UK Truckers Knock Tesla Semi, Performance Isn’t Important

Tesla Semi


Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi

The United Kingdom’s Road Haulage Association (RHA) is not impressed with the Tesla Semi.

Ok, that might not be a completely fair statement, since, if Tesla can truly pull it off, we’re sure anyone will be impressed on some level. However, for what it’s worth, the RHA isn’t convinced of Tesla’s “claimed” figures nor does the association even believe that the semi’s performance figures are necessarily applicable to the segment. The association’s policy advisor, Rod McKenzie, told Autocar:

Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi cabin

“Hauliers don’t care about these claimed figures. They’re not relevant to us. We’re not looking for performance, not least because lorries’ speed is limited to 56mph.”

McKenzie also believes that convincing truck drivers to actually pilot these electric semis may prove difficult. He said:

“I’ve spoken to a few of them and most have laughed. Tesla has a lot to prove. Hauliers are not risk-taking people and will need to be convinced.”

However, in the end, McKenzie does believe that electric semis are the way of the future.  He just doesn’t see it as something that can happen so soon. McKenzie shared:

“My gut feeling is that they are 20 years away.”

As an industry expert, he points to cost, range, and cargo capacity as key factors, which will determine the eventual adoption of electric trucking. McKenzie elaborated:

“I’m worried about the price point. The Tesla Semi is likely to cost more than £200,000 (~$266,000), which is beyond the budget of hauliers in the UK. A lorry here costs £85,000 ($113,000).  And with the industry making margins of 2-3%, we can’t afford that extra cost.

The Tesla Semi has a reported range of 500 miles. That’s quite a lot less than a diesel lorry. It means charging. First of all, where are the charging points? There aren’t many around. And lorries can be filled up with diesel very quickly. Musk said there would be quick-charging in 30 minutes but I think we need to see charging times in real terms. Any loss of time greatly reduces our operational efficiency.”

Source: Autocar

Categories: Tesla, Trucks

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134 Comments on "UK Truckers Knock Tesla Semi, Performance Isn’t Important"

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I asked Pushi for his analysis here, and I’ve been assured that this person is a short selling Tesla FUDster.

Joking aside, it seems a bit short sighted to discount performance. Sure, they don’t need to win any drag races, but it can translate to real time savings on large grades and things like that. Maybe they don’t have as much of those across the pond.

In any case, I do think Tesla is onto something big here, and will truly help drive the transition over to electric in the commercial trucking sector.

And traffic??? somethings even performance cant overcome and in Germany their gradients are so low this is a non starter there too unless in the far south. Noise is also something that they don’t talk about which is a SERIOUS omission.

Agreed, they’re missing the forest for the trees. Performance on grades also means that road authorities don’t have to build truck climbing lanes anymore if the trucks can keep up with the normal traffic flow on the hill.

My analysis? Well, it’s obvious that this person is a short selling Tesla FUDster. 😉

For may real reaction, see my post below.


The guy from rha is a joke. (Either at retirement, seriously misinformed, or plain FUDster. Let’s face it -the RHA is dying. Tesla will make sure the nails to the coffin are tight.

He is scared because he will have no job.


Do you think that loss of middle class jobs is a good thing and if so, why do you think that is a good thing?

No, it just explains the motivation behind his opinions.

Dav, the concept “job” is dying. It has been ever since we started using tools and animals to do work for us, but has taken a massive accelleration in the second half of the 20th century. The whole concept of “creating jobs” is patently absurd! Especialy in the transport sector. Jobs will die,… naturaly. The sooner we adapt to that and accept it, the better we will be able to live in this new reality. We need to move away from doing things that automation can do better than us, and put our skills as humans to better use.

I am not sure the motoring public is ready for an 80,000 pound vehicle careening down the highways with no driver.

Maybe but more likely is that he (like most people) lacks the imagination to see how Tesla’s truck – like its other EVs and energy storage systems – is going to turn the traditional industry on its head… *including* the fact that most of his members won’t have a job 10-20 years from now.

First, if trucks are speed limited then the range will be even greater.
Second, his projected price is just speculative at this point.
Third, with the cost of diesel in the UK plus probable future restrictions regarding diesels in urban areas, he might want to rethink his position.

Totally agree.
Work the numbers and consider what Tesla has made so far regarding SuperCharging and BEVs worldwide.

Not to mention maintenance costs. Although if the cost of tires might go up if they are using those 0-60 times a lot.

His speculated price is also wrong. We know that the Tesla Semi is $150k USD or $200k USD (model depending). I don’t know why he’s so much cold water, but a few things come to mind:

Traffic in the UK is significant.
He keeps saying lorry, and I wonder if that is a smaller vehicle.
He lives on an island which isn’t much more than 500 miles long, so the long range would be rather useless to him.
He probably hates the fact that there’s a fee to drive into London with a diesel.
He probably hates the environment or wouldn’t be deliberately negative. Did he say something nasty about the Daimler semi?
Jerome Guillen has nothing to prove about delivering successful semi truck programs.
He probably *just* bought a new diesel truck and is expressing buyer’s remorse by being Mr. Nasty Pants.

He is short selling fudster who can’t speak proper Engrish (who says “lorry”???), don’t understand that money doesn’t matter for true revolutionaries, and is hired by evil Big Oil conspiracy and Koch brothers to undermine the Great Disruption under the leadership of our Our Great Leader, Elon Musk himself!

Pu-pu will come and confirm it in no time if you don’t believe!

Yes zzzzzzzz, that’s in the back of my mind all along – that having PUSHI around will turn this website into comedy hour.

If there is one thing those stuffed shirt stupes can’t stand, it is being parodied.

As far as the UK trucking assn goes, it will be up to people like them, world wide.

Doesn’t matter what I think – The truck will ultimately either sell, or it won’t.. Simple as that.

Au contraire, mon ami. Money does matter, and the TCO of the Tesla Semi will prove value over diesel as the numeric models worked out by Jerome Guillen will be demonstrated by the early adopters after their first year. Electric is a mere fraction per mile versus diesel. Honestly, one of the unsung heroes of this electric semi advancement is brake jobs reduced due to regenerative braking. If you go to the website of the Flying J service centers, you can see the cost of brake jobs. If that cost drops to 1/5th or 1/10th, and the motor and battery are good for 1 Million miles, this is a really cheap Semi to own and operate. I imagine their glass deductible is a lot lower, too, and maybe, just maybe, the anti-jackknifing and driver confidence technology will cut them a break on their insurance.

I always thought a lorry was like a delivery van, not an 18-wheeler.

Lorry is just a word for so called 18wheeler, as we don’t call our cars 4 wheelers? Word truck mean way more than description of one type of vehicle. Truck can be American pick-up (yes, those are classed as trucks, and you need to have B+C license to drive it (regular Jo having B only)), 7.5T truck, 3.5T truck, even Luton van sometimes can be classed as truck; Lorry still can be 44T vehicle, and that won’t be called by the amount of wheels it has; Why would he even consider Daimler semi (no one is calling it semi in UK, as that basically means ‘half’)? There is no fee to drive London with any kind of transport. You need to pay congestion charge if you drive in the very small part of London – which is central London, and you need to pay for driving there even if you drive EV (£10 per year), the other vehicles paying £12.50 per day (7am-6pm; free on weekends) + £10 if vehicle is made before 2007; Don’t know where did you get 500 mile figure from, but when I went from central UK to Orkney, it was 562 miles to one side,… Read more »

darth said:

“…with the cost of diesel in the UK plus probable future restrictions regarding diesels in urban areas, he might want to rethink his position.”

That’s an excellent point. With the cost of fuel in Europe about double what it is here in the USA, where it’s heavily albeit indirectly subsidized by our taxes, trucking fleets should find it far easier to benefit from cost savings using the Tesla Semi Truck. They can dispense with the side mirrors in favor of cameras there, too… which isn’t allowed on public roads in the USA.

But he’s not gonna rethink his position. If autonomous trucking takes over, as Tesla is advocating, he’s out of a job.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” — Upton Sinclair

It is disappointing how short-sighted some people are.

“where are the charging points?”

Well, these trucks must be loading / unloading cargo somewhere, so just build the charging points yourself. How difficult can that be.

I hope loud and noisy trucks will be banned from my living area rather sooner than later.

How difficult can it be? Ahahah, you’re joking right?

There is electricity already in every building. Just take some wires outside to the parking lot and install chargers. You don’t need a rocket scientist to do that.

Compare that to building you own gas station which costs millions.

When you build a gas station, it’s easy to have a tanker stop by and unload liquid fuel.

In contrast, the kind of electrical infrastructure required to operate a Megacharger – estimated by Teslarati as ~1.6MW is much more daunting. That’s more than any nuclear reactor currently operating in the United States!

Spider-Dan I hear your point but I think you’re off by 3 orders of magnitude.

A two-unit Nuclear power station may be 1.6 GW or 1600 MW, or 1,600,000 kw, or 1,600,000,000 watts.

One of those megachargers will be like a large shopping mall.

Now if you said 1,000 Tesla’s simultaneously charging (that would be a big truck stop), then you would be correct.

You’re right… I was jumping between kW and MW and messed up. It did seem like that was an awfully small amount of power from a nuclear reactor!

“Electricity Everywhere”.

I wonder how many coins and grapefruit halves it takes to charge a few platoons of these things?

The main problem is not the existence of electricity, but rather how much power the grid can supply to that building.

To charge such a Semi in one hour, it needs more than 1 MW of power. The average supermarket uses about 6-7 MWh a day, so even if it would use that energy in only 12h, we can assume that the average power consumption is not a lot higher, than 500 kW.

So if you don’t want to charge the semi with 100 kW and let it say there for 10h, or make the supermarket shut down completely for two hours, while the Semi is charging, you’d need to convince the supermarket to upgrade their grid connection, so that the trucking company can save some bucks.

How about put a 200kW solar array on top of the grocery store, hook it up to 5 Tesla Powerpack 2’s, thats 1050kWh which is enough to fully charge a semi once per day. That is with no grid connection whatsoever. For good measure, add another Powerpack, which brings us to 1260kWh, then any excess from sunny days can be used on cloudy days.

P.S. For now, this method would also work to add single-stall Megachargers to truck stops as well, of course if Tesla wants to convert a sizable portion of the US trucking industry to electric, truck stops would still need grid connections AND solar AND multi-megawatt-hour batteries.

Well now that would be rather fun….

At a drive electric event last year, one guy came up with a very old (I forget the name), neighborhood electric vehicle (one of those 25 mph tops things).

I asked how do you charge it, and he said he has several solar panels on the roof of the car when its parked.

So I asked how else do you charge it? He said you HAVE to leave it in the sunshine since he has no other battery charger for it.

So how long? He says after leaving it in the summer sun for a week he can drive it a few miles.

“How difficult can it be? Ahahah, you’re joking right?”

If you mean, the trucking companies don’t have the expertise to build Megachargers for Tesla Semi Trucks, then you’re right. My guess is that most of them will pay Tesla to install those for them.

If you mean, it’s going to be difficult to install Megachargers at the ends of a trucking fleet’s routes, or difficult to install them wherever their trucks spend the night… then no, of course not.

It’s going to be a matter of trucking fleets deciding which of their routes will benefit from using a Tesla Semi Truck, and installing Megachargers to serve those routes. Where it doesn’t make sense to install Megachargers, for one reason or another, then they will continue to use diesel semi trucks.

Don’t like trucks…buy nothing

Yes, any real trucker doesn’t give a flip about 0-60 times sans payload. Except maybe the 31 guy that drag races their cab in their spare time or something.

Reliability is the main thing truckers care about. A truck can have all the bells and whistles in the world, but if it ain’t hauling payloads, it’s worthless to an owner.

*1 guy

That’s why Tesla is better. They are giving a 1 million mile warranty on powertrain and brakes are even supposed to last 1 million miles. No oil and fluid changes. No complex transmission. Stronger windshield.

This is the whole point this guy is missing. EVs have both lower maintenance and operation costs. The power is a byproduct of the large accumulative power output of having so many cells in the pack.

The standard electric motors that the semi shares with the M3 don’t cost much so the great performance is basically for free. A lorry driver doesn’t have to use that power so no loss there.

“I’m worried about the price point. The Tesla Semi is likely to cost more than £200,000 (~$266,000), ”

This guy is clearly trying hard to object to the Tesla semi. Don’t know if there is a tariff on semis from the US but it was clearly stated that the loaded long range version of the Tesla semi will cost $200,000 which converted to pounds is 148,606.

Right, and 148,606 pounds converts to 67406.5477 kg…

/jk 😛

The $180,000 price for the long range truck is an “expected” price i.e. complete BS. There is no chance in hell they will be able to make this truck for $180k.

Is *that* the hill you are going to make your stand on?? Really?
Tesla is late for every production deadline, but has yet to miss on specifications or pricing.
Better eethink that SOT.

Roadster announced at $89k, actual $109k

Model S announced at $49,900. Tesla sold a token few S40s to customers they couldn’t strong-arm into upgrading, then cancelled the S40 due to “lack of demand”.

If they really believed $150/180k for Semi Musk would have announced it on stage. They wouldn’t have slipped it on to their web site a few days later as “expected pricing”, a term they’ve never used.

And so, instead of giving Tesla credit for honesty and transparency in qualifying their projected price by labeling it “expected”, clearly signalling “subject to change”, you’re castigating them for it?

I think your anti-Tesla bias is showing, Doggy. I think it’s showing a lot.

And your comment in general is waaaaaay off-base. The market for the Tesla Roadster was, and is, almost completely insensitive to price. Cancelling the Model S40 due to lack of demand was a practical business decision, not the “bait-and-switch” that serial Tesla haters keep trying to twist it into being.

Contrariwise, trucking fleet buyers are hard-headed bean-counters who most certainly are going to pay close attention to actual prices and costs. If Tesla did try to pull a bait-and-switch on pricing for their truck, then that would only drive buyers away. If you think Tesla doesn’t know that, then you’re pretty clueless.

But the original stated price for the larger battery Ses were correct. The only argument you could make for the semi that is equivalent is that the cheaper 300 mile range semi might get cancelled due to lack of sales like the S40 but the prices will be close to accurate.

“Someone out there” said:

“The $180,000 price for the long range truck is an ‘expected’ price i.e. complete BS.”

Tesla’s projected price is almost certainly not going to be the final price, but one thing is certain: Tesla’s own estimate is almost certain to be much nearer the actual price than any pretended “guess” from a serial Tesla FUDster!

Yes, everything you disagree with is FUD even if comes from Tesla itself. We know that.

Maybe some EVs somewhere have lower maintenance costs. Teslas certainly do not; the manufacturer-recommended Tesla service plan costs at least as much as the service plan from an ICE automaker.

At the same time, my 48k mile, 3 yo S has spent $24 on maintenance ignoring the tires.

1 set of wiper blades, 1 set of key batteries but I just ordered my second set. About $1 each for the batteries and the blades are about $10.

We all know that Tesla charges high for maintenance partly because they can and partly because with small volumes, the SC need to charge a lot to keep the lights on. I suspect the 3 will be less.

My Leaf has cost about the same over 5 years and 50k miles. I need new wipers so it will be higher. The wipers are smaller so a bit cheaper.

Maintenance time for both cars totally 100k miles. 2 trips to dealer for battery checks (free) and 1 failed charger. Tesla has been at dealer once.

I would say that is in the 99th percentile of time and money expended (excepting the included maintenance of some cars).

I think the UK truckers are talking about new fangled, fancy EV trucks not being viable in general.

I don’t think it’s specifically about Tesla and their track record on maintenance since I doubt these guys even know anything about Tesla. They didn’t even get the purchase prices correct that were quoted by Tesla.

No doubt.. the task advantage I see is the fact that the vehicle charges swiftly and the pull grades is a definite. But do you think diesel industry moguls want any of us in an electric? Not likely

And the other side of the coin, how much of a range penalty is taken doing 0-60 romps fully loaded? That starts to chip away at supposed savings and I could imagine the fleet operators wanting to ensure driving aren’t doing WOT runs…

Pretty sure we had the loaded 0-60 times posted also, and they were amazing.

Considering the number of accidents from merging traffic I think the rate a truck can speed up or slow is important.

So they knock range and they are from where? The UK is not that big.

Fuel is a lot more expensive in the UK, which is a direct impact on their skinny margins.

Personal truckers might have a hard time with the up front cost but companies won’t. That might mean the end for the personal guys if the cost of shipping drops, say, 2-3%. Maybe that’s why they’re so negative.

The real issue for old world countries will be the lack of a cab-over model as they must contend with smaller spaces to maneuver.

All good points but I think it ultimately comes down to reliability. If these things break down any more than normal diesels, they lose far more money than the operational costs they would be saving.

That needs to be Tesla’s main goal here, to make these things as reliable as possible. These guys don’t want to be on the side of the road because of a software glitch or a battery cell misbehaving.

The redundant motors should certainly help with one aspect of potential break down.

I have two model S cars with a total of 300.000 km driven.
No problems at all.

Can’t say the same about any of my privies cars from a lot of different brands.

According to Consumer reports, looking across all owners, you seem to be in the minority.

But either way, Tesla should be continuing to refine their ability to make very reliable products. Hopefully they’re ready for “prime time” in that regard with the semi offering.

The majority of the issues are minor, and for things like creaks and rattles, or MS door handles, Model X FWDs…

These are not things that will affect the Semi, and that needs to be taken into account when you’re discussing reliability.

“According to Consumer reports, looking across all owners, you seem to be in the minority.”

Or maybe not. Consumer Reports is at best sending mixed signals.

According to the CR chart linked below, he would seem to be in the vast majority. For the various categories reported on in CR’s own customer survey, the Model S was rated as Excellent, Very Good, or Good in reliability for all categories but one, and with twice as many “Excellent” ratings as all other ratings combined!

380,000 miles on one Nissan 1.8 petrol and 320,000 on a 2.0 petrol too, Toyota carina 330,000 miles 1.8 petrol too All on original engines and gearboxes (used synthetic oil but still huge mileages) oh and no electrical issues too or door handles issues or rattles which most tesla 60k or 100k cars have. There infrastructure isn’t a patch on others yet either. Fact.

Uhh, all of those cars have creaks and rattles, mate. At least be reasonable in your argument.

Every car I’ve ever owned has had them, and all had considerably less miles than the ones you posted. I’ve owned BMWs, VWs, Nissans, Hondas…and your Nissans aren’t special.

Only the numbers matter.

This is not a Model S/X that appeals to a person’s taste and sense of exclusivity. This is a business solution, and businesses care about profit above all else.

If the numbers of the Tesla Semi make for lower TCO, it doesn’t matter a bit what anyone’s opinion is on them.

The reservations for small test fleets is a done deal by the operators that matter. If the numbers are there, it’s the end of diesel rigs.

I’ve notice,during the last hurricane recovery. Tesla,increased battery life via their computer systems

Range not life.

Since when can an “industry expert” ignore fuel costs?

And add almost $100k to the sales price.

Typically short sighted. Most people are rigid in their ways and like to continue doing what they are used to. It takes a gifted person to see the huge potential in trying something new, to overcome the inertia.

There’s a hidden savings on reducing/eliminating runaway braking and jackknifing, and I’d love to know what the dollar figure is. I suppose the major fleet managers have stats on what downtime for repair/refurbishment after a runaway/jackknife, or loss of trucks if they’re totaled, costs the fleet overall.

Also, the whole pump time vs. charge time debate is mitigated by the fact that the Tesla Truck will typically make runs faster, particularly in hilly conditions where the Diesel needs to go more slowly both up /and/ down inclines. (I’m thinking of I-84 in eastern CT in particular, which is a roller-coaster ride, but still mild compared to crossing the Rockies, for example.)

I think the Responses at this point, from Anyone outside of North America, is irrelevant, since Tesla is still working on a European Variant – to better suit their Needs, and this truck was meant for America, with Mountains in a great many places, far taller than anything in England, I am pretty sure!!

Tesla Semi’s primary mission is to disrupt the commercial heavy duty truck industry to transition to EV… which it has already started to do that by now making the Tesla Semi a top conversation topic within the commercial trucking industry.

It is understandable for the commercial trucking industry to be resistant to the idea of an electric semi until they real-world see for themselves how an electric semi is a better tool for them than a diesel semi. But the moment they believe an electric semi betters their business they will have no qualms in embracing the EV revolution.

The topic of an autonomous driving semi that will displace some trucking jobs is a topic though that will be resisted by the trucking unions by obligation because it’s the unions job to protect the best interest of the workers… but the counter argument that may allow union acceptance to autonomous driving is that making commercial trucking more efficient may in the long run protect the trucking industry.

Simply,we all want more profits with minimal investment. Tesla has shown they can increase battery life 280 miles more with a few key strokes during the last hurricane recovery.LMAO.

Tesla increased battery capacity (not life), but only for those who bought one of the newer Model S60’s or X60’s, which actually had 75 kWh battery packs electronically limited to 60 kWh.

That was a special case, and while Tesla is to be applauded for helping people cope with a major disaster, it was a special case not generally applicable to BEVs.

An owner operator friend of mine had a route from Cleveland to Detroit, unload and reload back to Cleveland five days a week. 400 miles a day, 2000 a week, 100,000 a year. Home every night which is unusual in that business. This route would have been perfect for the Tesla Semi.

And how about the $200 oil change where they found something leaking and then something losing compression and ended up rebuilding the engine for $8000. He said it was part of life. The truck was 5 years old and had 500,000 miles on it. ICE is high maintenance

And your example is one of the Best of the ones like Elon Alluded to – the ‘80%’ Point, rather than the Over The Road – or Long Haul Truckers, that such players are comparing this Semi to!

Now, when Tesla Captures Even 2% of that 80% of the Market, the Long Haul will be starting to notice them a bit more, and – if by that time – Tesla Brings out a Long Range Semi for America, maybe even with 800, 900, or maybe 1,000 Miles Range Per Charge, Even they will get in line! Will it even need a Sleeper Cab and a 2nd Driver? Maybe Not – if Autopilot is developed as far as they desire!

That’s actually pretty good 500k miles and a good deal on the rebuild. These sorts of routes, as routes over mountains would be, are cake for the Tesla truck.
I think in 5 years or so people will start to see them in numbers. Sales of new diesel trucks will fall as truckers put off buying a new one until they see if the Tesla truck can do all it says. Also fleets getting gradually replaced will put cheaper used diesels on the market further lowering the value of new ones.

A this point individual truck owners will be faced with a dilemma as their contract routes are undercut by the early adopters of the much cheaper to run Tesla truck.

Though it seems the pace will be rather glacial, like slow moving lava, it’s coming, people can see it coming, but they can’t do anything about it.

Uhh…. I doubt that prices on new diesel trucks will go down… they will probably only go up because of emissions regulations.

He didn’t say the price of new diesel semi trucks will go down; he said the (perceived) value will go down in the face of increasing BEV semi truck adoption.

Once that movement starts, it’s hard to see how he could be wrong about that. Maybe Tesla’s Semi Truck won’t be what starts the movement, but it will happen sooner or later.

Oh, yes, I see that now. Thanks!

As far as the rebuild cost, this was a while ago, so I’m sure it would be more now.

Just trying to estimate his fuel costs. 400 miles x 1.75 kwh = 700 kwh x .11/kwh (US average) = $77.00 for the trip.

Diesel, this was 12 – 14 years ago, so 5 mpg. 400/5 = 80 gallons at the current price of about $3 a gallon = $240.00. Saving $163 out of his own pocket each day x 250 = $40,750 a year. That alone would pay for the truck in ~5 years.

Another Euro point of view

I felt this coming…

Tesla: it’s so cooool

Truck companies: we hear you well but is it reliable, cost efficient and practical ?

Tesla: duh ?

Yep, bells and whistles aren’t what truck companies are interested in

@ : “Truck companies: we hear you well but is it reliable, cost efficient and practical ?”

Yup… That’s why Tesla included input from commercial trucking insiders during the development stage of the Tesla Semi.. and they will continue to do so.

LMAO, the two euro trolls are terrified that the Tesla semi is going to kick the crap out of the laggard German OEM truck manufactures in the same way the Model S is destroying the former luxury best seller the MB S class.

Proving that the Tesla tech is superior then the ICE crap that the laggard Germans OEMs have been pushing forever.

The fact that DHL asked them to build electric delivery vehicles and they instead offered them diesels says it all.

DHL simply build its own EV delivery trucks and now they will trial the Tesla semi for their large shipments between distribution centers.

Meanwhile, Daimler had to partner with Mitsubishi to develop a smaller E truck!

Model S and MB S class, is not in the same class. Tesla still needs to work on their quality too. I like the Model S design, especially from the back and the side. Mercedes owns Mitsubishi trucks.. no cooperation needed. Now that Tesla has released their prototype, I wonder what the existing truck companies think about it. Will they make something similar, or will they make changes to a more classic truck design? I think Tesla could make a larger cab, with more living room – and be able to have a larger customer base. Add a bed, a micro, a TV, fridge, freezer and so on. With enough powerful chargers, they could take some of the long haul market. All the old companies owns a lot of stuff, either directly or trough sub brands. We must not underestimate the power these companies can have, when it comes to industrialisation, and engineering/development power. But they need leaders/a board that is willing to use that power and cash – and to understand that the first generation will generate less profit. If you study the car industry, with all the suppliers – you’ll see the focus has changed towards EVs. They… Read more »

All opinions aside, this is factually wrong. The response quoted here isn’t from trucking companies, it’s from truck drivers. The ones threatened with having their jobs ended by autonomous vehicles from Tesla and other vehicle manufacturers.

Seriously, THAT’s a difficult question to even make a guess at, since no member of the general public has even purchased a ‘3’, nor driven it any distance, so we don’t know even whether the car the semi is based on has any reliability or not……

Probably explains why trucking companies are buying a few here and there to test them out themselves. That’s the way I’d do it.

Truckers in Europe need a range of about 500 km, 303 miles. Truckdrivers are allowed to drive for maximum 4,5 hours. During that time trucks can get away about 360 km. Than the driver must stop 45 minutes. During that time the battery can be charged again to 500 km at a Tesla Megacharger. After 9 hours, the drivers max for one day, the driver is home and the truck can be charged overnight at the company. With a range of 800 km things get even more simple. Tanking diesel costs about 20 minutes, charging costs no time at all. In the Netherlands, diesel costs Euro 1,36 per liter, 5,14 Euro per gallon, 6,06 USD per gallon. With a consumption of 1 liter to 3,5 km, the dieseltruck uses for 100.000 km a total of 28.571 liter of diesel. Total cost in Euro’s for the diesel alone is 38.857 euro’s. For 100.000 km a Tesla truck uses 2 kWh for a mile. That is 1,25 kWh for a kilometer. Total 125.000 kWh. The price for the industry for a kWh in the Netherlands is 0,051394 euro per kWh (Central Buro of Stats 2016) Tesla will charge 0,07 USD per kWh,… Read more »

And I do not know how these jerks at Wall st. did not see that coming!

Maybe – “If it wasn’t Invented in Detroit, It Don’t Count?”

Thanks for the calculations Wim S.

Thanks for the Euro perspective, Wim.

About 2/3rds of that diesel cost is taxes, though. Tesla’s fuel cost advantage is mostly a tax dodge. Which may or may not be allowed on a large scale.

Do heavy commercial trucks in the UK (and in the EU as a whole) not have to pay annual road use fees, as they do in the USA?

In any case, it seems rather, um, dodgy to try to characterize using electricity instead of diesel to power heavy freight trucks as a “tax dodge”. Replacing petroleum with electricity for powering transportation benefits everyone, economically and in terms of public health, in addition to the environmental benefits.

You are severely underestimating the difficulty of implementing “Megachargers.” Unless these trucking routes pass by power plants, delivering the kind of energy needed to recharge a semi in 30min is going to be near-impossible.

Take the example of the driver who takes the truck home or to the depot each day, less than 500mi each day. 80% of all trucking. You don’t need the mega charger in that scenario as the truck is charging over night.
1000kWh battery / 125kW Super Charger = 8hrs. That is significantly less than the mega charger and potentially realistic for an operator. Anyone know how the electric buses are going with charging? That would be a very similar use case scenario and has been around for a couple years now.

I’d allocate 11 hours for that job for 2 big reasons.

1). Battery heating will adsorb some of the juice – as well as refrigeration to remove the heat.

2). Tapering the charge rate will be necessary towards the end of the charge.

The other thing you guys are ALL forgeting is that if the output of the “Mega CHarger” is 1,000 kw, the INPUT to it will be at least 1,100 kw.

“Anyone know how the electric buses are going with charging? That would be a very similar use case scenario and has been around for a couple years now.”

ProTerra is using 500 kW BEV bus chargers. I suspect that is higher than average, but obviously it’s both possible and practical.

But no independent trucker will be charging at 500 kW at home! Residential power hookups aren’t going to handle anywhere near that kind of power.

A BEV semi truck may charge overnight at its depot, as you say; or it may charge anywhere that it can get a power hookup at industrial levels and rates. The idea that it’s going to be hard to find places capable of handling a 1 MW power hookup is not a well-informed one. Heck, a single induction furnace can draw up to 47 MW! And if I recall correctly, large skyscrapers can draw up to 10 MW. That’s not even an industrial power hookup; just a commercial one.

Edit: “…a single induction furnace can draw up to 47 MW!”

Should read 42 MW.

Yup just call up your neighborhood electrician and tell him you want to hook up the biggest load you can find (42,000 kw).

Uh, chief, it ain’t quite that easy – although if it was you could have a Tesla ‘Quick Stop’ for 20 trucks at a time.

“…delivering the kind of energy needed to recharge a semi in 30min is going to be near-impossible.”

Gosh, I’m sure that will come as news to all electricians who have installed high-power hookups in industrial buildings and in large commercial buildings. 🙄

Reality check: A single electrical induction furnace can draw up to 42 MW.

hehe “That’s news to electricians who have wired up 42,000 kw Induction Furnaces”.

I just called up “Home Advisor” and said I need my dinky 20,000 kw mini-furnace hooked up to – what did you call it? An “Industrial Power Hook-up”?

I haven’t found anyone who can do it… What do I do now?

I made a fault in the calculations of the savings on fuel with the Tesla Semi. The right figures:
Savings on fuel per kilometer 0,32 Euro
Savings on fuel per mile 0,53 Euro
Savings on fuel per mile 0,62 USD.
I think the differences are huge. Truck operators that ignore these figures will be out of business hence there are competitors with Tesla Semi trucks.

As a Brit I can tell you the 500 miles is pretty much the hight of England. Great Britain is not a big Island and that matters

I suspect there are not that many serious mountain passes like in the Colorado Rockies, either.

These reactions must have been before the estimated pricing came out. Instead of £200,000 the base price is closer to £115,000, or pretty much the same as the commentator’s guess at their lorry prices.

I think so, yes. And it’s rather unfair to castigate McKenzie, the guy quoted in this article, for overestimating the cost. Most of us were surprised that Tesla’s estimated price is so low. Those who were guessing almost all guessed rather higher; I certainly did!

Another Euro point of view

I read above that Tesla is giving an extended warranty on those coming trucks.


Indeed, I understood that an extended warranty on whatever products from Tesla is a real “must have”.

I guess it is a strong selling point, now the effect on your profit and loss report maybe not so good. But again who needs profits ? Profits are something you produce when running out of ideas.

The uhh, performance aspect was to show just how different an EV Semi operates compared to diesel. Tesla doesn’t think truck companies care about drag racing them…

These guys must be the life of every party they attend.

More than that, I’d say if the worst thing that Tesla bashers can find to say about the Tesla Semi Truck is that working truckers are unlikely to be testing the ability of an unloaded semi tractor’s 0-60 ability… then Tesla has done a heck of a lot better with its presentation of its truck, and the projected economic benefits, than I expected!

Go Tesla!

I think most people (truckdrivers and all other drivers) will love 65 miles pr hour uphill.
This is the best news ever on the motorway!
And 20 sek. to 65 miles for Truks is the best news for highway!

In Europe that would lead to serious fines, and even prison some places. Speed is regulated. Truck fines are expensive. Just like, if you drive a car with a trailer and exceed 60km/t (with a trailer with no breakes), or 80km/h with brakes. Fines, and maybe loose the license.. But to be able to pick up speed at a nice rate with no thought about fuel costs, that might be very popular. Everybody will benefit from this. Normally a truck in Europe has telemetry of some kind, so the company can follow the fuel consumption more or less in real time, and the company can compare total fuel consumption between drivers. The most fuel efficient driver often get a bounus. That is why most drivers are not giving full speed when they accelerate. With a 5-600Hp engine, the fuel consumption will reach insane levels. I drive a panel van at work once in a while, that use about twice as much as our normal (fuel efficient) ICE cars. In the truck driving with full power up steep hills, with just 20 tonns of load – the consumption was about 20 times what the panel van use.. That is also why… Read more »

We should start with PHEV first and work on increasing the electric range from there.

Say, we have a lorry with a 30 miles all electric range. That means we can:
– downsize the diesel engine and make it more efficient (it just needs to have enough power for doing 56mph on flat)
– save 30 miles worth of diesel
– or more, if we are stuck in traffic or driving through a town
– recoup some energy from regenerative braking

This also makes most sense financially, small battery and electric drive chain are not adding much to the cost and subtract from the weight of the freight.

Once the technology, economics and deployment of charging points improve we can then upgrade AER to 100, 300 miles and finally drop the diesel engine altogether.

Another issue is a long term reliability. Can Tesla be trusted to deliver on that? So far their record is poor. Will they even exist 10 years from now given all the risk they are taking?

George; your suggestions would have been brilliant, ten years ago when it was first obvious, but today it looks like trying to support the continued burning of diesel. Take a look at Wim S above and his well structured comment to see just how behind the times your comment is.

It wasn’t at all obvious 10 years ago as battery prices have only recently dropped enough to make it economically feasible. You need a big battery even for 30 miles of AER.

Wim’s comment is full of hype and short on facts. Guess what, no one in lorry drivers community cares about hype, or burning diesel for that matter. It’s all about economics, they will choose whatever makes the most money for them. So far, even Tesla’s own calculations are not competitive outside some niche uses.

There are some positives too – once there is a better solution available it will catch on very quickly indeed.

“So far, even Tesla’s own calculations are not competitive outside some niche uses.”

If — I say, if — it turns out that Tesla’s semi trucks will be less expensive to operate on most routes of 250 miles or less, or even 300 miles or less, then that’s a pretty huge “niche”!

But we’ll have to wait 3-4 years to see how Tesla’s trucks work in real-world use by real-world trucking fleets.

George – downsizing a semi diesel doesn’t help in the same way that downsizing a gascar engine helps. Unlike a gascar, a semi diesel is very close to optimum efficiency (40-50% power, 1800 rpm) at 65 mph, loaded. You do get a little weight savings and some savings when empty.

A 150-200 hp engine could only do 10 mph up long grades. Your 30 mile/60 kWh battery would only help for the first few miles, assuming it was fully charged at the bottom.

Efficiency (for “2017 designs” with some tricks to recover waste energy) is between 33 and 43%. Maximum efficiency is achieved at 1200-1800 rpm and >50% load. At 56 mph on flat the load is much less than 50%, though. So there is plenty of potential to increase average efficiency by around 5% points.

For lorry drivers that’s a lot.

By the way 30 miles battery needs ~100 kWh, give or take.

EV range of 30mi, then it totally relies on the ICE when the battery runs out. Why is the ICE the size it is? You can’t down size it. If it could be down sized don’t you think it already would be? So hybrid truck is really just adding complexity for no value. And I think the reason for EV is because they do care about burning diesel. Pretty soon they won’t be allowed in many cities, that’s the whole point, to stop using diesel. And even if you don’t care about that, if driving 100mi costs you $63.00 in diesel and only costs you $14.00 in electricity, all things being equal, which one are you going to choose? From you comments I’m guessing you’ll take diesel. But all things are not equal, are they? If it takes you 1min 20sec to go up that 1mi grade, but you can reduce that to 50sec, wouldn’t you want to do that? Especially in hilly country, that can save quite a lot of travel time. And if you are replacing the brake pads every 50,000mi (I don’t know this number, so make up whatever you think it is, the argument is the… Read more »

Over here in America we are too wound up over these mandatory electronic logging devices that go into effect December 18th to even begin to think about electric

Yeah! Thanks to Obama, 2018 is the year that truckers are going to make $3.00 a mile for loads, thanks to that policy. Watch the price of groceries sail to new heights.

I took a bus and truck license in Norway about 20 years ago. Even then, there was logging equipment in the truck that measured how fast I had been driving, and how long I had been driving since the last rest. It is a huge safety feature, and also to make the situation better for the drivers. They are not pushed to drive unsafe. The fines for cheating or breaking the rules are huge, and will put a scare both in drivers and companies. It does not matter if you drive a top rated safe car it a tired semi driver t-bone you. The car will just (hopefully) keep most of the flesh, bones and blood in the same location. If you’ve seen a real truck & car crash, you know what I mean. When I worked in Thailand as a diving instructor, there was a real problem with truckdrivers using meth/speed to keep driving long hours non stop. With huge diesel tanks, they could drive 10-15 hours non stop.¨ They were pushed by the owners, and the need to make enough money. If drivers can not make a normal living, following safe standards – there is a failure in… Read more »

I’ve been listening and ready for new but I don’t think the bugs have been worked out and I’m a show me kind of guy I have a 2008 pete and over 500000 miles on it . My truck does a great job and I have had no major trouble with it . So like I said show me it can do the job then I will look at it with a better out look . I’m not knocking there equipment cause it’s a big change to the the trucking business.

Can you put your full O&M financials up for your last 9 years and some smart folks can likely show you where the economics will work very well for you.

The Tesla semi with human driver will always be a very niche vehicle…Once someone makes a fully autonomous truck, whether Tesla or any other maker, that’s the true game changer…The Tesla only makes financial sense in convoy mode where one lead driver and two driverless trucks follow along…Yet we still question the cost…The bigger battery STARTS at $180K, we do not know what that includes nor if Tesla will offer an affordable charger for it for those who want to charge on site…Then to enable convoy mode, could be tens of thousands per truck and who knows how much insurance will run…

Yet the biggest benefit to a company for buying these are the “cool” factor…Lots of exposure which is easily exploitable…If you’re Walmart, host a monthly “Tesla Semi vs ICE Semi” race in your huge parking lot…Bring the untrailered Tesla Semi to the drag strip on Friday nights…

When did they ever say convoy mode would be with 2 driverless trucks?

Tesla didn’t say that, but one does not have to jump very far to reach that conclusion. It appears Bacardi and I came to that conclusion independently of each other, so it’s not like one needs to be a genius to figure it out.

When Tesla says the main economic benefit will come from convoying, that points pretty strongly to the trucks following the leader being driverless. What else could possibly make so much difference in economics by convoying, other than eliminating most of the drivers? Sure, drafting behind another truck helps with energy/fuel efficiency at highway speed, but I doubt it helps that much.

“Drafting” makes a huge difference; just ask NASCAR drivers and Tour de France athletes.

You’re taking about racing, where small differences in performance can lead to great differences in the outcome of a race. Contrariwise, I’m talking about the economics of heavy freight trucking, where small differences are just that.

So his “gut feeling” is 20 years away when this already exists as a working prototype? Dude needs a gut check.

Also, did he mention his price concern before the price was revealed, because he’s off by $86,000!

I confess to being a bit confused at just who the “United Kingdom’s Road Haulage Association (RHA)” refers to. Is that organization for fleet operators or truck drivers? I looked up the word “haulier”, and apparently it means truck driver. It should not come as any surprise that truckers will be bitterly opposed to use of Tesla’s BEV Semi Truck, since Tesla is ultimately targeting using fully autonomous vehicles, which would put truckers out of a job. I expect the Teamster’s Union will be just as bitterly opposed to use of Tesla’s Semi Trucks. That aside, I personally already had some of the same concerns raised in this article. Tesla claiming fleet operators can cut costs by using their semis is a long way from that being proven. And I note that at least some analysts, if not the majority, continue to claim that despite Tesla’s talk of using their truck for 500+ mile routes, it’s the short-haul trucking routes which are most likely to benefit from the cost savings of using a BEV semi truck. Tesla may well benefit from using its own trucks for the 258 mile run between Reno, NV (Gigafactory One) and Fremont, CA (Tesla’s auto… Read more »

Group think here tends to believe it will be an EV revolution when, at best, it will be an evolution.

There will be areas that adapt MUCH quicker than others but as a whole the movement of adoption is looking like it will follow the political pattern of red & blue states and the pockets within.

^ Speaking about the USA not England.

Economics trumps politics; trumps it pretty strongly. (Just look at the collapse of the Soviet Union!) If BEV trucking starts as a Red State vs. Blue State thing, rest assured that won’t last long.

With nearly 10 years of “mainstream” EV sales in the USA, the adoption pattern has been clearly set.

Businesses, as a whole, are even more conservative when it comes to money and less of a risk taker than individuals who only tend to think of themselves. This won’t happen quickly. That mechanic will have a job for many, many years to come.

Fine, that’s just a simple OTA adjustment away.