Tesla Semi First Deliveries Set For 2020, Or Maybe Late 2019

OCT 29 2018 BY MARK KANE 27

Tesla Semi to be launched in late 2019, but more likely expected in 2020.

NFI Industries (a third-party logistics provider) is closely watching manufacturers of electric trucks as the Tesla Semi unveiling sparked a lot of interest from shippers – “Tesla effect”.

NFI Industries vice president of fleet services James O’Leary said:

“Nobody in North America was talking about electric vehicles until your local news outlets picked up the rollout of the Tesla semi. That led basically to what we call the Tesla effect. Now shippers are asking their carriers where you are with electric vehicles.”

To gain experience and validate the trucks, NFI ordered various models. Beside 10 Tesla Semis, scheduled for delivery in 2020 (technically Tesla could deliver the first units in late 2019), Daimler’s Freightliner is to provide 10 eCascadia in the second quarter of 2019 for tests. Another project is with Volvo in California.

The question is whether prices and the time frame for Tesla Semi deliveries are really possible. The other concerns are range, charging and servicing the vehicles.

“They are staying relatively consistent with their timeline, even though Elon doesn’t talk about it on their earnings call,”

“Despite the advances in electric semis, fleets still face unknowns. The cost of truck remains high relative to diesel. Tesla has given an indicative price of $180,000 for its semi, but O’Leary said the actual cost may be higher as has occurred with Tesla’s passenger vehicles.”

Key specs:

  • Acceleration 0-60 mph with 80K lbs load – 20 sec
  • Speed up a 5% Grade – 65 mph
  • Mile Range – 300 or 500 miles
  • Powertrain – 4 Independent Motors on Rear Axles
  • Energy Consumption – Less than 2 kWh / mile
  • Fuel Savings – $200,000+
  • Expected Base Price (300 mile range) – $150,000
  • Expected Base Price (500 mile range) – $180,000
  • Base Reservation – $20,000
  • Expected Founders Series Price – $200,000
  • Founders Series Reservation – $200,000
    * Prices displayed in USD. International pricing will vary.

Source: FreightWaves

Categories: Tesla, Trucks

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27 Comments on "Tesla Semi First Deliveries Set For 2020, Or Maybe Late 2019"

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Can’t wait! Gonna be super interesting to watch the EV semi industry unfold. Game changer, we’ve got the Tesla semi coming up, then the Roadster shortly after at some point. Add the ‘Y’ in the mix and the next 3-4 years should be a fun time. Time to get the popcorn ready!

Do Not Read Between The Lines

The semi space is somewhere there could be some really significant disruption. And since it’s Jerome Guillen’s baby, I trust that Tesla will deliver it without fuss.

Of course, Tesla also has reason to want the semi to succeed for its own use as a delivery vehicle.

Where will they be producing the Tesla Semi?

At a new Gigafactory?

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Existing Gigafactory 1, I believe.

That would be my guess as well.

Gigafactory 1 in Nevada is for for battery cells and battery packs.

But the factory building has been completed for 30% so far.

They still have to further build out the factory building in order to increase the production capacity and output of battery cells and battery packs.

They need the remaining part of that particular ground area to do that.

But they certainly could decide to build another factory building nearby the Gigafactory 1 (in order to produce the Tesla Semi in that factory building).

Tesla spokesmen have talked about many different plans for Gigafactory 1. One plan was to increase the intended size of the finished factory, and if I recall correctly, Tesla did buy up some additional land to allow for that possibility. Tesla has also talked about the possibility of producing more in a given space than the original plans called for.

So don’t be surprised if we see Semi Truck and/or Model Y production at Gigafactory 1, and possibly even some Model 3 production too. All without needing to construct a separate building.

Eventually, Tesla will construct or buy a second auto assembly plant, probably much closer to the East Coast, to increase domestic production as well as reducing delivery times to the Eastern USA.

It’s using the same battery cells and motors as the Model 3, which are already made at Gigafactory 1. I expect they’ll be mostly hand-assembling them there.

Hand-assembling will be for the first prototypes. Once numbers reach >1000 per year (and I have o doubt that Tesla intends to go beyond that number quickly), some sort of manufacturing line will be required.

Agreed, transport batteries and motors to freemont for models 3, then transport semi parts back to gigafactory 1 for assembly.

Much better than having an empty truck drive back.

I would think batteries are shipped on dedicated racks, meaning the racks need to go back empty.

That’s really common auto mfg scenario.

Yeah, Gigafactory 1 seems to be the only realistic possibility if they are gonna get it into production no later than 2020. There’s no room at the Fremont plant, and since Gigafactory 1 is still being built out in sections, they can add space for a large vehicle assembly line when necessary.

On the other hand, I suppose it’s possible Tesla could take over an abandoned factory for large trucks. But nobody at Tesla has ever mentioned the possibility, and we know that Tesla plans to make not only battery packs but entire vehicles at its other Gigafactories. So Gigafactory 1 seems the most likely location.

It would be nice to see one actually haul some freight.

You should hop to it, and get with the times, they’ve been doing that for months.

Had a good chuckle with the pics of Nikola 1 in the middle of the video. Don’t the people who made the video know the difference?

It appears this article is largely pulled from a more comprehensive electric truck article on Freightwaves. It appears NFI will be testing all three electric trucks in drayage (short haul) applications and may be used a lot around the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which already have contracts to 10 some Class 8 Kenworth/Toyota fuel-cell-powered trucks running in pilot tests. (10 seems to be the magic number for these tests).


So we could see several BEV-based Class 8’s and an FCV Class-8 duking it out at the Ports in a year or so.

It’ll be interesting to see which ones expand beyond the 10 vehicle trial.

“…Beyond the capital cost of the truck, fleet owners face the cost of installing charging stations for the vehicles. Moreover, the price of electricity needs to come down to make electric trucks viable, O’Leary said. The state grants as part of the Volvo project help offset these costs….”

Charging station cost? Electricity cost? What happened to the Musk guaranty of $.07/kwh? One of those ‘little things’ that go by the way side? Too bad. Also, since a few of these trucks are around, how come there are still basically no specifications other than a ‘spec goals’ sheet?

O’Leary’s statement applies to Daimler and Volvo trucks as well as Tesla. It doesn’t make sense to me to claim that electrical cost is greater than diesel fuel. At commercial rates it should be half or lower. More from the article: Range remains a key hurdle for wider adoption of electric trucks. Venkat Viswanathan, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon, says electric trucks should be able to get roughly a 160 mile range by 2020. But extended range electric trucks will not be available until the middle of the next decade. “It’s likely that by 2025, we will be able to make a 750-mile range battery,” Viswanathan said. … I guess Viswanathan doesn’t know about the Tesla Semi… Electric trucks are likely to also require multiple charges during the day given the current technology, said Mike Roeth, the executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency. That creates more wait time for drivers and cuts into a truck’s earnings capacity. “There’s a while before we get to parity with diesel trucks,” Roeth said. “In some cases, eight, ten or 15 years.” … I imagine charging stations will be set up at loading docks so charge can be done… Read more »

I dislike the fact that all my line spaces get removed so my paragraph formatting gets lost as the comment is all packed together. My comments in the above quotes are delineated by …

Write shorter comments, or break a long comment up into two (or if necessary, more) comments.

It irks me, too, that a comment is “collapsed” rather than just cut off at the end, when it runs longer than the comment software likes. We don’t see that in comment threads at other websites. 🙁

“Electric trucks are likely to also require multiple charges during the day given the current technology, said Mike Roeth, the executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency. That creates more wait time for drivers and cuts into a truck’s earnings capacity.”

Most of the day, trucks stay waiting for their charge to be unloaded.

Time to charge the batteries then? 😉

Trucks often idle while waiting for access to a loading dock, or wait at a loading dock until the dock crew can unload their truck. But in both cases they’re waiting on the customer’s property, not on their own. In my opinion, trucking companies are extremely unlikely to pay for installing charging infrastructure on somebody else’s property!

Truck drivers are limited to a maximum of 14 hours a day driving. That leaves several hours overnight when the truck could be charging, if the driver stops for the night at a truck depot owned by the trucking company. That would be the logical and practical place to put EV truck chargers.

“…since a few of these trucks are around, how come there are still basically no specifications other than a ‘spec goals’ sheet?”

Elon has stated that Tesla will redesign the Semi Truck prototype to take into account input from potential customers. I would guess Tesla doesn’t want to put out a spec sheet until that redesign is done.

But that’s just my guess.

Well I don’t see why Tesla should start doing ‘feel good’ releases when years ago they were much more specific. Just because VW spouts verbose comments lacking content does not mandate that Tesla follow suit.

VW’s goofy management of the last decade seems to have provided these fantastic results:

1). “Clean Diesel” that fraudulent disclosures have cost the company over $1B.

2). “Simple” construction and straight forward cars have been turned on their head such that the cars for years have been deemed unreliable and it will take years for them to regain their former reputation.

3). VW makes more ‘electric’ concept vehicles than anyone else in the world, yet somehow can never get up enough nerve to actually try making anything – years ago I could buy either used or new E-golfs whereas now I cannot buy either in my area.

This has to be inaccurate:

Energy Consumption – Less than 2 kWh / mile

I mean, it better be a LOT less. Or is Elon really putting 600-1000kWh worth of batteries in these things?

The general assumption is, yes, with current Tesla tech, it’s very likely to have a minimum of a 400kWh pack or very likely larger.

Besides, 4 Model 3 motors are going to be very current hungry getting 80k lbs up to highway speed on an entrance ramp, going uphill, or even just from a stop at a traffic light. And then, for deceleration, those 4 motors are going to be dumping a crapalanche of current back into the pack.