Tesla Semi Orders Continue To Climb Despite Press Skepticism

Red Tesla Semi exterior front

JAN 19 2018 BY EVANNEX 36

Tesla Semi

An early sketch of the Tesla Semi from Tesla’s designer Franz von Holzhausen (Image: Teslarati via Franz von Holzhausen)

STILL FEELING SKEPTICAL ABOUT THE TESLA SEMI?

Given the seemingly unbelievable performance specs and prices Elon Musk has promised for the upcoming Tesla Semi, it’s understandable that many in the press have been laying down a thick layer of skepticism. When it comes to customers, however, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Advance orders are piling up, including one from the 800-pound brown gorilla of the shipping industry – UPS has announced that it will buy 125 units, the largest order so far.

UPS said it provided Tesla with data about its truck routes in order to evaluate how the vehicle will perform in its fleet. “As with any introductory technology for our fleet, we want to make sure it’s in a position to succeed,” UPS exec Scott Phillippi told Reuters, adding that most of the initial 125 trucks would be deployed in the US and that Tesla will provide consultation and support on charging infrastructure. “We have high expectations and are very optimistic that this will be a good product and it will have firm support from Tesla to make it work.”

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris.

Tesla Semi

Elon Musk showcases an apt description for the performance promised with Tesla’s new Semi truck

Other shippers that have placed orders include Walmart, J.B. Hunt, Sysco, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch, and DHL. Just after Christmas, Tesla announced that it will now accept orders from Europe, and Asko Norway, the Scandinavian country’s largest grocery wholesaler, immediately reserved 10 units. Confirmed orders already number at least 350 (and possibly many more – an Illinois construction firm revealed that its reservation number is 1230, fueling speculation that the number of pre-orders has climbed into the four figures).

CEO Elon Musk has said the Semi will be delivered in 2019. Considering past history, that just might prove to be overoptimistic, but customers don’t seem to be as worked up about possible delays as the press is. “Something like this that’s new and is as complex as the Semi, I don’t know if we can count on specific dates. We understand the challenges [Tesla is] facing,” said DHL exec Jim Monkmeyer. “This is the future and we want to be in on the ground floor.”

Above: Tesla Semi Trucks may soon be delivering beer (Youtube: United News International)

The Tesla Semi isn’t for everyone. “We met with Tesla and at this time we do not see a fit with their product and our fleet,” said Dave Bates, Senior VP of Old Dominion Freight Line, the fourth-largest carrier in the US.

Meanwhile, a Tesla partner has confirmed some of the performance specs that Elon Musk announced at the unveiling (via Electrek). “The Tesla Semi has already received important validation from some customers,” wrote Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas in a recent note to clients. “We spoke with management at XPO Logistics, one of the largest logistics companies in the country, that has been talking to Tesla on their EV semi for the past 18 months, including testing live prototypes. XPO management confirmed that in their testing, the features and capabilities of the truck mostly lived up to Tesla’s claims at the launch event, including the performance vs. diesel trucks up a 5% grade (55 mph vs 45 mph), recharging time, safety/anti jackknifing features and payload (similar to a typical diesel truck, as confirmed by Tesla).”

Tesla Semi

A look inside the Tesla Semi interior

However, Jonas noted that XPO wasn’t able to confirm the most critical figure of all: the Semi’s 500-mile range.

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 This article originally appeared in Charged written by Charles Morris; Sources: ReutersElectrekGreen Car Reports

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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36 Comments on "Tesla Semi Orders Continue To Climb Despite Press Skepticism"

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Any Beer Delivery is always much appreciated. We should however, test the Tesla delivered Beer thoroughly, for for any potential abnormalities caused by the Tesla Semi carrying the frothy freight quickly from a standstill, and at normal automotive speeds up steep highway grades.

Fresher Beer is always a bit better, but the extra froth, from faster driving up steep hills, may take some extra drinking time to get adjusted to.

William, your dedication to science is admirable 😉

Now if we could just get Proterra to deliver the Beer Nuts for the taste test, then the Universe might just come into the ideal alignment, for a weekend long science experiment of epic proportions/portions.

Or, God forbid, a Nikola One Semi delivering the Beer NutZ!
It’s for research after all!

Beer is lame.

Of-course, wine is the proper liquid to deliver.

The lamest of all would be a Tesla Tanker.

It’s a sea change. If the truck can do everything Tesla claims you would be a fool not to at least test it out.
If it can eliminate jack-knifing completely and reduce accidents substantially, that itself would make it worth it, but if can do everything else, then it’s a no-brainer.

Agree – companies would be foolish not to test out a demo vehicle. Economics will eventually force all trucking companies to eventually go electric.

“However, Jonas noted that XPO wasn’t able to confirm the most critical figure of all: the Semi’s 500-mile range.”

About the only statement not made in previous articles. I suspect that battery production for the Semi is still in trial stage and existing trucks may be running with current batteries not as capable as the planned ones for 2019.

I agree, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a model 3 battery pack under the semi now. I think by 2019 Musk is hoping they will be able to mass produce solid state cells.

In order to develop the vehicle, the range is a secondary problem. All the tests of the other features could easily be done with a smaller sized battery and some dead weight in the space required for the extra cells. Power output is much more important. If you nail that in the prototype, range can be calculated for every driving condition based on the additional capacity available when replacing the dead weight with real cells.
Thus most prototypes get cheaper by the cost of the less needed batteries (and labor to semi-manually assemble the first semi-packs).
Another explanation could be that the test was not involving one day of driving around the countryside and focussed on the important things, considering that Tesla has to my knowledge never underdelivered in announced range.

I completely agree that a range of 500 miles isn’t all that important. Even if the Tesla Semi Truck is limited to ranges of 300 miles or less, that’s still a large part of freight trucking routes; the majority, if I understand from what I’ve read recently on the subject, are 300 miles or less.

“…Tesla has to my knowledge never underdelivered in announced range.”

How quickly we forget! Tesla touted the original Model S85 as a “300 mile” EV, and continued to do so for a year or two even after the EPA gave it a 265 mile range rating. Of course, Tesla isn’t the only EV maker to over-promise on range; it used to be quite the norm.

“All the tests of the other features could easily be done with a smaller sized battery and some dead weight in the space required for the extra cells. Power output is much more important. ”
True, but batteries are closely tailored to desired momentary & continuous output, not just total kWh capacity, as are their cooling systems. PHEV batteries have different emphases and chemistries as a result. Power output is to a significant extent dependent on the overall battery capacity… If, as someone above said, you just stick a Model 3 LR pack in there (at 75kWh, about a tenth of the estimated capacity of the semi), it likely won’t be able to output the max power the semi for a significant length of time — and likely not with the Model 3’s stock cooling setup.

AFAIK, Tesla always delivers on claimed specs. It seems that not only is battery production in the planning stage, but the actual batteries this vehicle and the roadster may use are not in production. Crunch the numbers and you tell me how this semi and the roadster are going to get the claimed range with current batteries that are in production. Likely some new highly energy dense chemistry is in the works.

That’s the speculation. I can’t say it’s wrong.

There is no problem putting 200 kWh in a Roadster or ~800 kWh in a truck.

The only hard part there is how to make the Roadster have that and still perform on a track.

“Likely some new highly energy dense chemistry is in the works.” There are a lot of people speculating that, but the facts and recent statements from Tesla spokesmen appear to indicate otherwise. While it’s not impossible, I think it’s far more likely that Tesla is merely projecting significantly lower battery prices in two years for the Semi Truck, and is planning on stuffing a lot more batteries into the Roadster Mk II than will fit underneath the floor. There is probably plenty of room behind the rear seat and underneath the hood for more batteries; no breakthru battery tech required. A relevant quote or two: JB Straubel, Tesla’s chief technical officer, responded that the company is cautiously optimistic about [solid state battery] technology and said it has tested a number of single-cell solid-state prototypes. “But we don’t see anything that changes our strategy,” he said. “Solid-state batteries for automotive technology are still in the research stage with no timeline for commercialization,” said Menahem Anderman, the president of Total Battery Consulting and a longtime expert on the EV-battery market. Anderman underscored that solid-state batteries aren’t likely to cycle as well as the lithium-ion chemistries currently used and that they can be… Read more »

At this stage in Tesla company development, and knowing the competitors are now (possibly) ramping up their EV intentions/offerings, I think Tesla would be keeping any battery developments close to their chest. With Panasonic they would most certainly be developing new battery technologies/formulas, it is just a matter of how far along any next level battery is.
I predict they do have something in development that will enable the claims of bigger batteries at scale. It would be very odd for the Tesla Board to allow these reveal events if they weren’t reasonably confident that it can be turned into reality, that’s just suicide given where Tesla is at in their business growth.
When VW, Merc and all the rest come out in 2019-2021 with their 200mi+ EV it won’t surprise me if Tesla comes out with 600mi+across their range. Historically, even though they were much more expensive, they have been just that next step ahead of everyone else.

I’m glad Tesla is pursuing this and it’s good to see major companies at least getting in line.

However this is rather ridiculous IMO: “CEO Elon Musk has said the Semi will be delivered in 2019”

So using history as a guide, a handful of beta units will be “delivered” to companies under NDA on Dec 31, 2019.

“STILL FEELING SKEPTICAL ABOUT THE TESLA SEMI?” I’m definitely still skeptical about Tesla’s claims for its Tesla Semi Truck. But what I’d call my proper healthy skepticism, in the scientific sense, is based on facts and on basic principles of engineering and science, not emotions; so it’s not that I’m “feeling” skeptical, it’s that I’m thinking skeptical thoughts on the matter. I certainly hope (and that is an emotional response) that Tesla can deliver on its announced goals, but it hasn’t been that long since the rule of thumb for EVs was that they would cost more and have shorter range than originally touted. Of late, with the Chevy Bolt EV and the Tesla Model 3, we’ve seen cars delivered that actually outperform what was advertised. But unlike other EV fans, I don’t just assume that the long-term trend of over-promising has ended. I don’t forget that the Leaf was originally advertised as a “100 mile EV”, nor the original Model S85 a “300 mile EV”, nor Chevy’s original ridiculously over-the-top claim of “230 MPG” for the Volt. It’s not surprising that trucking fleet buyers are buying several Tesla Semi Trucks to use for a small testing fleet. Given the… Read more »

In-fact Tesla can flop at the range and still come out as a winner.

I know where the local main warehouse is Sobey’s supermarkets and it is less than 30 kilometers to all the local stores here in Durham region.

I know where the Walmart warehouse is in Toronto and it is less than 75 kilometers from all the local Walmarts.

And I am sure the same will follow for most of the big chain stores around here. Most companies have the final leg of distributions being less then 100 kilometer from their main warehouse well in the range of even a Tesla Semi with a low mileage range.

Meanwhile, in Nikola One land:

“We couldn’t handle the email increase and all the support questions, so we put a pause on everything,” he said. “But we have verbal commitments for more than 25,000 trucks from customers who are waiting to actually place orders.”

@ 3/4/5/6/7 Pretend Electrics:

Thanks for reminding us that there are EV startups out there, like Faraday Future and Nikola, whose claims are stupendously less believable than Tesla’s! 😀

Go Tesla!

Verbal commitments aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

I’d say so.

“who are waiting to actually place orders.”
So these guys are not even it the order stage yet?! I thought they were ahead of Tesla with the schedule. Hopefully they will make it to market.

Where are they planning to make them at?

The braking distance of the Tesla Semi hasn’t been published. (no load, and 80,000lbs load).

I consider the specs to not really be published until we see the braking distance.

Being able to go fast is one thing.

Being able to stop is arguably just as important, or more important.

Well they do have the advantage of up to four motors in regen, to slow you down. They will probably not be using their brakes all that much, nor will you see them rolling, out of control, into a runaway truck ramp.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNaor67IZgM

Regen will not help you when an accident occurs in front of you and need to stop fast…but it will be nice to have on downhill driving for sure.

I dunno, I’d like to see data on the torque of diesel semi tractor air brakes vs. the Tesla Semi Truck at full reverse power on its motors.

It wouldn’t at all surprise me if the Tesla Semi Truck’s cumulative maximum motor braking torque is greater. Admittedly that would likely be more torque than normal regen is designed to produce.

Still has to be somewhat balanced with the air brakes on the trailer.

I would think they would use latest state of art air disc brakes. You still need air for the box you are hauling.

But regen would replace the Jake going downhills for sure!

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4138772-tesla-semi-details

This article explains why the range isn’t an issue even with the current batteries. Its an excellent article, Rod is one of best people that writes on Tesla by far.

Although he doesn’t go into it what he shows to me suggest the possibility of a Tesla semi with 1500 mile range and the same payload- can’t say that wouldn’t make the charging run to 90 min at mega charger output, but the potential is there. You can see it in a roadster that
gets 620 miles in range, Rod also explains that. He shows as one poster above alluded to that the range is actually a function of getting at the needed power output at least to a substantial degree. Its one of the best articles everywhere and it shows how much the shill sponsored media just says what its paid to write by competitors. Its funny Google thinks there going to be a market for subscriptions, but in general it takes a fool to pay a subscription that a publication that also takes sponsorship- its no different than paying for ads.

Thanks for the link, 101101. That is indeed one of the better-informed blog posts on Tesla’s Semi Truck (and the battery pack for the Roadster Mk II) that I’ve seen, and the writer does an excellent job of debunking the embarrassingly ill-informed “Bloomberg article on Semi reveal event”. He also correctly states that the reason the Roadster Mk II will have a giant battery pack isn’t because it needs 620 miles of range, but rather “The Roadster 2 needs that large battery so that it can accelerate faster than supercars and take that record position from ICE vehicles.” Well, not just repeatedly accelerate, but also run at a sustained high speed, all without overheating the battery pack. I do, however, find it strange that he keeps talking about solid-state batteries after first stating — correctly — that all of Tesla’s claims for the Semi Truck and the Roadster Mk II can be explained using current battery tech (but assuming some drop in costs by 2019). I also “ding” him for saying: “As for fitting the pack into the Roadster 2, Tesla probably stacked two 100kWh battery packs on top of one another. This would increase the height to the floor… Read more »