Analyst Thinks Tesla Semi Range Will Be Up To 450 Miles

2 days ago by Steven Loveday 89

Tesla Semi

Tesla’s Semi to be fully revealed on November 16.

So, how many miles of range will the Tesla Semi have?

Questions are mounting about Tesla’s all-electric semi truck. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has a talent for creating a buzz and making this sort of thing happen.

First of all, he teases the new concept early on. Then there are little details given from time to time and a reveal event is scheduled, which lets us know that the vehicle is actually a real thing capable of being shared with the world. Even Musk’s two-time rescheduling of the event, while irritating to some, grabs more press and gets people even more excited with anticipation. Finally, the CEO takes to social media with crazy statements to up the ante.

Not very much has been revealed about the Tesla Semi on an official level. All we really know is that Musk says the specs are outstanding. After we saw pictures of what was believed to be the automaker’s prototype semi out testing, followed by a potential test mule, Musk Tweeted once again.

Bernstein analysts, Toni Sacconaghi Jr. and David Vernon, are estimating that the Tesla Semi will have 300-450 miles of range and be available in the middle of 2019. Bernstein has a $265 price target for Tesla stock.

Traditional long-haul trucks command 500-600 miles of range. Even at 450 miles, Tesla will struggle to meet the needs of the trucking market. Although there’s speculation that Tesla’s truck will be marketed for regional trucking routes. The Bernstein analysts don’t believe that the Silicon Valley electric semi will see huge success. They shared, according to Benzinga (via Teslarati):

Tesla Semi

Possible Tesla Semi prototype and test mule (red box).

“On net, despite a potentially compelling value proposition, we do not see the Tesla Semi opportunity as a thesis changing initiative for the company, at least initially. It is somewhat unclear why the company needs another major initiative (beyond Model 3, forthcoming Model Y, battery production, solar roofs and energy storage) on its already full plate.”

Musk still points to the semi’s mind-blowing status. So, if it’s not range (and it surely could be if Bernstein is right since initial guesstimates stood at 200-300 miles; Reuters previously reported that the truck is expected to have 200-300 miles of range with payload), what could possibly be so compelling?

Hopefully, we’ll know a whole lot more in just a few days. The semi’s official unveiling is set for this Thursday, November 16 in Hawthorne, California.

Source: Teslarati

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90 responses to "Analyst Thinks Tesla Semi Range Will Be Up To 450 Miles"

  1. SparkEV says:

    If true, that’s a lot of batteries. I hope they sell them in large numbers. If scale was the issue with batteries, this will really help bring down the price.

    If sold in large numbers, it will cement Tesla as the de-facto leader in batteries, at least in terms of volume if not in price. This might explain higher market cap than other cars-only companies, because Tesla could become the 800 lb gorilla of all things battery.

    1. Dav8or says:

      The only thing that matters about the “numbers” for this vehicle is how it can make an owner a return on their investment. Assuming it costs more than a traditional tractor (I am assuming they are just proposing selling just the tractor and not the trailer) and assuming it has less range than a traditional tractor and assuming it takes longer to recharge than a traditional tractor and assuming it can haul less cargo than a traditional tractor, how does one make money with it? All of these assumptions are based on what we have seen in BEV cars as well as numbers from competitor’s trucks.

      The only advantage from a money making proposition with these electric trucks is lower maintenance costs. I’m not sure that’s enough by itself to get trucking companies to buy them. Likely Tesla is banking on either government mandates, or incentives, or both to sell these. Personally I think the whole thing is PR and advertising scheme for Tesla rather than a proposal for a new profitable product.

      1. vdiv says:

        Is it working as such? Why are other truck makers introducing electric versions if they do not make sense?

      2. Mikael says:

        Ehum…fuel cost, fuel cost fuel cost and did I mention fuel cost?

        Also…some maintenance cost but that is not the important part.

        A truck is basically just fuel cost and driver cost. The vehicle in itself is a small part of the cost.

        1. Alain says:

          Your right ,people dont realize it can cost more than 100,000 a year on fuel cost times ten years 1 million!

      3. Windbourne says:

        Much lower costs for maintenance and fuel.
        ESP for fuel.
        How many trucking companies would do awesome if they were paying around $.75-.90 / GALe AND that is with still paying the tax on it?

        In addition, AP2 should be ready soon to be able to handle highways esp. in the south.
        Heck, they might even let it run at nighttime on AP while letting the driver sleep in back.

        1. Dan says:

          It all depends on the cost of electricity which tends to be high in CA where these will doubtless first get used.

          The way these will likely make sense economically/environmentally is if charged overnight on cheaper off peak electricity and used for shorter haul daytime routes especially in densely populated areas where diesel exhaust/noise is least welcome.

      4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “The only advantage from a money making proposition with these electric trucks is lower maintenance costs.”

        No, not at all. The biggest attraction for a trucking fleet is the potential savings in fuel. The cost of diesel is significant for truckers; for independent truckers, the cost of fuel is said to be about half the trucker’s annual expenses. I would guess for fleets the percentage is a bit lower, but still the potential savings from using electricity instead of diesel is simply huge.

        As you say, Dav8or, Tesla’s semi tractor will likely be more limited than a diesel tractor in range, in maximum weight, and in the maximum number of hours per day it can be in service (that is, it will take some hours to recharge after a shift).

        So yes, there will have to be a significant advantage to Tesla’s BEV semi to attract fleet buyers.

        Keep in mind, though, that Elon has been talking about full autonomy. So one thing Tesla is aiming at is eliminating the cost of the driver. Of course, that also means any production vehicle is a few years off; it won’t happen until at least some States, if not the U.S. Federal government, approves fully autonomous vehicles operating on public roads with no person inside the vehicle.

        1. Dan says:

          Electricity is not free and will be especially expensive for fast charging in peak periods.

          This “much cheaper than gasoline/diesel” for electricity statement is often not true. I don’t know what large commercial and industrial customers pay (but it is complicated and depends on many factors like time of day and peak load).

          Where I live in Northern CA, if you are on the standard electric rate plan, running your leaf size EV will cost the same or more than gasoline for a prius or Ioniq hybrid. You can get a time of use electric plan which makes overnight charging significantly cheaper but requires you to pay lots more during part peak and peak time (7am to 11pm).

          Most people are quite innumerate and can’t figure this stuff out. People pay $.60 per kwh to charge at Ikea stores which is the same as $19 per gallon gasoline thermally (more like $7 gas once you include the thermal losses of the ICE).

          To figure this stuff out you need to know what the electricity costs at the time and place you are buying it and how far your car goes, on average, per unit (kwh) of INPUT. (Energy is lost charging and discharging the battery.)

          Then you can figure the cost per distance (mile). Do the same for price of fuel and the vehicle’s real world mileage and compare. Voila!

          1. David Cary says:

            Dan – you speak obvious things to anyone who knows EVs.

            Just because you pay outrageous electricity rates, doesn’t mean that is normal. CA uses rates to get people to conserve. Not a bad idea but EV charging is a different animal because it displaces something far worse.

            Wholesale prices are $20 to $45 a MwH. Do that math. Understand that large commercial users pay a lot closer to wholesale than you do – especially if charging at Ikea. Yes – they typically have demand charges but realize the typical use for this will be charging at night when demand charges will be less or even zero.

            Don’t ever forget mandates which will include exclusion of diesel from city centers. You really think that European cities and states are going to allow diesel for trucks when they are banning it cars?

      5. Terawatt says:

        > The only advantage from a money making proposition with these electric trucks is lower maintenance costs.

        Fuel cost. That’s the biggest advantage by far, and you left it out completely.

        Over the useful life of a truck fuel costs much more than the truck and maintaining it. It even costs a bit more than drivers most years.

        By reducing energy consumption to between a third and a quarter there’s big potential for savings. But it depends on getting the electricity for a decent price. I wonder if Tesla will make any long term promises in that department. Buying electricity wholesale is of course much cheaper than consumer prices at home, so it seems to me it’s possible to provide very high power DCFC without having to demand a high energy price.

        Even in cars the main reason EVs aren’t already cheaper, in the US, in total cost terms than ICE is not that batteries are expensive but that the volume for each model is low. Over 150k miles the fuel savings already pay for the battery, at least when you also take into account the rest of the EV drivetrain is cheaper than ICE.

        Napkin math: at 30 MPG you consume 5k gallons for 150k miles in a car’s life. $3 per gallon yields a $15000 fuel cost. An EV, at 4 miles/kWh, needs 37 500 kWh for the same distance; at 13 cents per kWh this works out to under $5000. The savings, $10k, is enough to get you a 75 kWh battery pack ($133/kWh at the pack level). But you also save about $4000 on the rest of the EV drivetrain, so even a 100 kWh pack is possible within the total cost of the ICE (if volume were the same and multiple cars shared platforms and components – my point is this is the real difference).

        The numbers aren’t exact, but enough to illustrate EVs are fundamentally no more expensive than ICE in terms of their components. Design isn’t more expensive either – EVs are simpler after all! – but there are much fewer vehicles to share the cost across, for the time being.

        Now, if cars, where lifetime fuel amounts to half the purchase price of the car or even less, can afford batteries by paying for them with fuel savings, then clearly trucks have a big savings potential. Their lifetime fuel cost is typically 3-4 times the purchasing price of the truck!

        I’m therefore absolutely convinced that electric propulsion is fundamentally even more advantageous in heavy vehicles than in light ones. The more energy hungry, the bigger the EV advantage.

        But the big question is the infrastructure. Can early adopters be sure they can go far enough, charge fast enough, and pay a price that realizes the benefit? I think they’ll need some assurance, especially since Tesla will likely be the only provider of charging services for a long time. Hard, quantified price guarantees and maybe availability guarantees as well, not mere promises. And even then they’ll be making a bet that Tesla will be around.

        As with so many technological changes the transition is difficult, even if what’s on the other side is obviously better. There’s a reason we use as narrow train tracks as we do, and it’s not because trains couldn’t be much more awesome if track width was 50% greater. In fact, the standard is much older than trains themselves – it’s from Rome of the Roman empire: They standardized the track with of horse carts so that Roman streets could have stepping stones (to cross the street without getting wet), and amazingly that track width eventually became the standard also for trains. It’s a simple thing to change from an engineering perspective, but if you were to make a wide-track train with awesome restaurant and all, it wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. Conversely, if you made tracks for such trains there’s nothing to run on it, and if you do both you can’t interconnect with the existing network. And hence we’ll probably never escape the Roman standard.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          The only problem with your decent analysis is the “4 miles per kwh” part. Sure, an efficient car can get this much with careful driving – but on the other hand, some consider 3 miles per kwh just great.

          In cold locales, those numbers don’t apply, and then figure 1.15 kwh from the billing revenue meter to get 1 kwh FROM the battery later, in mild weather.

          In actual cold weather, it may take as much as 50% more electricity to perform the battery heating required, and in hot climates there is a huge refrigeration waste keeping the batteries comfortable.

          But you are correct, electricity is still cheaper – unless you are charging at the wrong location, at the wrong time.

      6. Paul Smith says:

        Sooo much assuming and soooo little knowledge. Besides being cheaper to operate electric trucks have MORE torque and load carrying capacity. It’s not quite there yet for cross country long haul, but soon. Meanwhile the majority of trucking is regional, so a truck can make it’s deliveries and return to recharge over night.

    2. SJC says:

      They would have to have more than 10 100 kWh packs to get over 400 miles, that is more than 10,000 pounds of batteries. Good luck waiting to charge all those, time is money in trucking.

      1. SparkEV says:

        CDAVIS says 4X, you say 10X, where are you guys getting these numbers?

        1. CDAVIS says:

          @SparkEV said: “CDAVIS says 4X, you say 10X, where are you guys getting these numbers?”
          ———–

          A loaded Semi consumes ~4X gallon/mile fuel than a SUV. Model X 100D = 295 miles.

          and…

          “Straubel Discusses Tesla Semi, Says Its Like Model S Times 4”: https://insideevs.com/jb-straubel-discusses-tesla-semi/

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          My own “Napkin Math 1.0” estimate says 2.4 kWh per mile, for a loaded semi moving at highway speed, and 11.5 lbs per kWh.

          Let’s assume Tesla can better that by 15%, with superior streamlining. That’s still 2.04 kWh per mile. At 450 miles, that’s 918 kWh and 10,557 lbs.

          Of course that’s just my estimate, not an exact figure. But I’ll be surprised if it’s all that far off, assuming Tesla is talking about a BEV semi tractor hauling a standard trailer, and not a special low-drag trailer.

          I’ll also be surprised if Tesla gives figures for a semi that can go 450 miles without charging or battery swapping. I think the economics favor a shorter range.

        3. SJC says:

          It is an 80,000 pound tractor, trailer and load that has to go 60+ mph and climb 5% grades. Physics tell us how much energy is required for a 400+ mile range.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “They would have to have more than 10 100 kWh packs to get over 400 miles, that is more than 10,000 pounds of batteries.”

        I could quibble over the exact figure, but you’re in the ballpark. That’s one reason why other analysts have guessed a more modest range of maybe 250-300 to 350 miles.

        Anyway, we’ve only got another day or two to argue about it, since Tesla’s Reveal is tomorrow night! If Tesla follows its usual pattern, it will release some specs the following day, but that’s still only two days away.

    3. Someone out there says:

      That would be Panasonic then, not Tesla. Tesla doesn’t make any batteries (cells).

  2. bro1999 says:

    Forget range, forget payload capacity.

    What’s really important is that Elon said the Tesla semi can be driven “like a sports car”. THAT’S what truckers really care about!
    /endsarcasm

    It’s about as ridiculous as a CEO of a company experiencing significant production issues of its most important product in the company’s history to spend time selling hats on Twitter!
    …..oh wait

    1. SparkEV says:

      You’re confusing short term setbacks to long term success. Despite their issues, they have always delivered, which I can’t say for some (or most) startups.

      I also find it interesting two Chevy drivers are the first two to comment on Tesla story, one pessimistic, one optimistic.

    2. Mister G says:

      Bro how’s your gas guzzler running?

      1. ClarksonCote says:

        His Bolt EV uses gas? Well that’s a new accusation!

        1. bro1999 says:

          Maybe he’s talking about my Volt? It does guzzle about 14 gallons a year. Lol

          These Tesla zealots are hilarious.

          1. Mister G says:

            Clarkson and bro get your lies coordinated lol bolt or volt??? Bro how’s your gas guzzler running?

            1. bro1999 says:

              Now you’re not even making sense.

              I have a Volt AND Bolt.

              What do you drive? A Tacoma Pickup?

              1. ROFLOL says:

                Brilliant, claim to own a Bolt and a Volt. That way you can never get confused about previous claims the names being so alike and all.

                ROFLOL!

                1. bro1999 says:

                  I had 2 Volts and a Bolt for a while actually.

                  Note to admins: how is this clown Mister G not banned yet?

          2. Steve Townsend says:

            A little less proud that I’m a Volt owner now….

    3. Dav8or says:

      That’s just what America needs… tractor trailers driving aggressively, weaving in an out of traffic in a sporting fashion, competing with all the other butt holes on the highway for pole position.

  3. CDAVIS says:

    The largest operating cost of commercial trucking is diesel fuel @39%
    (20,500 gallons/year, $70,000/year). By comparison a standard ICE car consumes 500 gallons fuel/year. So fuel wise 1 ICE truck = 41 ICE cars. What is interesting here is that the truck/car fuel consumption ratio is 41x but Tesla Semi requires only 4x battery size of a car… let that sink in.

    R&M 10%

    Insurance 4%

    These are the three cost components that Tesla Semi will be able to reduce to a degree that it will make Tesla Semi more economical to operate than a traditional ICE semi.

    operating cost stats source:
    https://www.thetruckersreport.com/infographics/cost-of-trucking/

    1. SparkEV says:

      I don’t know how you know it’s 4X car battery. But considering the range is less than long-haul trucks, there’s room to have even more battery, just like they’ve done with their other models.

    2. Murrysville EV says:

      You’ve conflated fuel consumption with fuel capacity, and mixed in different annual driving distances.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Hmmm, well, a modern diesel semi tractor pulling a loaded trailer at highway speed gets about 6.5 MPG on diesel. 4x that MPG would be 26 MPG, which does about match the average MPG rating from the EPA for American cars.

        Unfortunately, I don’t think the same ratio is going to apply for a BEV semi tractor pulling a loaded trailer down the highway. BEV passenger cars are designed to be much more energy-efficient than the average gasmobile passenger car, partly or mainly through improved streamlining, and partly by using lighter materials to reduce rolling resistance.

        Contrariwise, a working, practical semi tractor has to haul a standard semi trailer, so there is a limited amount of drag reduction possible from streamlining the tractor. And you can’t really reduce the weight of a semi tractor-trailer much; the purpose is to be able to haul a heavy load, and the EV powertrain can’t reduce the weight of the freight being hauled, or the weight of the trailer carrying it! Furthermore, the weight of the battery pack for a long distance BEV semi tractor will be quite significant.

    3. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      ” trucking is diesel fuel @39%”

      This picture uses some odd math. $0.56/mile for fuel would mean 5 mpg at $2.8/gallon. It would be a truck from 1970-ies. Supertrucks get 12 mpg now, although truckers are not mass running to buy them to save money on fuel & fuel taxes and waste on bank payments.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        12 MPG? Surely you cannot be talking about a loaded semi tractor-trailer moving at highway speed. This looks like more of your Big Oil propaganda.

        My sources suggest about 6.5 MPG for a modern diesel semi tractor-trailer moving at highway speed. That’s based on actual real-world performance; it’s not some theoretical figure, nor some outlier data from an impractical prototype.

        1. Doggydogworld says:

          SuperTruck program vehicles do achieve 12-13 mpg on real highways at speed with real loads. Some of the truck mods are not cost-effective, or even legal (i.e. no side mirrors):

          http://www.fleetowner.com/equipment/navistar-supertruck-catalist-hits-13-mpg

          https://www.volvotrucks.us/about-volvo/supertruck/

        2. Terawatt says:

          At highway speeds it’s nearly irrelevant whether the truck is loaded or not, as you know full well. Air resistance dominates at these speeds, and rolling resistance increases only proportionally with weight.

          The electric motor is more than 3 times as energy efficient as an ICE. Regardless how the vehicle is shaped. There’s less transmission losses but more energy delivery losses (in battery pack and inverter); you should still expect an EV truck to be three times as efficient as an ICE one running at sustained high speed.

          In city driving (due to braking) and up-and-down driving (due to braking going down) mass is very important because you must accelerate back up to speed over and over again. Here the added weight of batteries increase mass, but since batteries allow regenerative braking you still reduce the losses overall. The drivetrain efficiency advantage is the same as on the highway.

          Overall, in real life an EV truck should be between 3 and 4 times as efficient as an ICE one.

          The economics obviously favour having only as much range as you need. But it’s not like 100 kWh more or less makes a big difference. Both the price tag and the mass is tiny compared to the totals (~1% of total cost, 1.5% of total mass fully loaded). And the cost of having too little could be significant. I think this is a case of more is more.

    4. Doggydogworld says:

      “(20,500 gallons/year, $70,000/year)”

      $3.41/gallon? Your infographic is out of date. At today’s diesel prices it’d be about $45k/year, of which $35k is actual fuel cost and $10k is taxes.

      20,500 gallons is 123k miles on a not-very-aerodynamic truck. Tesla Semi will use about 2 kWh/mile at 65 mph. That’s 250,000 kWh per year, $25k at 10 cents/kWh. Industrial users pay less per kWh but also pay per kW of peak flow (demand charge), so I use 10 cents/kWh as a shortcut.

      A $10k savings (25k vs. 35k) is not chump change, but Tesla Semi has a higher upfront cost, thus higher per-mile depreciation. The economics really come down to battery cycle life. If Tesla can get 3000 cycles out of a $150/kWh battery, that’s 5 cents of battery depreciation per kWh. That adds 12.5k to our 25k “fuel” cost, and makes Tesla Semi more costly per mile than a 6 mpg diesel semi on an untaxed basis. Lower maintenance costs could tilt the scale back in favor of Tesla Semi, though.

      It’s also possible Tesla will price the Semi below cost to make the economics look better.

      1. georgeS says:

        Doggy said:

        “It’s also possible Tesla will price the Semi below cost to make the economics look better.”

        My numbers show the savings in fuel in the electric are roughly a wash on the extra cost of the electric truck.

        So Tesla will have to make it up on maintenance cost savings and the cost of the driver.

        So they will just tell the trucking industry this Thursday that they are offering “fully self driving” trucks that will save the industry huge quantities of money.

        Sound familiar???

      2. georgeS says:

        Doggy said:

        “The economics really come down to battery cycle life”

        I’m not convinced we can throw in battery depreciation when looking at the delta’s.

        I doubt that the diesel semi’s repair and maintenance cost include replacing the semi’s engine and transmission at end of life.

      3. CDAVIS says:

        @Doggydogworld said: “At today’s diesel prices it’d be about $45k/year…”
        ——–

        At todays average national diesel price (according to google) :

        $2.83/gallons x 20,500 gallons = $58,015

        So looks like both of us needed to adjust fuel cost assumption.

        1. georges says:

          @CDavis
          I’m not sure 10 cents/kwh is the correct electricity cost either

          1. CDAVIS says:

            @georges said: “@CDavis
            I’m not sure 10 cents/kwh is the correct electricity cost either”
            ——-

            Good catch …. Google says 12 cents

            1. David Cary says:

              Google does not say 12 cents for commercial users at night.

              Wholesale is around 4 cents. My last rate plan was 6 cents at night.

              Ask anyone who has business with a large electricity use at night and what they pay. I know one in CA who pays less than 6 cents.

        2. Doggydogworld says:

          I knew diesel was up since Harvey, but didn’t know it was up that much.

          Diesel futures are ~1.90 today. That’s wholesale, untaxed. Add 15-20 cents for transport and markup, the rest is taxes which vary by state but usually run 50-75 cents. So I should use about $43k/year for diesel plus $12-14k for pump taxes.

          As noted, 10 cents may be a bit low for electricity as well.

  4. Terminaltrip421 says:

    One, I don’t get more excited with the postponement I get less as it feels like a failure on their part to meet their own expectations.

    Two I will truly have my mind blown if the offering is the least bit beyond expectations. I don’t see that happening unless it’s no more than a model 3 release-esque show.

    Three I drive a Chevy

  5. John says:

    300 – 450 mile range… Love how the headline focuses on the 2nd number only.

    And I love ‘analysts.’ They portray them as somehow living behind the curtain, yet they’re no more informed than anyone commenting here at this forum- and likely LESS because they randomly sound off on all companies across the spectrum. Oh and when analysts are wrong (which is as much or more than being right), they’re oddly quiet about it..

    1. Philip says:

      ” It is somewhat unclear why the company needs another major initiative (beyond Model 3, forthcoming Model Y, battery production, solar roofs and energy storage) on its already full plate.”

      Of course an analyst would find this confusing! How can someone, whose sole reason for living is to make money, understand a CEO who seems to be driven by an altruistic motivation?

      1. Doggydogworld says:

        Your Mr. Altruism has five Bel Air mansions and a private jet. I have no problem with that, but let’s keep the conversation honest. He donates other people’s money to “the cause”, not his own.

        1. Nick says:

          He invested a huge amount of his own money into Tesla. He does bet his own money.

    2. Windbourne says:

      In general, I agree with you about the analysts that are posting about Tesla. Most all of them are obvious astroturfers on the kock bros dole.

      However, Toni Sacconaghi is NOT.
      He is #225 out of close to 5000 being tracked.
      This guy is NOT one of the typical losers that we see on say Seeking Alpha.

      Right now, he lists Tesla as a hold, in no small part because he is not certain what Tesla is up to.
      Tesla MUST get their QA up on the model 3.
      If they do not, it will sink them.

        1. earl colby pottinger says:

          Thank you, he is not prefect nut who is, but he clearly tends to make the right call.

          Only thing I disagree with him, I don’t expect Tesla stock to fall below $300 for any length of time. But I am holding onto my Tesla stock for the long run.

          1. earl colby pottinger says:

            AAARRHHH!

            That should say “BUT” not “NUT”, I hate the lack of editing available for comments.

  6. Ian says:

    Can’t wait for the article (Flying J truck stops to install Tesla Mega Charging stations).

    1. Vexar says:

      To that end, when Nikola Motors got their partnership with what, Ryder, I got excited. I highly doubt that existing Tesla Service Centers are going to have the capacity or equipment to deal with such large vehicles. Service bays and charging stations are what I’m expecting will make this announcement blow minds. Daimler can go on and on about what they’ve built, and I’m glad they have built something, but “available” and “serviceable” are two things I’m not seeing with the Daimler and the Nikola Motors announcements. Oh, and Volvo. As far as I’m concerned, the race is still on to go from flashy prototype to being market-ready. With a semi truck, that’s what is missing. Unless Tesla pulls another “Tesla Ranger” program, of course. Then… the edge is there and won already.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Elon has been talking about a Tesla BEV Semi Truck which has full autonomy. In other words, this isn’t anything Tesla will be putting into production soon. It’s almost certainly at least a couple of years off.

        What Tesla wants to do with this “Reveal” is to see how much interest it gets from trucking fleet operators, to gauge how much it’s worth throwing R&D development money at a production BEV Semi Truck.

  7. jmk says:

    Swappable battery and unlimited range. Should work well for semi, in the picture someone took a while ago you could even see a hump that looked like the battery that can be just dropped on and off.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      A swappable battery means the trucking company would have to buy and install battery swap stations along its routes. It also means they’d have to rent multiple battery packs for each semi truck from Tesla, instead of just one. Furthermore, it means the trucking company would have to deal with the logistics of making sure there was a full battery pack available every time a truck stopped at the swap station.

      I don’t think the economics for that will work, but we’ll see what Tesla demonstrates tomorrow.

      1. EV-A says:

        Unless Tesla provides the swapping stations and packs, and the trucking companies just pay the ‘fee’ for using the packs. I.e. the upfront cost would be low, and perhaps the ‘fee’ + swap could be cheaper than regular fuel in a long-term proposition?

      2. MorinMoss says:

        If Tesla wants to blow my mind, it would be to offer a semi that’s very flexible.
        Decently sized battery for the task but also able to have a second pack or an ICE range-extender, or a fuel cell or something like the Phinergy aluminium-air battery / fuel cell.
        I think that would also get the attention of those who have to manage trucking fleets.

  8. Mister G says:

    GO TESLA GO DESTROY DIRTY GAS GUZZLING DIESELS THAT SPEW TOXIC CLOUDS OF BLACK PARTICLES ON MY LEAF AS I DRIVE BY.

  9. Tim Miser says:

    Why even provide range numbers when you don’t state anything about payload weight?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Tesla has stated this will be a Class 8 truck. That means a fully loaded semi tractor-trailer rig, up to 80,000 lbs… but that includes the weight of the tractor and the trailer, not just the cargo.

      1. Tim Miser says:

        So the stated range is based on pulling 80,000 pounds? I didn’t see that mentioned.

  10. philip d says:

    “Tesla will struggle to meet the needs of the trucking market. Although there’s speculation that Tesla’s truck will be marketed for regional trucking routes.”

    What everyone keeps missing here is that by tonnage 80% of freight is hauled regionally or 200-250 miles or less.

    Now by profit in sheer dollars long haul freight makes a lot more money per mile but it still only makes up about 20% of all tonnage.

    So if they do indeed have a true class 8 truck that can haul 300-450 miles then they have an electric truck that can work for almost 80% of freight runs in the US.

    1. philip d says:

      Unfortunately this is the most recent info I could find. It is from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics 2002.

      “Most freight shipments in America, as measured by value and weight, move less than 250 miles. In 2002, more than half the value ($4.5 trillion) and 80 percent of the tonnage (9 billion) of CFS shipments moved in local and short-haul shipments critical to state and metropolitan area economies.
      Long-distance shipmentsgreater than 250 milescarried 20 percent of tons shipped, although they represent almost half the value of CFS shipments.”

      1. Doggydogworld says:

        Thanks for digging up real data. I doubt the mix has changed much.

        That 20% of tonnage probably represents close to 50% of ton-miles, since the average long distance trip, by definition, covers a lot more miles.

        1. philip d says:

          Probably. The big takeaway is that the first stab at an electric semi could out of the gate cover the needs for half of all shipping miles!

          By the time they would even get close to manufacturing even just a fraction of that many trucks battery cost and density will have dropped enough to increase range and recharge time.

          I could see battery improvements and demand staying ahead of supply for some time to come.

  11. Ron M says:

    Well Tesla is working with trucking companies to build a semi that they want so whatever the range and load is it apparently meets the needs of these trucking companies.

  12. Aires says:

    I think the truck will have room for 16 model S pack batteries! So energy of the order of 1600 kWh is to be expected.

    1. Doggydogworld says:

      16 Model S packs would weigh 20k lbs (ten tons). I can’t see logistics firms accepting such a huge hit to payload.

      If Musk was smart he’d announce a national dynamic charging network. Then his Semi would cost less and carry more than a diesel semi. That would truly “blow my mind right out of my skull”, lol.

      1. georgeS says:

        Doggy said:
        “if Musk was smart he’d announce a national dynamic charging network.”

        That’s the second carrot right after FSD. A dedicated truck supercharging network with guaranteed cost of fuel.

        Neither FSD or the charging network will come soon though. These are promises to rope them in.

    2. Nelson says:

      16 packs in the trailer section?
      Perhaps the trailer roof has solar panels.
      It will surely be self-driving ready.

      NPNS! SBF!
      Volt#671 + BoltEV

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I think the truck will have room for 16 model S pack batteries!

      We can be sure that Tesla’s BEV Semi Truck will be using batteries from Gigafactory One, which will be less expensive and a big lighter per kWh. So, possibly multiple Model 3 battery packs, but not Model S/X packs.

      “So energy of the order of 1600 kWh is to be expected.”

      If the truck is to have a range on the order of 700-800 miles without stopping, yes. But most analysts think the range will be somewhat shorter.

  13. Mg says:

    While i am typically sceptic about Musks statements – and this one is no exception – there are actually compelling arguments for Tesla semi project. I would point out that it will use battery chemistries from storage products rather than automotive ones, since we are talking much bigger milages and cycling here(perhaps 200 000/yr). Secondly trucks are produced on less automated fashion(smaller number, more custom parts) hence advantage od established producers is less pronaunced.

    1. Mg says:

      200 000 miles(not cycles) a year. I meant that having two products(trucks and storage) using same chemistry allows for flexibility in production capacity utilisation.

    2. georgeS says:

      Mg said:
      “I would point out that it will use battery chemistries from storage products rather than automotive ones, ”

      I’m very curious as well on the chemistry. If we figure 1500 cycles of life (NCA) and 360 miles of range per cycle that puts the battery life at 550,000 miles. A Diesel engine is good for around 750 or so
      https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-life-of-an-average-long-haul-truck-What-truck-has-clocked-the-highest-mileage

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “…there are actually compelling arguments for Tesla semi project. I would point out that it will use battery chemistries from storage products rather than automotive ones…”

      That seems quite unlikely to me. Stationary storage batteries don’t need high power (rapid discharge) or fast charging capacity. A BEV semi tractor will need both of those characteristics.

      “…since we are talking much bigger milages and cycling here(perhaps 200 000/yr).”

      Surprisingly, the average annual distance for a commercial diesel semi tractor is only about 3x that of a passenger car; about 45,000 miles. Semi trucks regularly running long distance routes average “upwards of 100,000 miles a year”, but that’s likely not the market for Tesla’s semi truck.

      And I wouldn’t expect the battery cycling to average more than once per day.

      https://hdstruckdrivinginstitute.com/semi-trucks-numbers/

  14. HVACman says:

    I’ll be very curious about this reveal. Color me skeptical, though. The trucking industry will be a very tough nut to crack.

  15. Windbourne says:

    For those of you questioning how well this truck will do, note that multiple large trucking companies are pushing for these.
    In particular, Tesla is said to be working with 3 different large trucking companies that want to buy these to run routes as Chargers become available.

    1. Someone out there says:

      Tesla/Musk also said the demand for the Powerwall 1.0 was crazy off the hook. Or that they had a deals to dig tunnels across America. Or a working battery swap system. Or full self driving in 6-12 months, tops. … and so on.

  16. DJ says:

    I don’t really think 450 miles would be all that difficult. When you look at the other EV trucks that have been presented they try and fit the packs in to a space already used in a diesel configuration. Take the Cummins EV truck, it looks to be all below the cab. All anyone really has to do is throw more batteries on to it behind the cab and you’re set. It’s a truck, not a car, so there is ample room and weight carrying ability to just keep throwing more packs on to it to get the desired range (obviously up to some limit).

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      There is plenty of room in the tractor for a large battery pack, yes. I showed that in my “napkin math 1.0” analysis. Those who say the battery pack needs to go in the trailer are ignoring the facts.

      Weight is another matter. The longer the range, the more the weight of the battery pack will cut into the maximum weight of cargo the truck can carry. Swapping batteries at the mid-point of a run would improve that situation greatly, but I’m quite skeptical that trucking companies would be willing to take on the burden of paying for battery swap stations, paying for renting the extra packs to stock those stations, and dealing with the logistics of making sure every truck will find a fully charged battery pack at a swap station when needed.

      I have no doubt that Tesla will detail some method of using their trucks for long distance routes, but I doubt whatever that is will appeal to most trucking companies. As analysts have observed, Tesla has a far better chance of penetrating the market for short- and medium-distance trucking routes.

  17. Someone out there says:

    It is still limited by the 80k lbs max weight so more range means less cargo. That does not work in Tesla’s favor.

  18. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    These so-called “analysts” should make up a betting pool for the range of the Tesla BEV Semi Truck.

    We’ve got 200, 250, 300; now we’ve got 450. Anybody for 350 or 400? Anybody?

    …Bueller? 😉

  19. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Bernstein analysts said:

    “It is somewhat unclear why the company needs another major initiative (beyond Model 3, forthcoming Model Y, battery production, solar roofs and energy storage) on its already full plate.”

    Well, that certainly goes along with what some people have asserted in comments, that this is just a ploy by Tesla to support investor interest and the stock price. While that’s not impossible, I think it’s just long-range thinking by Tesla. Elon has said the truck will take advantage of full autonomy, and even Elon doesn’t think Tesla will achieve that for a year or two.

    As I see it, this semi tractor is a concept vehicle cum technology demonstrator, not a production intent prototype. I think Tesla’s plan here is to run the concept up the flagpole and see how many trucking companies salute. That will give Tesla a better idea of how much or how little resources to invest in development of a production intent vehicle over the next few/several years.

    But we’ll have a better idea after the Reveal tomorrow night!

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