Freightliner Cascadia Trucks Versus Tesla Semi

Tesla revealed the Tesla Semi. There has been a lot of debate about how much the Tesla Semi Tractor (the part that pulls the trailer and cargo) weighs. I calculate that the Tesla Semi tractor 500 mile range weighs about 26,000 lbs versus a typical diesel big rig at 18,000 lbs. A commenter claims they have a Peterbilt Semi tractor that weighs 20,000 lbs. The Tesla 300 mile range Semi weighs 20,500 lbs.

The Tesla Semi may be able to reach the normal business maximum of 46,000 pound cargo load for a 48-foot flatbed trailer. My calculations could be slightly off. The Tesla Semi might be limited to about 44,500-45,000 lbs. This cargo capacity is plenty for most of the trucking markets, so long as the other factors like range are acceptable for the use case.

The Tesla Semi cargo capacity is definitely not the 12000 lbs cargo or 18,000 lbs cargo accusations of some Elon-hating YouTubers.

The cost of one year driving 100,000 miles is $17000 for a Tesla Semi versus $80,000 for any diesel Semi driving 100000 miles.

The most popular diesel Semi truck in the US with 40% market share is Freightliner. The Freightliner are reported to have more fuel efficiency than their diesel competitors.

BigRigPros reports a Freightliner Cascadia truck reports GVW Gross Vehicle Weight of 52,000 pounds.

The GVW weight of a vehicle means the licensed maximum weight of the vehicle as per the vehicle’s certificate of registration.

The TARE weight of a vehicle means the weight of the vehicle when it is empty or not carrying cargo.

Gross Weight Limit – Tare Weight = Payload
(80,000 lbs Federal Limit) – (35,650 lbs truck weight) = (44,350 lbs load allowed)

The 500 mile range Tesla Semi was shown moving eleven ten-foot concrete barriers that online sites selling the barriers indicate as each weighing 4000 lbs. NOTE- I counted pixels of the screen capture to determine the flatbed trailer was 48 feet long and the barriers were each ten feet long.

Tesla Semi Tare Weight [500 mile range] = (82,000 lbs Federal eSemi Limit) – (44,000 lbs load calculated)

Tesla Semi Tare Weight Estimate is 38,000 lbs.

If Tesla’s tractor and trailer Tare weight is 38,000 lbs and the steel 48-foot flatbed in 12,000 lbs then the Tesla Semi Tractor 500 mile range weight without sleeper is 26,000 lbs.

Tesla 500 mile range Semi should have batteries that weigh about 6 tons or 12000 pounds. The Tesla 300 mile range Semi should have batteries that weigh about 6500 lbs. The Tesla Semi Tractor 300 mile range weight without sleeper is 20,500 lbs. The Tesla Semi Tractor 300 mile range should have the same cargo load capacity mainly limited by federal weight limits. This means the 300 mile range would have 46,000 to 48000 pounds of cargo capacity. The 300 mile range Tesla Semi uses less batteries than a Freightliner eCascadia (electric Freightliner). The eCascadia uses 540 kWh of batteries to go 230 miles. The Tesla 300 mile range Semi is over 30% more efficient than the electric Freightliner.

Flatbed trailers, more specifically (which are most commonly a five-axle combination), can legally haul a maximum load weight of 46,000-48,000 pounds. Once your load’s weight exceeds 46,000 pounds, the number of drivers willing to haul it dwindles. Heavier loads are hard on the equipment transporting them and with so many other loads to choose from, many drivers prefer to steer clear of these shipments.

The Tesla Semi seems to be near the cargo limit for Flatbed trailers.

A steel 48-foot flatbed semi-trailer usually weighs around 12,000 pounds. An aluminum 48-foot flatbed trailer typically weighs around 9,200 pounds. A 48-foot van trailer usually weighs around 14,000 pounds.

Big Truck Guide says that the Tare Weight for a typical 5 axle semi truck is approximately:

Tandem Drive Truck Tractor with Sleeper: 18,000 lbs
Van (Box) Trailer 53’ long with 2 axles: 17,650 lbs
Total: 35,650 lbs

Here is a 12 page brochure on the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution.

Tesla and other electric Semi maker get an extra 2000 pounds of maximum total weight. 900 kWh of batteries will weigh less than 6 tons and possibly around 5 tons. A 200 gallon gas tank will weigh about 1 ton. If everything else were equal the electric Semi would be at a 4 ton disadvantage on max cargo.

The 8,000 lb tractor weight difference would be consistent with a 4-ton battery vs fuel tank disadvantage.

Tesla Semi gets within 2000 lbs of the typical flatbed hauling maximum. The Tesla Semi was also moving chains and a log, so the difference may only be 1,000 lbs.

Tesla will be making the batteries about 10% more efficient than the current level. the current level is already 25-40% more efficient than competing electic Semi. Tesla are at 1.7 kWh per mile driven under load versus other electric trucks like the Freightliner eCascadia at 2.1 kWh per mile. Tesla will get to 1.6 kWh per mile and possibly 1.5 kWh per mile. If they choose to get more weight efficient with the same range then they would reduce the batteries by 10-15%. They could remove 2000 lbs of batteries and still have the same range.

Tesla has constantly found ways to reduce the weight of their existing electric cars. They are using structural battery could reduce the overall weight of the vehicle by turning the battery into a structural component.

69 thoughts on “Freightliner Cascadia Trucks Versus Tesla Semi”

  1. Start with hydrogen assist and heavyer and longer(25meter) trucks that is a big improvement already

  2. Good Lord people, these aren’t over the road trucks. That’s not going to happen for a while until charging stations are built. This is just the beginning.
    And anybody who drives a Cascadia isn’t a real trucker anyway. Those aren’t trucks. They’re mass produced junk. Do you have any idea what we think of you when we pass your gutless p o s going up a hill when you’re empty and we’re loaded? We laugh..

    • Sweet dreams. Trucking is NIT about speeding or going up the hill faster than the other trucks. It’s about driving safe & get the job done with safety & punctuality!! Do not disrespect other hard working truckers. Thanks & have a good day.

  3. What can we say about the comments? Trucking is an inherently conservative occupation that resists change because our livelihood depends on it. I’m sitting in a Cascadia now.
    I believe the commenters also may have a political bias against electric vehicles. Not to say they are wrong, but battery vehicles are a moving target. They are improving and getting more affordable constantly, while diesels are more stagnant. What they are saying is true today, but in ten years? Maybe not.
    The truth is that we will have to change. As any owner operator will tell you, fuel price fluctuations can put us out of business. If some company comes out with a truck, battery or ammonia as a hydrogen carrier as I believe, and their recharge/fueling times are the same but the energy source is the equivalent of $1.50 per gallon then staying with diesel will mean we are not competitive in our rates. Diesel is not getting cheaper, and change will be forced on us through market forces.
    Until that happens, we’ll just have to keep and truckin.

  4. Facts? You’re asking a driver for facts? Why? Ask yourself that.

    The fact is, the drivers know the facts already. We have to know this stuff and abide them to do the job.

    You’ve been given some. Axle weights. DOT regulations. Range comparisons. Averages of needed miles run in a day. Facts about layout of the trucks.

    I’m not an engineer. I don’t have to crunch numbers to make things work on paper or using a computer model.

    I just do my job. That’s driving. Effectively. My paychecks say so.

    Drivers generally know how trucking does, doesn’t (or won’t) work from practical, well experienced day to day perspectives of a lifestyle we live.

    No numbers in kilowatt hours. But I can tell you what I average for MPG. (8.7 miles per gal.) See? There’s a fact.

    I can tell you within a minute of my arrival time 90% of the time, several hours ahead of actually getting there.

    Try that on a computer model. You’ll be wrong, because I can find a better way to get there. I beat my two nav systems literally every day at their own game. They still suck after being around for 20+ years.

    I can tell you facts on how I sleep, eat, sit, or even have sex with my wife in my truck.

    Your computer model can’t.

    I can tell you that running “facts by numbers” doesn’t work because of variables you didn’t even know about to factor in, in the first place.

    Weather? Mountains? Traffic? Accident? Construction? Maintenance? Flat tire? How many traffic lights there will be? New neighborhood? Business relocated? Wrong address? Delay at the stop because of a new security guard or dispatcher? Those fluctuate, you know… And that’s just off the top of my head.

    Just one of those factors is only the tip of the iceberg. But using only numbers will only see it as the whole thing. So, sure. Ram your ship into it. After all, it’s only a small chunk of ice.

    Can’t help it if the USS Tesla’s initial computer modeling and subsequent test runs didn’t know an iceberg has 80% of its own mass underwater. (Another fact for you.) The ship is now half sunk. Jump it or let it drag you under?

  5. Trucking and batteries will never work. Cold weather will limit range significantly. Recharging big batteries to their full capacity is a night sleeper. The author is dealing with theoretical data which never happen. Actual use of electric trucks were a big disappointment. What will really work is a battery hybrid system with fuels or hydrogen.

    • What an asinine statement. Never say never when it comes to technology. Batteries are always getting better, they may only make sense in 20% of big rig driving…TODAY. But a decade from now that will likely be around 80%. You don’t need to START with a EV Semi that can go 800 miles on a charge, and recharges in 10 minutes. A decade from now, that may be possible, but you start with shorter trips (super common). Give it time.

  6. I’m curious what would you rather be in when you’re stuck in a snowstorm for a week like the trucks in South Dakota just lately? Electric or diesel to stay warm for a week? Answer is obvious of course and the reason electric only doesn’t stand a chance.

      • So I have to ask. With the 10 percent load loss how do you make up for the driver shortage? Your putting another truck on the road for every 10. These trucks are a great idea for city use in warm climates to get started. But if my range in cold weather can be as little as 225 miles it would take me 2 days to cross Wyoming in the winter with current technology. The delay in delivery in the northern states would extreme. Since interstate 80 is a major transportation corridor from California to the east coast I can see a major disruption in the national supply chain until technology advances.

        • There are new sodium batteries coming that perform with almost cold temperature degradation. Work is needed to improve the charge density. Tens of billions of dollars is going to battery improvement and new battery chemistry. There are plenty of heavier tractors that still sell for different situations. The Tesla Semi has over 1000 horsepower vs 450-650hp for most regular diesel Semi. The 300 mile version of the Tesla Semi has no load loss.

  7. Vboring your thinking is way flawed, electric drive motors do need to be rebuilt all the time, plus they haven’t invented a battery that doesn’t need to be replaced yet. So every year or maybe two years at the best(I’ll be amazed if it last a year) your replacing the battery pack.. 15,000 is the cost on a typical electric car battery pack. So what is the cost on the semi ones?? Everytime you charge it, you slowly lose the range it can last on a charge. Not to even mention 40% of the carbon footprint of pollution in the world, comes from just extraction the minerals from the ground to make batteries for electric trucks and cars. You would think they would mount an alternator or something on some of the axles to help charge going down the road if this was about being more efficient and cleaner, but it’s not. Elon himself has said electric is not the answer.

  8. After only a couple short months the tesls’s batteries will not get 500 mi. Maybe 400 and a couple months more and they will get 300. A new set of batteries will cost $100,000 k you can rebuild a diesel almost as many times as you want. Lastly. Why is it the only thing you see Tesla’s hauling is potato chips?

    • 3rd party studies of batteries in thousands of electric cars and Tesla.

      Initial studies have found that an EV like the Chevy Bolt or Tesla Model 3 lost 20-40 miles of range in the first 20,000 miles before degradation leveled off. After this, the battery degrades much more slowly. Battery degradation tends to follow an S-curve, where more range is lost in the earliest and latest stages of battery life. A chart compares rated range at 100% charge against odometer mileage for the Chevy Bolt (left) and Tesla Model 3 (right).The initial drop-off in range is typical for all electric vehicles and indicates that the battery is settling into its steady state.

      Tesla warranties batteries to go 8 years or 100k or 120k miles before there is 70% range degradation.

      • 20000 miles is about 6 weeks work for an OTR truck so comparing cars to semi’s just doesn’t work for the real world.

      • Truckers make money only when fully loaded, for as many miles as possible. If an ev semi can haul 4000 lbs less, and go only 500 miles on a charge they will only make economic sense on lighter weight shorter hauls. With my semi I like to be as close to my max cargo weight as possible, and in a 11 hour driving day I usually run 580 to 640 miles per day.

        Add less cargo carried, and 100 to 140 less miles I can go each day and it won’t be profitable for heavier long hauls, regardless how efficient per mile it is. It doesn’t matter how efficient per mile your truck is when you have to stop at 500 miles instead of 625 cause your battery is dead. That’s 600 miles less per week you can run.

        Some day the batteries will maybe get there but we aren’t there yet. They need to he much lighter, charge faster, etc

        • You will not be switched in the first wave. Only targeting 50,000 to 100,000 over the next two years (end of 2024). Out of 550k in overall new sales about 10-20%. Out of the overall market of 4 million semi in the US, the first 2 year will only be 1-3%. Different segment. Also, Europe allowed 4000 lbs extra for electric so even less disadvantage over there.

          • It seems problematic to aim at a market with such tight economic and performance margins.

            I’d see the passenger bus market or RV market as an easier sell.

            People are willing –and able, to incorporate a moral or cool factor into their cost benefit decisions that commercial trucking interests simply cannot.

            And trains.

            I would really like to see a passenger train concept from Tesla.

            A line of passenger cars with a pusher and a puller “engine” can maintain travel, swapping out at side rails with fully charged replacements, one at a time, without stopping.

            Optimized suspensions for travel on more track than is available to Amtrac.

            Solar farms and maintenance distributed along tracks in rural areas for lower cost land.

            And, private “Pullman” cars, as befits any self-respecting, guided age robber barons.

        • I guess before I call you a liar I should find out what you’re hauling. Most vans run out of volume well before they reach the weight limit.

          Refresh my memory. Are you not required to take 30 minute break? Assuming there is a Mega Charger available, you can add 350 miles during your break. 350 + 350 = 700 and that’s not counting starting the day at 100% or dipping further into the charge level at the end of the day. 700 miles divided by 65mph = 10.7 hours of driving.

          • There are no megachargers available to top off the battery along the highway. The only people willing to pay the $$$ for them are at shipping depots like Pepsi runs.

    • There are teslas on the road today that have gone over 200,000 miles on a single battery. Teslas goal is one million miles on a battery. For the cars that would take many years. For the semi it will take less time. When it happens it will be news.

  9. The user, Pepsi, goes 450 miles hauling 10k of chips. A full load by volume.

    They haul Pepsi 100 miles, with a full load by weight.

    Great truck for hauling Cheese Puffs

    • For the chips the truck drive to a store and drops off the product and then goes to the next store. then when the trailer is empty they drive back to reload.

      sodas weigh a lot more so the truck is carling fewer bottles. After one or 2 stops they have to return to reload the truck. The short driving distance pepsi mentioned is to the fur to driver needing to reload more frequently. During the reload the truck can get a partial recharge before going out again for more deliveries.

      Tesla did carry a full load 500 miles without recharging and have done it multiple times. the prototypes were unveiled in late 2017. And in 2018 and 2019 there were sightings on the road of the prototypes loaded with large cement blocks. Then they made design changes (went from 4 model 3 motors to 3 plaid motors) and retested.

  10. No need to do meaningless calculations,Brian,Tesla won’t release numbers so we know it weighs more than you claim, they’d tell us if they hauled a useful amount.

    • I mentioned the Peterbilt as well in the article in the first paragraph. But fine replaced with Freightliner Cascadia. Picking meaningless nits when you cannot get actual data and analysis for a real counter argument.

  11. So just my 2 cents since the Tesla dont have a sleeper does this mean as an over the road driver does this mean you have to get a motel room each night and who flips the bill for that i sleep in my truck everynight free of charge not sure how that makes the Tesla better as the person said that sitting in the middle of the truck will make it way harder talking to DOT security at some shippers and recievers how does it do in below freezing tempratures or 120 degree weather what happens when in the desert you run out of power because of no place to stop and charge i will stay with my diesel truck at least i can get fuel when i need it

    • There is room for an electrically inflated air mattress (single or twin size) or a fold out cot. What are the regulations for bringing and using those in a Semi without a built in sleeper?

      • Oh, boy. This one just let me know that you’ve never once slept in a moving truck. Apparently Elon Musk never did either. Nor his engineers. Don’t take offense, none intended.

        Like a soldier who’s had his weapons and equipment designed for him, he’d say “Walk a mile in my combat boots.”

        My wife and I team drive. We live in the truck, no home to speak of. Home is where we park it.

        See how long you can live with another person in a 28 sq. ft. apartment. For a month to six weeks straight, that is.

        Most people can’t do that.

        We do have a regular twin mattress. Neither of us sure as hell will be sleeping well on an inflatable. No TV is fine. We need a microwave though. And a refrigerator. We need storage space for clothes and supplies.

        There’s a curtained off area for the sleeper. There’s a reason for that. You go insane if you drive at night and try to sleep in the sunshine. Or simply hang around your partner for too long. Where do we change clothes? In the sleeper.

        That well designed sleeper allows us to drive 20,000 miles for the month+ that we’re out.

        Something has to go fairly wrong to stop the truck for more than two hours per day.

        I get it, you’ve never driven. But do listen to the insights and experience of the actual drivers who build a career around keeping a lot of wheels turning.

        We’ll see more electric trucks in the future. They’re simply not going to hit the parameters they need to hit to be accepted by drivers yet.

        And it certainly won’t be a Tesla truck.

        Only Pete, Kenny, International, Volvo or any other brand who has actually built a truck around a driver for the last 40-50 years will succeed.

        The Tesla is an interesting milestone, but not one that will make the legend.

    • No it means they will be coming out with a sleeper version in 3 or 4 years. Up until to then they will sell out production as day cabs as the truck is especially well suited for that use.

      In 3 or 4 years they will have various variants and mega charging organized. 7 years from now all price competitive loads will shipped via electric trucks. Still room for a smaller amount of ice semis’ for specialized loafs.

    • No it means they will be coming out with a sleeper version in 3 or 4 years. Up until to then they will sell out production as day cabs as the truck is especially well suited for that use.

      In 3 or 4 years they will have various variants and mega charging organized. 7 years from now all price competitive loads will shipped via electric trucks. Still room for a smaller amount of ice semis’ for specialized loafs.

    • As someone who spent 30 years in courier and healthcare logistics, there always was a disconnect between the OTR drivers and everyone else. I see nothing has changed since I retired. This is a day cab and not designed for your typical OTR owner operator long haul routes. The Freightliner M2 112 would be a current traditional truck this would compete with. We had numerous hourly Class 8 routes that would be on set routes of warehouse to warehouse and warehouse to institutional deliveries on a local and regional basis that the Tesla Semi would shine on. There is a reason why companies like Pepsi, Wal Mart and UPS are tripping over themselves trying to get these trucks. It is cost of delivery first, any environmental benefits are icing on the cake.

  12. Writer seems focused on gross weight. No mention of axle weights. Very few loads will legally scale axle loads with such a heavy tractor. Charging time is based on Tesla brochure. Anyone who has a Tesla car knows that’s a joke. Not saying EV’s won’t make it, but not yet. Remember LPG powered trucks? Hydrogen ?…

  13. You do realize that your article history is really just making you look like a tesla shill? Your tone on tesla articles vs other scientific articles is completely different. You also are making statements like “it may pull X” yet discredit others who say it is less when in reality we don’t know how much it can pull.

    Elon over promises. How about focusing on the actual good feats of engineering that the semi did have instead of trying to make the semi not seem like the flop it is.

    • Secondly it’s an EXTREMELY bad look that you’re trying to compare teslas semi to the diesel freightliner. Freightliner has an electric truck and so does peterbilt…..

    • I discredit with data, analysis and facts. You can come and provide data, analysis and facts. If the facts are real and correct then they could not be discredited. We will see if the Semi is a flop in 2023, 2024 and beyond. Meanwhile Model Y top selling car model by revenue this year and already top selling car in units in Q4 2022 and will be top selling car model in units in 2023.

      • You haven’t shown the data on axle weights yet. Tesla trucks have an extra 5000lbs somewhere on the truck that has to be distributed legally to the axles. If they added 5000lbs to the steer, you get blown (or expensive specialty) tires and an overweight axel ticket at every scale. Add it to the drives and you have to put more weight in the rear, lowering overall freight. In the middle and you get a bit of both.

        Just because the truck is physically capable of doing something, doesn’t mean it can do it legally.

        That of course doesn’t even talk about the poorly designed cab interior. Not a whole lot of people with six foot arms.

        • I have no data on distribution of load. They worked on it for over 5 years and have been driving and testing them for years. They have hit the highway scales. Making it legal seems pretty obvious.

      • But there is no facts yet regarding teslas truck, you guess and take Teslas numbers as proven.

        Teslas (cars) in general manage 90% of its promoted range, i doubt the truck will be able to do better on the contrary.

        I suggest you wait with more superlatives until you have some real documented numbers to throw around

        • 10% differences do not matter to the thesis. Plus batteries improving 5-10% every year. California and New York grants up to $185000 for each electric truck plus the US 10 years to $40k credit per truck.

  14. This writer doesn’t understand the weight regulations. The issue with weight a combination can haul is 80k max unless it is a permitted load. The size of the truck or trailer really does not come into play. Trucking companies and shippers for years are trying to maximize the amount of freight a truck can haul by reducing the combo weight of the truck and trailer so that they can haul more weight on or in the trailer. Typical new Freightliner Cascadia and 53′ Dry Van can haul 52k pound loads because the weight of the truck.trailer and fuel are under 28k pounds. 52k pound load and the truck, trailer and fuel of 28k pounds makes a legal load without special permits of 80k pounds. It is not clear what the Tesla weighs but it’s been estimated at around 28k which means that you are going to loose 10 to 25k of hauling capacity depending on trailer versus a diesel truck.

  15. Okay, your information is flawed. Most states you are allowed a maximum of 80,000 pounds gross on the ground with five axles. You said the Tesla tractor weighs 38,000 pounds. And if you’re pulling a single flatbed trailer, I will be approximately 8000 pounds. So now truck and trailer weighs 46,000 pounds so you can carry a maximum load of product of 34,000 pounds, for a grand total 80,000 pounds. Unless you live in the northern part of United States and Canada, pour a set of rocky mountain doubles or a train the trainer super bee with a maximum load carry of 105,000 pounds. so I’d rather doubt the Tesla truck would hold up pulling 105,000 pounds to the Cascades in the Rocky Mountains very far.

      • The 38,000 lb is for the truck and trailer, plus you’re adding a second trailer, I guess to bring it up to 46,000 lb…

        I love how people pick and choose what parts they want to read.

    • Electric vehicles can benefit from regenerative breaking, diesel cannot. So in mountainous regions, EVs have much better efficiency and also should be able to go faster uphill.

  16. Tesla trucks go 500 miles. A cross-country diesel truck goes 800 miles. Tesla trucks are awkward to drive with the steering wheel in the center. It’s not the usual location and makes handing out a trip ticket through a window. It takes 4 hours to recharge a Tesla truck after 500 miles. Therefore, a regular diesel truck is 4 hours ahead and delivers it’s load sooner. There is no sleeper in the Tesla, the driver is “out of luck” and disadvantaged on long hauls
    coast to coast.

      • Two factors.

        While 40% of the market share may be short hauls, scheduling those loads are a nightmare.

        Meaning, a team driven OTR diesel truck with a sleeper can and regularly do run short hauls. Sometimes five to seven of them in a 24 hr. period.

        That reduces your 40% estimate down to around 20 to 25% of the actual short haul only dedicated market share.

        Charging vs. Fueling.

        A diesel truck takes approximately 10 minutes to fully fuel, with approximately 30-40,000 truck stops available to refuel at in the U.S.

        A diesel has an 600-900 mile range on a full tank.

        Said stops can handle multiple trucks at the same location. A single pump can refuel a hundred trucks a day.

        A single charger can only handle one electric truck at a time. And it takes four hours. Only six a day. With only a 400 mile range for the truck on a full charge.

        That would require a exponentially higher amount of chargers vs. pumps.

        We also would need many more readily available areas to put them in.

        Overall, using electric trucks in a fleet will only be applicable in a very small area of the market share.

        Until they can approach an 800 mile range along with reaching a much shorter full charge time, the idea is good in concept, but a nightmare in reality for a driver.

        • Still 1 million truck market in the USA, 1.5 million in Europe. 5 million or more in Asia. Better batteries are coming for more range Semi. Megacharging is being built out. Already 4000 plus regular supercharging locations. Plus the Semi technology makes cybertruck better. If Cybertruck drops from 500 mile range to 300 miles with load then it will crush the gas F150. F150 23 gallon tank for 460 mile range empty but 9 mpg or 207 mile range with load.

        • I believe Tesla will sell all the trucks they can produce. At the moment, they have no real competition. Obviously it will not fit all possible use cases, but enough.

    • Over 1,000 miles, the Tesla will use 2,000 kWh of electricity – costing around $400.

      The diesel at 5 mpg will use 200 gallons – costing $500-800.

      As a driver, do you care more about spending a few hours waiting for a charge or making an extra few hundred dollars per trip?

      The Tesla also skips oil changes, doesn’t need brake pads as often, never needs an engine rebuild, doesn’t require DEF, no emissions tests, etc.

      If you want to, you can choose to believe that electric trucks support the domestic coal and nuclear workers. The middle of the country uses a lot of coal power for electricity.

      Save money, support coal workers, drive electric.

      • One issue that I can see.

        Your post is only written from an Owner/Operator perspective. No problem with that, but there are other perspectives to factor in.


        I’m a OTR company team driver.

        I don’t pay for fuel. Or for maintenance/parts on my truck. Get paid by the mile. We usually put 20,000 miles on in a single month.

        When we hit 300,000 miles, we’re given a brand new truck.

        So, waiting for charging and supporting coal workers makes absolutely no sense to me at all, as it would actually force me to lose money instead of make it.

        Drive diesel.

        • I have said the Tesla Semi is not ready to replace OTR trucks or team driven trucks. They need to build the megacharging network and get range up to 800 miles or 1000 miles. This is several years away. The total addressable short range market is about 15 million trucks globally. 1.5 million in North America and 3 million in Europe.

      • Well, there are a few inaccuracies here. Tesla Semi gets a verified 1.7kWh/mile efficiency with a flatbed load and the average cost of energy in the transportation sector in 2021 was $0.102/kWh. If it’s slightly higher this year – say $0.11/kWh That 1,000 miles would cost $187.

        Plus there’s all the other advantages you mentioned and one big one you didn’t: Safety. Having to crawl up hills isn’t safe, neither is the tendancy to jackknife in poor conditions, or worse traction management than an EV. For hilly routes, the Tesla Semi would be saving a good chunk of time vs the ancient competition because it’s faster up and down those hills.

        Additionally, there’s a federally mandated 30 min. break which means that a Tesla Semi could easily run 850 miles a day with a single 30 min. charging-bathroom-food break. The stats are showing that even team trucks aren’t doing more than 850 miles a day most of the time. There’s always exceptions, but that’s what they are, exceptions to the rule.

        There are many small shipping companies with owner/operator trucks and those running fixed routes that electric semis would be perfect for. More than half of trucking routes are already <500 miles which means the whole OTR segment is the minority and obviously not Tesla's focus with their first Semi. I say obviously because it's a day cab, not a sleeper cab.

        Any misgivings about the central driving position, systems, charging, or whatever will be overcome the same way anything else has: practice and experience until it's second nature. It IS different to what truckers are currently used to, but from an engineering standpoint is clearly superior so I'm predicting will become the new norm in future BEV trucks built on new platforms.

        The bottom line is that electric truck production capacity just isn't there yet to even dent the semi market so all the objections about random edge cases where it wouldn't work well are literally irrelevant until production capacity meets current massive demand. We are just getting started!

        P. S. Battery longevity is already way better than most of those clowns realize. Tesla's 2nd gen batteries and powertrains in particular have lasted 3-400,000 miles with the stated goal being 1 million mile longevity for the 3rd and 4th gen.

    • A 900kWh bettery in a Tesla Semi would easily last multiple weeks as a heater. A typical electric HOME furnace only uses 26kWh a day, with the semi using significantly less.

Comments are closed.