Tesla semi truck coming 2019 and when platooning almost half the cost per mile

Tesla electric semi-truck will begin production in 2019.

* capable of hauling 80,000 pounds
* 500-600 mile range between charging. 500 mile range with maximum cargo.
* the truck gets the Enhanced Autopilot features that let it drive itself on the highway, staying in its lane and a safe distance from neighboring vehicles.
* radars built into the front of the vehicle, and many cameras
* it can accelerate to 60 mph in 20 seconds (BAMF performance)
* 20% less expensive to operate than a diesel truck ($1.26 per mile compared to $1.51 per mile.)
* Tesla Semis can drive in a convoy (platooning). Trucks can draft off each other while letting computers and sensors keep them just feet apart at highway speeds, it could compete on cost with trains. “This beats rail,” said Musk, throwing up an 85 cents per mile cost.
* independent power on each wheel so jackknifing is impossible
* Tesla guarantees it will not break down for a million miles. 4 motors.

There are 4 million big rig trucks in the USA. US trucking is a $700 billion per year industry.

52 thoughts on “Tesla semi truck coming 2019 and when platooning almost half the cost per mile”

  1. Loblaw says it ordered 25 Tesla electric trucks, wants fully electric fleet by 2030
    The Canadian Press Ross Marowits
    Loblaw is Canadian supermarket giant.

  2. Tesla shares pop after trucker JB Hunt reserves ‘multiple’ semitractor-trailers

    •J.B. Hunt Transport Services announces it has reserved “multiple Tesla Semi tractors.”
    •The trucking company makes its statement a day after Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled an electric semi.
    •”We believe the large U.S. market will support sales of the Tesla Semi as we think the vehicle should be competitive with many traditional heavy-duty trucks, and exceed performance of existing electric trucks,” Baird Equity Research senior research analyst Ben Kallo says in a note. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/17/tesla-shares-pop-after-trucker-jb-hunt-reserves-multiple-tesla-semi-tractor-trailers.html

  3. Investors and the trucking industry are optimistic about the shift to electric because of the potential savings. During an event Thursday night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company’s Semi will cost 20% less to operate than a standard diesel truck.

    Between this and potentially lower costs to maintain the trucks, Tesla boasts a strong chance of disrupting the trucking business, said Evercore analyst George Galliers in a note to investors.

  4. Retailing giant Walmart confirmed Friday it plans to test 15 Tesla’s Semi trucks as part of a pilot program in the U.S. and Canada.

    “We have a long history of testing new technology – including alternative-fuel trucks – and we are excited to be among the first to pilot this new heavy-duty electric vehicle,” said Walmart spokesperson Ryan Curell in a statement. “We believe we can learn how this technology performs within our supply chain, as well as how it could help us meet some of our long-term sustainability goals, such as lowering emissions.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/11/17/teslas-electric-truck-boosts-stock-price-elon-musks-company/873839001/

    Meanwhile, trucking company J.B. Hunt Transport Services said it had already placed multiple orders for Tesla Semi trucks.

  5. Some reality checks:

    1. I don’t see a price. Am I missing the most important fact somewhere?
    2. 7 cents per kwhr is nice if you charge at a Tesla charger, but it will cost more if you charge at the depot which is the most likely scenario.
    3. 500 mile range on a big semi makes me think that this thing will have a monster battery.
    4. Monster battery implies high price as the batteries are the most expensive part of Tesla cars.

  6. Seems like Musk is going from building SDCs that get their occupants kills by collisions with semis to self driving semis that will kill everyone else.

  7. In the number above $0.07/KWH is on the low side so they are cooking numbers. Also, the cost of $0.85/mile is is based on convoy driving which is not a reasonable assumption for several reasons.

    Also, I’d sure as hell not want to ever be in a position of having to pass a convoy of these on a two lane highway. If you drive in rural areas needing to pass trucks on two lane roads is a given. This is where I expect somebody will pipe in “but these trucks will have enough power so you won’t have to pass them.” The truth is electric vehicles are a lot less efficient when you push them too hard so even though you can probably drive one of these up a long steep pass at the full speed limit, I doubt the owners will want to pay the operating cost penalty and seriously reduce the range by doing so.

    • You missed the point, Musk said he will guarantee this low electricity price of $0.07/kwh on his megacharger network and that all the electricity will be solar. The trucks will be powered by the sun.

      • If they are going to be powered by the sun then there is no reason to attach the megachargers to the grid. Just put a solar farm next to them.

        We all know that by “powered by the sun” Mr Musk really means “Powered by the grid where solar panels contribute in some areas during some hours of the day”. Being powered by the sun is marketing fluff.

  8. So a lot of older former truckers are going to have a hard time paying for their age reversal therapy when George Church says human trials will be completed?

    • No truckers are getting fired since it will not be a full autopilot. In the more distant future we will all be replaced and live off universal income. The robots will be working for us….. at least until we’ll be working for them.

      • lease these to the driver to replace his/her income driver then leases in some cases back to the larger trucking company.Trucking company reduces its unemployment insurance payouts

      • A few years with an enviable safety record and impressive ROI and if anyone is still sitting in the cab it will be because OHSA requires it . . . and it will be a high school drop-out playing Angry Birds for minimum wage. Not a well paid professional trucker.

        With cab drivers and bus drivers that’s over 6 million people in the US alone, plus another million or so that work in truck stops and such. Economy is going to be like a sword, you really won’t want to be on the wrong end of it and there won’t be any place safe to hang on in between.

  9. Because diesel’s can’t platoon?

    The single vehicle cost per mile isn’t the improvement I hoped for.

    • Human-driven vehicles can’t platoon, not “feet apart”. The power source isn’t important for that feature.

    • I work for a logistics-and-supply-chain company. You’ve heard of us.
      Single vehicle cost per mile is huge. it’s SO huge that it can potentially result in beneficial secular deflation. Add the ability to platoon safely and it’s even more so.

      • Depends on how much higher the initial price of the battery operated truck. I’m assuming that the initial cost is higher due to large batteries so the time to ROI is longer due to the higher initial cost. There’s more than one variable at play. If the cost was lower then Musk would have said so because that would be a big deal.

        If the Tesla truck charges an up front $50,000 premium but costs $0.25 dollars less per mile then you break even after 200,000 miles which would be reasonable.

        And yes Platooning is a big deal but diesels can platoon. The biggest ROI would be a “kit” to retrofit existing diesels so that you could cut your drivers by 2/3rds.

  10. remember the million mile thing must be based on the electric motors, and only them. Not the batteries, not the chassi, not the brakes, tires, air conditioning…
    Still who can find fault in the concept? It sounds great, bring it. Start saving now, by the time it comes to market you might have enough money.

    • An electric motor is a lot simpler than an internal combustion engine, with pollution control, coolant system, etc.
      Obviously regular maintenance will be excluded, batteries could be part of that.

      OTOH, my Prius is 11 years old on the original batteries, I have heard of Prius going over 400,000 miles on the original battery pack. Battery life-cycling is a lot less on a hybrid than a pure EV, so I’m not sure what the EV numbers are.

      • Actually, the electric motors usually do have cooling systems, as do the power electronics. usually a fluid circulator backed with a phase change AC unit.

        Model S has 3 just for the electronics.

        They are simpler, but I think not so simple as you are implying, Prius miles are largely on the ICE. not the batteries…further, they have a different more robust battery chemistry, that of nickel metal hydride. which easily will last 10 years and are nearly immune to self discharge and heat (albeit they have less energy density)

      • A million mile guarantee would be nice but it begs the question of why his car quality isn’t that good.

        Count me a doubter of a 10 year/1,000,000 mile warranty.

        • Normal big trucks have lifetimes much, much longer than normal cars. There are a number of reasons for this.
          1. Maintenance. Commercial vehicles tend to actually get the specified maintenance, and you can expect the person doing it to have at least 1/2 a clue. So you can specify more complex maintenance than you’d get away with as a passenger car maker.
          2. Repairs. Because a new truck costs a few hundred thousand, people will willingly spend say $10k repairing a truck which has already done 700 thousand km. A car at that point has a market value of 50 cents so it would be junked.
          3. Weight. Because the truck is carrying so much weight, it doesn’t hurt to add a few hundred kg of extra steel to make components more robust so they’ll last longer.
          4. People will pay more for a truck that will last another few years. A new car buyer will have sold off the car long before to upgrade to one with a cooler GPS system, so the person paying the money up front won’t benefit from, and hence won’t pay for, longer life.
          5. Use. Long highway distances are much easier on a vehicle than short urban trips.

  11. “US trucking is a $700 billion per year industry.” That is half of Russia’ GDP right there. LOL. As far is cost; electricity is far cheaper than diesel fuel and then there is this bit “Tesla guarantees it will not break down for a million miles” and unbreakable glass as well. With nothing to replace maintenance should be super low. I hope the rese of us with Teslas will be able to charge from the comming megacharger network. It should fully recharge Model 3,S or X in under 10min.

  12. “displaced workers “. Too early to worry about that. This is not fully automatic autopilot more like driver assistant you have in other teslas. It will make the trucker’s work easier by helping him drive not replace him. In the longer term sure drivers will be replaced same as everyone else if you look out far enough…

  13. Elon blew away my predictions not to mention your average industry prediction. 500 mile range and 30min to recharge 400miles… That megachargers must be like a 1000 kwh capacity. Also a new roaster with 0 to 60miles of 1.9 seconds, quarter mile of 8.9 seconds in basic configuration, all world records in history of car making. And all that with 600miles or a 1000km range… Gees is there anything this guy can not do? I think we can say buy buy to ICE trucking…

    • Diesel hardware is far less costly than battery technology. Musk should play up the green benefits rather than cost.

      • Watch the video, or just look at the images above. The total operating cost (including purchase price) is lower than diesel trucks.

      • Sanman, what evidence do you have for such a statement? Modern ICEs are much more complex than electric motors, and harder to troubleshoot with a lot more moving parts. Batteries are coming down in price, and electric rates are more predictable than fuel prices.

        • Well so far all electric cars are far more expensive than ICEs due to battery costs. I don’t think that changes with this giant truck.

          As has been pointed out by many modern ICEs are quite reliable. 300k+ miles on my Honda with the original engine and transmission, etc.

          I like the potential of EVs to be simpler but right now they aren’t cheaper. And this is a semi with 500 miles of battery. It won’t be cheaper up front, it is a question of the time frame of its ROI.

    • Well, it seems we’re about to have to decide whether we want UBI (at least for displaced workers to have time to go through re-training) or riots… Easy one ey?

      • Universal Basic Income – one of the tenets of The Rapture For Nerds
        aka “Why don’t we just learn how to print money faster? Then we won’t run out! 😀 ”
        Maybe you’ve never heard of Unemployment Insurance? Displaced workers have been relying on that for decades now.

        • Economy is the science of managing limited resources. All the resources are basically proxies for human work, since they are practically unlimited (if you look beyond Earth), it is just sometimes too much bother (=> human work) to get them (like asteroid mining).

          Total automation means end of economy (end of need to manage limited resources). Whether you will be printing money or not does not matter. What matters is smooth transition.

    • And most of them will still be needed, at least for the first generation of this truck. From the bullet points above, it self-drives on the highway, not in complex traffic or maneuvering to a loading dock.

      • Nerfer is correct. You also need drivers to confirm condition of loads, handle customer issues, and diagnose emergency-maintenance and safety issues on the road that internal diagnostics won’t be able to identify.

        • Yes, but there will be fewer long haul truck tenders (they won’t be drivers anymore) because a truck can drive on while it’s tender can sleep. Also, the tender position won’t be as skilled a position as a driver so wages will fall. In addition remote monitoring will evolve to take up many of these tasks and new services will evolve to take up the other needs. People will still be in the loop for a long time but it will be a lot fewer people.

        • Except you don’t need drivers in the trucks that are behind the first in platoon. So all those hours on the highway get cut by a fraction proportional to the average platoon length. Average of 4 trucks = 1/4th as many drivers needed for highway portion of a trip.
          Won’t need nearly as many standing by to drive the trucks from highway to warehouse.
          So this can have major impact as fast as the trucks can displace existing trucks.

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