Bobtail Truck For Sale – On the night of November 16, the world will get its first view on the next major Tesla project: an all-electric semi truck with a range rumored to be 300 miles. The big question is, does the world really need this?
Of course Elon Musk thinks that. Earlier this week, he tweeted that the truck would “blow your mind clear of your skull and into an alternative dimension.” That seems like a really good way and not at all hyperbolic to manage expectations.
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But the transport industry seems to be the most ambivalent. Truck leaders said they welcomed Tesla’s entry into the market, while acknowledging that their industry as a whole clearly tended to lead to some form of electrification. But they also pointed out that truck manufacturers and operators have embraced alternative fuel technologies, from natural gas to propane to hydrogen fuel cells. And battery-powered electric vehicles will face steep challenges, ranging from heavy restrictions to the availability of convenient filling stations, before they can be widely adopted.
“We have a lot of alternative fuel technologies already deployed, so adding electricity to the mix is certainly welcome,” said Chris Spear, president and CEO of American Trucking Associations. “This is the future. Tesla certainly made their mark on the side of the passenger vehicle; it’s only a matter of time before they enter our commotion. ”
“Fray” is the perfect way to describe what Tesla will include. Instead of being the first to market with electric vehicles like this more or less successful with passenger vehicles, car makers join what is increasingly becoming a crowded space. Everyone from small companies to established OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) stabbed battery electric trucks.
Wherever you look, there is a new alternative to fossil fuel consumption vehicles being launched: electric delivery trucks, vehicles powered by liquid propane, and hybrid pickups. But not everyone buys it. Thanks to low gasoline and diesel prices, and the government in Washington that has signaled its intention to withdraw from federal environmental regulations, there is little incentive for truck operators to switch to expensive alternative fuel powertrain.
“We don’t get many calls from our customers anymore asking for propane trucks or natural gas,” Roy Hiatt, fleet sales manager for Isuzu American Commercial Trucks, told Trucks.com during the Work Truck Show 2017 in Indianapolis last March.
But that did not stop the industry from pursuing zero-emission dreams. Bosch partnered with Nikola Motors to develop a Class 8 hydrogen-electric truck by 2021. Daimler recently launched an electric light duty truck called Fuso eCanter. And last August, Indiana-based Cummins, a leader in diesel and natural gas engines, revealed Aeos, a fully-equipped Class 7 truck with a range of about 100 miles with a single charge.
Julie Ferber, executive director of electrification at Cummins, said Aeos was designed for a duty cycle of 100 miles per day because the technology for longer transportation did not yet exist. “The long term is not ready for electrification,” he said. “Our calculation is that it takes around 19,000 pounds of battery to do 600 miles with one charge. And from a cost and weight standpoint, that doesn’t make sense. ”
Tesla is undoubtedly aware of this limitation. The initial spec report fixes the semi range in the region of 200 to 300 miles, indicating that the truck will be intended for short trips. There are also reports from suppliers that Tesla is interested in equipping his truck with self-driving technology. (Wall Street investors will look for some new versions of Autopilot to help ease their concerns that Tesla is lagging behind in the world of self-driving.)
Tesla trucks are a key component of the “Master Plan Part Deux” by Elon Musk, where he vowed to expand the company’s vehicle range to “cover the main forms of land transportation.” That includes an all-electric crossover (rumored to be coming in Model Y), minibuses, pickup trucks and semi trucks. “We believe the Semi Tesla will provide a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transportation, while increasing safety and making it very pleasant to operate,” Musk wrote last year.
But since its launch last year, the Master Plan has declared itself somewhat liquid. Musk seems to be walking backwards with plans for minibuses in recent revenue calls. And Model 3, the company’s first mass market vehicle, has experienced some serious production barriers, raising questions about the company’s ability to handle its current commitments.
Adding all the temptations and comments, it seems clear that the truck will be cool. After all it’s Tesla. “We just thought, ‘What do people want?'” Jerome Guillen, Tesla’s truck project head, told Rolling Stone for his cover story at Musk this week. “They want reliability. They want the lowest cost. And they want a driver of comfort. So we re-imagine the truck.”
Of course, later in the article, Musk’s typical self-humiliation shines. When checking “driver comfort features,” he said, “Maybe no one will buy it because of this,” the teacher said. “But if you are going to make a product, make it beautiful. Even if it doesn’t affect sales, I want it to be beautiful.”
Driver comfort is an interesting angle for Tesla to highlight, especially considering that the driver will not be the target audience of the company. Fleet operators who want to keep costs low are totally different viewers. And according to trucking experts, interest in alternative fuel trucks has dropped after a brief surge from 2011 to 2013, when fuel prices approached $ 4 per gallon nationally.
Speaking of fuel, it is not clear how Tesla will overcome the serious gaps that exist in today’s charging infrastructure. In June this year, there were around 16,000 EV filling stations with around 44,000 connectors in the United States. Most of them are Level 2, with faster DC charging stations, such as Tesla Superchargers, with only 2,172 stations with 5,992 outlets. In comparison, there are around 168,000 gas stations. That’s the level of comfort and reliability that will be very hard to beat.
Semi Tesla may have exceptional range, the latest technology, and a sleek appearance, but according to ATA’s Spear, nothing will be a problem if the driver rushes to find a place to charge. “If you can’t fill it, you won’t buy it,” he said.
That said, the truck industry has shown signs of growth in recent years. Despite the lack of drivers, private companies in the general goods transport industry, on average, increase sales by around 7 percent, according to a recent analysis. But the margins are thin, and it’s been decades. Your average Class 8 truck costs around $ 120,000. But if Tesla aims at a range of 200-300 miles, it only costs a $ 100,000 battery, which can bring the price of the entire vehicle’s sticker up to $ 250,000. That might be a cost barrier for many fleet owners, so Tesla needs to make a convincing argument that its per-mile costs can defeat its wasteful gasoline rivals.
“The truck industry is at least in order of magnitude more complex than cars,” said Mike Roeth, executive director of the North American Council for Transportation Efficiency. “That’s because of the customer requirements of these trucks, and regulations that differ from one country to another. A truck in Michigan is different from a truck in Texas. ”
He added, “Truck makers must build a very complex set of specifications. So when you think of Tesla and passenger cars, the variation you get in Tesla cars is much lower than what you do for others, because they want to focus on the scale. And that’s a very difficult thing to do in trucking. But I do not know. They might be able to play a niche [role] … which we will see. But that will be difficult. Because trucking companies will want what they have in the past, and they will want it according to their needs. ”
Tesla’s best bet is to market their trucks to short-distance shipping operations. Taxis a day do not require a wide range, maybe not more than 150-200 miles a day. For things like port operations and other local transportation, an electric truck is not a bad solution. That is why Cummins, Daimler, and others are chasing short-range electric vehicles. Unfortunately for Tesla, reliability and durability are very important for this truck operator. Semi-class 8 trucks can accumulate hundreds of thousands of miles in their useful life. And Tesla doesn’t have a good reputation in this criterion.
Tesla is a newcomer to the trucking industry, and not a sterling track record in quality assurance. So far, Tesla customers are only limited to type-rich car owners with full vehicle backup garages if their Tesla is damaged or needs maintenance. In the trucking industry, vehicle time is very important. Uptime is money. If a truck is damaged or is in maintenance, the truck cannot maintain it.
Maybe it’s best to see a truck-and-horse show Thursday night at Hawthorne as a smart marketing move, coupled with a future down payment for transportation. “Given the production problems around Tesla and the significant burning of money, it might be easy to overlook this announcement as more marketing than substance, but I hope Tesla will build this truck in the end,” said Michael Ramsey, an analyst at Gartner. “If the future is electricity – and is likely to be at some point – then putting basic work now is not a waste of time.”
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