Electric Truck Panelists Discuss Tesla Semi

FEB 28 2018 BY MARK KANE 30

Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi

eNow, Motiv Power Systems, Bosch North America and Thor Trucks representatives talked at the Stifel Financial Corp.’s annual Transportation and Logistics Conference about electric trucks.

Thor ET-One

Shyam Nagrani, the VP of business development at Motiv Power Systems, which is engaged mostly in Class 4, 5, and 6 EVs (mostly school buses, garbage trucks, and last-mile delivery trucks) expects that heavy duty vehicles will become profitable without subsidies by 2020.

The range requirements in Motiv’s applications are not high, so EVs are a perfect solution.

Dakota Semler, the founder and CEO of Thor Trucks, said that their trucks will be priced to be competitive without subsidies:

  • 100-mile version starts from $150,000
  • 300-mile version starts from $250,000

The question that electrified panelists was “What was the most unrealistic claim made by Elon Musk during the Tesla Semi unveiling?”.

“Dakota Semler flatly stated that “The 500 mile range, even with strict hours-of-service regulations is not, realistically, longhaul. We don’t see a use case for longhaul electric trucks.” Jason Roycht [Bosch] said, “We were skeptical of Elon’s claims about longhaul—that’s not just Bosch, though, the whole industry was skeptical. There are a few data points the industry is still waiting to understand, like the amount of energy he wants to put on a vehicle and exactly how much that will weigh. He also quoted something like 7 cts a kilowatt-hour [which we have questions about].”

Shayam Nagrani [Motiv] said, laughing, “I’ll never bet against Elon Musk. I have drunk the Kool-Aid and put down a $1,000 deposit on a Model 3. That was two years ago and I’m still waiting!””

See Also – Startup Thor Claims It Will Drop Hammer On Tesla Semi With Its Own Electric Truck

Asked about battery life and total-cost-of-ownership, panelists were pretty sure that there will be no problem with achieving 300,000 miles or more  (up to even 1 million miles) before battery capacity will become too low.

Jason Roycht, the VP of commercial vehicles and offroad at Bosch North America said:

“We’re already at a point in battery tech where it makes economic sense. There are technical things that need to be solved—we want to see battery packs that last 1M miles, not a couple hundred thousand. There’s a base cost assumption for batteries which already enables TCO advantages.”

Source: FreightWaves

Categories: Tesla, Trucks

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30 Comments on "Electric Truck Panelists Discuss Tesla Semi"

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My brother works in dispatch for a trucking company and, when asked about the Tesla, he said 500 miles isn’t enough but 600 might be. This is for single day trips. The driver’s break time is generally consumed by the unloading and reloading of the truck, so it can’t be used to charge the truck. He also wasn’t impressed with the price, since they can’t keep drivers if the trucks are more than a few years old. I can’t see where a $250,000 300-mile truck fits in at all.

I don’t get it… Why the truck can’t be charged while loaded/unloaded? That’s Tesla’s goal after all…

Because the places it’s loading and unloading wouldn’t necessarily have chargers. Are you expecting every grocery, shipping dock, manufacture, distribution hub to have high capacity chargers.

Well, all those facilities already have electricity so they COULD have chargers and furthermore they almost always have lots of roof space so they could also install solar PV to self-generate at least some of their electricity.

Do you see where this is going?

Its called cheaper and sustainable.

One MW charging power is one hell of a solar pv installation.

Yes it is but with a lot of roof/shade structure PV and powerpack(s) it is possible.

Keep in mind they can also get electricity from the grid and as long as they avoid demand charges or higher tiers they will still be WAY AHEAD of the costs of nasty, polluting diesel.

Forgot to mention that I’m pretty sure that Tesla will also offer lower then Megawatt or adjustable chargers so the business can stay out of demand charges.

Need to remember that Tesla’s SC are fully modular and they can increase the power by adding to the stack.

I think its likely that the Semi charger will be the similar

I expect companies like Loblaws will have chargers at all of their stores. I think they can use ordinary superchargers. All they have to do is recoup the energy used between their distribution centre and the store. An hour to unload while charging provides ~50 miles of range. Not much different from me opportunity charging at public L2 to extend my range.

A used truck can be resold after a few years and I was going to make the same point about charging stations at the loading dock.

I don’t have the numbers handy, but I’ve read that it will save so much money in diesel it will easily fit in economically.

That is simply an impossible situation, if NOTHING CHANGES, but, if you have not noticed, with Tesla, EVERYTHING CHANGES!

Here was Elon’s Pitch: ~ “At the ‘Megacharger’ you could recharge 400 Miles Range in 30 minutes!”

He never said such Megachargers would Only be on Freeway Service Centers, or Truck Stops, at any time!

They also mentioned the Semi’s would also get their own version of Destination Chargers, basically for trucking companies to charge up in 6-8 hours off shift!

These would likely be at fleet yards, as well as Truck Stops, which in various cases would likely get the Megachargers also! Such Semi Destination Chargers might also be deployed at each Clients Docks, as well as at thise Semi Customers, clients Docks!

That would make every Drop point, even if just a few Pallets, would be a place to pick up 50-100 miles extra range, too!

can’t see where a $250,000 300-mile truck fits in at all.

Linear algebra.

At 6 mpg and $2.40-2.70 per gallon you’ Looking at 40-45cents per mile. At .5 mpkWh and 7 cpkWh we have a fuel cost of 14 cents per mile or a cost savings of 26 – 31 cents per mile. If you have access to a Tesla semi it is in your interests to maximize the productive miles driven. 360,000 miles per year times $0.30 Savings per mile equals $108,000 per year. 360,000 miles per year? A single driver can’t do that but a team can.

Superior reliability, serviceability, and durability as well as lower maintenance costs also apply. And we haven’t even discussed platooning with AutoPilot 3.0.

The gold goes to the drivers or driving teams that can make it work for them.

And that’s why you are seeing large companies doing fleet buys here right off the bat. I’d wager even down the road when Tesla starts pumping these out regularly, the vast majority of purchases are going to be fleet where drivers are going to be in and out of them all day long and, more importantly, their destinations are likely going to be right back at a company hub or other location where they can be fitted with Megachargers.

“360,000 miles per year? A single driver can’t do that but a team can. ”

No, they can’t. 200k maybe.

100-120k is real world today. There’s no reason to jump through hoops trying to schedule the truck and drivers to stay on the road more than that. You wear the semi out sooner so your cost/mile only changes slightly.

On average, a Truck Driver can expect to drive between 2000 and 3000 miles per week. When you get paid by the mile, your odometer counts your money for you as the miles fly by. This makes it easier to track your expected pay. Truck Drivers that are paid by the mile do tend to make more than hourly or salary paid drivers. The above is an excerpt from roadmaster.com…so 100-150K miles per year is not unusual for a single driver. Elsewhere I’ve read truckers claim 1,000 miles per day is their minimum in a team and 2,000 miles per day is their target. If you’re being paid per mile than wearing out your vehicle isn’t a concern if you’re smart enough to realize it is just a per mile expense. That is true regardless of whether you’re driving diesel or EV unless you’re making the claim that the wear is significantly non-linear. This is where Tesla’s superior warranty comes into play though. Now you have to weigh that million mile warranty vs a 300K mile warranty so you’re pointing out that Tesla is superior. And then there is the matter of platooning which will almost certainly be available by… Read more »

You cannot legally drive 20 hours per day with the hours of service rules. So 1000 miles per day is silly. And recently, everyone is required to use electronic data loggers, so cheaters will not last long. I recall 11 hours per day is max, and average speed is usually about 50 mph (probably better with Tesla as it can keep up in the hills). You need several stops in there, during which you can charge.

Tesla Semi Costs (The article doesn’t seem to make this clear)

300 mile range base price – $150,000

500 mile range base price – $180,000

And, in contrast, “Dakota Semler, the founder and CEO of Thor Trucks, said that their trucks will be priced to be competitive without subsidies:

100-mile version starts from $150,000
300-mile version starts from $250,000”

So the ‘Big Range’ Thor Truck = the ‘Small Range’ of the Tesla Semi, but cists $100,000 MORE!

Or, the ‘Small Range’ Thor, costs as much as the ‘Small Range’ Tesla Semi, but goes 1/3rd as far! (Or, the Tesla Semi @ 300 Miles range & $150,000, goes 3X as far, for the Same Money!)

I can see where a few existing players have doubts about the Tesla Semi! When compared to the THOR 1, the Tesla Semi just seems ‘Too Good To Be True!’ So, people will simply write it off, thinking ‘No Way it can do that, as an EV, for THAT Price!’

They might want to hedge their bets, and buy 1 Thor 300 Mile Range Truck, & 1 Tesla Semi 300 Mile Range Truck, and compare!

Thor’s only real hope is their lead time in the market. If they start selling trucks this year then some buyers will pay the premium rather than wait for Tesla. Even when Tesla Semi comes out there will be a long backlog waiting for delivery so Thor will still have some market, but it will get smaller and I do not see Thor succeeding in the long run. The main problem is that Thor will not have access to cheap GigaFactory batteries.

Another comparison:
$30,000 extra buys 200 more Miles range, in the Tesla Semi, whereas $100,000 buys 200 Miles More Range in the THOR Trucks!

That means it costs about $50,000 per 100 Miles range for Thor Trucks, versus $15,000 per 100 Miles range in the Tesla Semi!

(Of course, this assumes in both instances, that actual prices on the road stays as defined for each of these trucks, and specs for range remain the same, by the time they are shipping!

But we already know that Tesla has offered a ‘Founders Series’ on the Semi, for which that means the first ~1,000 Vehicles {As I understand}, and that goes for $200,000, And, we Presume it to be only the ‘500 Mile Range’ version!)

Note: Even the $200,000 ‘Founders Series’ Tesla Semi, all in, only costs $40,000 per 100 Miles Range!

Also Note, worst case for Tesla Semi: $50,000 per 100 Miles Range, in the All In Price, for the 300 Mile version!

Whereas for the Thor’s worst case, it is $150,000 per 100 Miles Range, All In, on the 100 Miles Range Version; & for the 300 Mile Range Thor, All In, it equals $83,333.33 per 100 Miles Range! {Still over Double the Tesla Founders Series Cost/Value!}

None of the above count Taxes, Rebates, Credits, etc., but are based on the raw announced prices at present! Quite sure someone’s prices will shift left or right by Delivery time!

Is the Founder’s Edition 300 or 500 mile? I assumed 500, but I can’t find anywhere it actually says that. I’m starting to think it’s the 300 miler, which is what most fleets want anyway. The 150/180k pricing is for later (or never) like the 89k Roadster, the 57k Model S and the 35k Model 3.

I’d like to be proven wrong. Anyone?

I was very disappointed when Musk announced that the $35k M3 would be delayed. However I still believe he is serious about this one, Tesla needs to and wants to break into the mainstream car market and cannot do so just selling high end cars.

“..we want to see battery packs that last 1M miles, not a couple hundred thousand..”

The packs will not die, they lose capacity after many heavy loads and daily super charging.

?? Isn’t loosing capacity the same as dying? If capacity is no longer enough for your desired route then it becomes useless, same as dead. Also reduced capacity means reduced acceleration or ability to maintain speed up hills.

However Tesla is warranting the Semi for 1M miles.

You do as everybody does today – Let the newest trucks take the long hauls and use the old crappy trucks for the shorter stop and go hauls.
PS Loosing 20% capacity does not change voltage / amps = still same acceleration.

A dead pack means it does not work anymore.

Keep in mind that going forward batteries will keep getting cheaper and more capable and so will Renewably generated electricity.

That Thor rig looks like a giant DustBuster.

Or a crow.

Are EV Semi tractors where it actually makes sense to have replacable batteries? “Just” forklift standardized pre-charged battery packs to the front of the trailer and connect them. Loading docks are virtually perfect for swapping huge battery packs. Load up the MWh you need…

Didn’t seem like much of a discussion to me.

Unless they threw the reporter out prior to the meeting.