

What part of Candyland was this? Hydro. Sun. Wind?

Where?

It is going to take the phasing in of the new fuel standards starting in 2015 thru 2025 to cause a change in the half ton truck market.

This will be an evolutionary cycle similiar to the phasing out of the 70s large American sedan to what is presently the standard size American sedans like the Camry, Accord, Malibu, and Fusion.

Big Al what you say will happen but it will take time.
Posted by: Jeff S | Jan 1, 2013

@Jeff S

Update. It is "taking time" as you wrote 5 years ago. Since that time American consumers have flocked to dealers to buy big gas guzzling V8 SUVs and Pickups.

Without the heavy hand of Congress making auto manufacturers and consumers build/buy something they don't actually want, people opt for the big comfy cars and trucks.

a Musk tweet also caught our eye as well. In the tweet, Musk wrote that a pickup truck with the look and relative capabilities of the semitruck might be an interesting option.

@PUTC

Actually this blurring of the distinctions is an exciting place design wise.

Take a look at some of the haulers that the mid-tier NASCAR teams use to carry their cars & gear to the races. Diesel rigs with built-in tool storage, kitchenettes and bunk beds are commonplace on the NASCAR truck series and the regional late-model shows.

I don't intend to put words in Mr Musk's mouth, but if he was thinking about alternative ideas in this regard there is a fertile place for it today. Green is big on the NASCAR circuits because Wall Street still loves "green" and NASCAR teams love Wall Street.

@papa jim--So what is the problem. Most likely what we drive and how we live will change over time? My parents had one phone, one car, and one TV for years and we did not have smart phones or computers. Things do change over a period of time. It is better to embrace change rather than fight it. Maybe you would have a hard time adjusting if there were no gas powered V-8 pickups but most would adapt over time. I don't really care one way or the other because I will adapt. Most likely these changes will take place long after you and I are long gone. I will let you worry and rave on about it. Not that important to most people they will go on living their daily lives and drive w

@papa jim--So what is the problem. Most likely what we drive and how we live will change over time? My parents had one phone, one car, and one TV for years and we did not have smart phones or computers. Things do change over a period of time. It is better to embrace change rather than fight it. Maybe you would have a hard time adjusting if there were no gas powered V-8 pickups but most would adapt over time. I don't really care one way or the other because I will adapt. Most likely these changes will take place long after you and I are long gone. I will let you worry and rave on about it. Not that important to most people they will go on living their daily lives and drive w

@papa jim--What part of Candyland was this? Hydro. Sun. Wind?

Are you unhappy that in some parts of the country is is feasible to use alternative sources of energy. If you have alternatives available use them otherwise use what is available. This is not really you problem.

I think Jeff's a little cranky because his Wildcats dropped a game to the Cardinals. Big time.

Lots of fun comments on this one.

Who wants this? Every business and ALOTTA people will want a more reliable more efficient cleaner way to move stuff (from their own butt to 40 tons of fright) from A to B.

Electrically powered cars/trucks are as old as cars/trucks themselves. I can understand not wanting to be the first to own the latest technology as there are inherit issues with development and introduction but once past those phases modern advances typically are the best choices.

No seat for the wife, friend, whoever?... There wont even be a drivers seat in these things for long. Fully autonomous driving is not far off... Kids in Highschool don't plan on being a trucker its gonna be a small, short dead end job market.

My biggest issue with Tesla and (yes the S is AMAZING) is that it largely over promises and under delivers. The model 3 is the key and so far its been an exercise in endless delay. The amazing roofing tiles are grossly overpriced at this time (yes we all know the idea is genius and the price will fall it just cant happen soon enough). I would LOVE to see Tesla focus its energies and brilliance on fewer projects so that it can perfect and bring them to fruition and market more quickly at lower cost than tease us with brilliant conceptual/halfbaked ideas like an ADHD Idea Fairy. This truck shouldn't have been unveiled or worked on until the model 3 was brining in major cash instead of causing its worst quarter so far.



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