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RegGuheert
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Tesla Semi Truck

Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:17 am

Tesla is due to reveal their semi truck this month, so I thought this would be a good time to start a thread on the topic.

Electrek seems to have the best coverage on this topic. Here is their landing page for the Tesla Semi.

Electrek: Tesla Semi could be 'the biggest catalyst in trucking in decades' and 70% cheaper to operate, says analyst:
Electrek wrote:Jonas then lists a series of “key questions” which he then tries to answer:

- When will the truck go on sale? (we think 2020)
- How much will it cost? (we think $100k if separately leasing batteries)
- What can it do? (we think it could be an all-purpose Class 8 semi-truck rather than a limited application vehicle)
- How cost effective will it be? (we estimate an autonomous-electric truck can be up to 70% cheaper to operate than a regular truck).

The analyst is of the opinion that Tesla Semi will have a range of 200-300 miles – primarily to support regional trucking routes.

Furthermore, he expects Tesla to announce some major trucking partnerships for companies to operate early fleets of the new electric truck.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
2011 miles at purchase. 10K miles on Apr 14, 2013. 20K miles (55.7Ah) on Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah) on Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah) on Feb 8, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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TonyWilliams
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Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:53 am

Tons of trucking companies can use a 200-300 mile FULL POWER (like 500+hp) trucks in a fleet. For ports and rail service, 200 miles is probably too much, most of the time.

Tesla is not going to use battery swapping at the truck depot level, but there will be overnight charging plus a Mega-Fast charger. They will remotely monitor that the trucks are being correctly charged, so that no truck finds itself uncharged in the morning (this is a problem in the fork lift industry). I suspect autonomous plugging in (no way will it be wireless), and possibly autonomous parking.

Maybe, battery swapping will be an option enroute at key junctions. In Southern California, it might be on the 5 freeway between LA and SF, or Barstow or Baker going to Las Vegas. I think the odds of this are very low, but possible.

Mega-Fast chargers in the 750kW to 1.5MW are likely. Battery size needs to be 500kWh minimum.

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RegGuheert
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Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:34 pm

TonyWilliams wrote:Maybe, battery swapping will be an option enroute at key junctions. In Southern California, it might be on the 5 freeway between LA and SF, or Barstow or Baker going to Las Vegas. I think the odds of this are very low, but possible.
I expect to see some interesting solutions provided on the trailers, as well. I foresee some trailers carrying batteries to allow for longer-range travel with the batteries being charged during loading and unloading activities. I can also see 10 kW of PV on the roofs of some trailers to reduce the daytime running load and provide charging during daytime stops. Finally, I can see generators on some trailers for extended operations.

While BEV semi tractors are certainly a technical challenge, they also open up a ton of possibilities which never existed before. I can see some possible huge benefits in mountain operations, for instance.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
2011 miles at purchase. 10K miles on Apr 14, 2013. 20K miles (55.7Ah) on Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah) on Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah) on Feb 8, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

SageBrush
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Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:59 pm

Yep, really interesting stuff coming up. I'm hoping for a revealing reveal :-)

Tesla applied for an AP exemption to drive trucks from the Gigafactory to their auto assembly plant in Fremont.
I expect to see platoons of Tesla trucks plying the route in the near future and on the major highway inter-states some time later.

Which, incidentally, is why I suspect the analyst's guesses of range are way under-estimated. I think the Tesla magic will be a combination of EV+AP. The US refuses to rehabilitate the train network so this is the next best thing.
2013 Model 'S' with QC & rear-view camera
Bought off-lease Jan 2017 from N. California with 63.9 Ahr after 22k miles
Car is now enjoying an easy life in Colorado

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RegGuheert
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Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:34 am

The unveiling has been pushed back one month to October 26. That article contains a previous quote from Elon Musk about the truck:
Elon Musk wrote:It is a heavy duty, long range, semi-truck. So it has the highest weight capability and with long range. So essentially it’s meant to alleviate the heavy duty trucking loads. And this is something which people do not, today, think is possible. They think the truck doesn’t have enough power or it doesn’t have enough range. And then with those with the Tesla semi we want to show that no, an electric truck actually can out-torque any diesel semi and if you had a tug-of-war competition, the Tesla semi what will tug the diesel semi uphill.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
2011 miles at purchase. 10K miles on Apr 14, 2013. 20K miles (55.7Ah) on Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah) on Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah) on Feb 8, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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RegGuheert
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Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:13 am

This Reddit thread indicates that the Elon Musk has said that the Tesla Semi will contain multiple permanent-magnet motors from the Model 3.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
2011 miles at purchase. 10K miles on Apr 14, 2013. 20K miles (55.7Ah) on Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah) on Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah) on Feb 8, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

GRA
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Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:43 pm

RegGuheert wrote:
TonyWilliams wrote:Maybe, battery swapping will be an option enroute at key junctions. In Southern California, it might be on the 5 freeway between LA and SF, or Barstow or Baker going to Las Vegas. I think the odds of this are very low, but possible.
I expect to see some interesting solutions provided on the trailers, as well. I foresee some trailers carrying batteries to allow for longer-range travel with the batteries being charged during loading and unloading activities. I can also see 10 kW of PV on the roofs of some trailers to reduce the daytime running load and provide charging during daytime stops. Finally, I can see generators on some trailers for extended operations.

While BEV semi tractors are certainly a technical challenge, they also open up a ton of possibilities which never existed before. I can see some possible huge benefits in mountain operations, for instance.

I think the likelihood of batteries on trailers is minimal, as it will directly reduce the trailer useful load (as opposed to putting them on the semi, where it reduces the usable total weight). In addition, trailers are as simple and stupid as possible, and thus cheap and interchangeable. It's also far easier to provide charging stations for a tractor than it is a trailer at a terminal, as the tractors are self-mobile and can easily be charged in a smaller space away from the dock, which only has a limited number of loading doors. Any trucking company has far fewer tractors than it does trailers, so providing charging spots for just the tractors is much easier. In addition, any high volume operation will normally see each door occupied by more than one trailer during a single shift, so the time available for charging each trailer will typically be limited.

PV on roofs might be useful for reefers, but they'll need to be a lot less expensive. I expect that fuel cells will be a more likely replacement for reefer gensets, which are mounted in a cage on the nose of the trailer or container, and with the latter at least can easily be removed when not needed (carrying non-refrigerated cargo) or swapped out for repair when necessary. In addition, trailers and containers often get washed rarely, so PV will typically be operating well below max efficiency.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

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RegGuheert
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Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Wed Sep 27, 2017 5:56 am

GRA wrote:I think the likelihood of batteries on trailers is minimal, as it will directly reduce the trailer useful load (as opposed to putting them on the semi, where it reduces the usable total weight). In addition, trailers are as simple and stupid as possible, and thus cheap and interchangeable. It's also far easier to provide charging stations for a tractor than it is a trailer at a terminal, as the tractors are self-mobile and can easily be charged in a smaller space away from the dock, which only has a limited number of loading doors. Any trucking company has far fewer tractors than it does trailers, so providing charging spots for just the tractors is much easier. In addition, any high volume operation will normally see each door occupied by more than one trailer during a single shift, so the time available for charging each trailer will typically be limited.
^^^^ These are the types of conclusions that you arrive when you only weigh costs and do not consider cost benefits and the impact on operations.

I will double down on my prediction: Eventually NEARLY ALL semi trailers will contain batteries. Operational considerations will dictate this. Here is my reasoning:

First, some facts:
- Drivers are the single-largest expense for trucking companies. This is the first expense that Tesla intends to eliminate in order to sell expensive trucks.
- Behind drivers, fuel and oil are the second-largest single expense for trucking companies. It will take time to realize, but the movement to electricity-based transportation will offer huge reductions in the amount of electricity needed to move goods. In the medium term, capital expenditures will need to increase to build out the infrastructure enable this savings.
- Semi trucks are expensive. The BEST way to reduce the capital costs of a semi truck is to keep them on the road. That means parking these trucks at charging stations should be avoided whenever possible.
- Semi trailers MUST be parked for loading and unloading. This is the opportune time for charging to occur in the transportation industry.
- Charging stations are inexpensive when compared with the costs of drivers, fuel, trucks, and trailers.
- Many (most?) loads are not weight-limited, but rather are volume-limited, size-limite or simply are not full.

Now, for my predictions:
- The elimination of drivers will allow trucks to remain on the roads for a much higher fraction of the time.
- As the world electrifies transportation, electricity will become very dear, particularly on the road. Electricity costs at the depot will be lower, but will still be high. As such, trucking companies will need to avoid on-road charging whenever possible and will need to generate and store as much of their own electricity as possible. This means photovoltaics on the rooftops of warehouses and trailers. In order to keep trucks on the road, the bulk of the energy storage will need to reside on the trailers.
- High costs of electricity (fuel) will force carriers to move away from friction braking on trailers and toward regenerative braking for the bulk of braking operations. While most of this regeneration can and will be captured by the wheels on the tractor, likely 1/3 to 1/2 (or even more for safety) will need to be captured by the wheels on the trailer. It is conceivable that this regeneration could be delivered DIRECTLY to the tractor, but it would be much more efficient to capture that energy in large batteries on the trailer. This will eliminate the need for a very-high-power connection between the trailer and the tractor.
- Electric brakes will eventually replace air brakes for emergency stopping.
- Trailer batteries will serve two or more of the following valuable functions (depending on the capabilities of the trailer):
1) Capture electricity from the roof-mounted PV collection system.
2) Capture electricity from the trailer wheels during braking.
3) Provide traction power to the trailer wheels during normal operations.
4) Provide the *average* power to the tractor during operations to maintain tractor SOC. This may be on the order of 50 kW or less when stops and regeneration are figured in.
5) Power on-trailer loads such as refrigeration units, lights and emergency electric brakes.

Charging operations for trailers and trucks will be managed by operations. Trailer SOC needs to be made as high as possible during loading operations unless the load will sit in the sun for some time before departing the depot. During unloading, partial charge can be provided if at the depot or at a customer where electricity refueling is practical and has been negotiated as part of the cartage arrangement. If at all possible, truck charging should be done ONLY by the trailer. If off-trailer truck charging is required for certain long-haul operations, then that needs to be done at the depot whenever possible.

Initially, this approach to trailer-based batteries will be used in industries which are volume-limited rather than weigh-limited. But eventually, trailer-based batteries will dominate for all applications since it provides massive cost and operational benefits by keeping the trucks on the road as close to full-time as possible.
GRA wrote:PV on roofs might be useful for reefers, but they'll need to be a lot less expensive.
In an electrified transportation industry, PV is no longer just an expense, but rather it is an investment that will return many times its value over time. It will sit (or ride) quietly generating fuel for the organization and increasing the amount of time that the trucks can remain on the road.
GRA wrote:I expect that fuel cells will be a more likely replacement for reefer gensets,...
Did you manage to keep a straight face when typing that immediately following the sentence in which you talked about how PV needed to be less expensive? :roll: No, fuel cells will likely never see the light of day in trailer refrigerators due to the extremely high costs of the fuel cell and the extremely high cost of the fuel. There is NO payback for such a bad investment.
GRA wrote:...which are mounted in a cage on the nose of the trailer or container, and with the latter at least can easily be removed when not needed (carrying non-refrigerated cargo) or swapped out for repair when necessary.
PV panels will ALWAYS be needed to create fuel for operations, so they will NEVER need to be removed. Future refrigeration units will be much smaller and lighter since they will not need to carry fuel and a genset around with them. Solar loads on the truck will also be reduced by the operation of the PV panels on the roof.
GRA wrote:In addition, trailers and containers often get washed rarely, so PV will typically be operating well below max efficiency.
This is a minor operational consideration. Trucking companies need to take whichever approach gives them the highest returns. If that means cleaning PV panels on roofs, it will happen. Likely it will happen automatically each time the trailers enter the depot (or on an as-needed basis based on self-diagnostic based on efficiency considerations). Snow will be an issue in northern climates, but that is also an operational issue which can be handled.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
2011 miles at purchase. 10K miles on Apr 14, 2013. 20K miles (55.7Ah) on Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah) on Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah) on Feb 8, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

GRA
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Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Wed Sep 27, 2017 5:44 pm

RegGuheert wrote:
GRA wrote:I think the likelihood of batteries on trailers is minimal, as it will directly reduce the trailer useful load (as opposed to putting them on the semi, where it reduces the usable total weight). In addition, trailers are as simple and stupid as possible, and thus cheap and interchangeable. It's also far easier to provide charging stations for a tractor than it is a trailer at a terminal, as the tractors are self-mobile and can easily be charged in a smaller space away from the dock, which only has a limited number of loading doors. Any trucking company has far fewer tractors than it does trailers, so providing charging spots for just the tractors is much easier. In addition, any high volume operation will normally see each door occupied by more than one trailer during a single shift, so the time available for charging each trailer will typically be limited.
^^^^ These are the types of conclusions that you arrive when you only weigh costs and do not consider cost benefits and the impact on operations. <snip>

Aaagh! I'd written a long reply to all your points, but MNL timed me out and made me re-sign in, and it was gone when I came back. I just don't have the energy to re-type it all again, at least right now. I will repeat how I summed things up: regardless of the specific changes that will or won't happen, the next decade or so will see the greatest changes in the U.S. trucking industry since deregulation in 1980.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

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EVDRIVER
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Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:04 pm

There sure are many issues with PV on a truck rook, vibration to start.

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