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Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:08 am
by RegGuheert
GRA wrote: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.
That stinks!
GRA wrote: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.
We can agree on that. I expect the transition will take much longer than a decade.
EVDRIVER wrote:There sure are many issues with PV on a truck rook, vibration to start.
Yeah, I expect any effort to put stuff on the trailers will have significant growing pains. At the same time, I expect the need to harvest energy while on the road will ultimately win out. Time will tell.

Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:05 pm
by GRA
RegGuheert wrote:
GRA wrote: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.
That stinks!

I probably won't get the time or motivation to rewrite it until the weekend, if then. I'll see how it goes.

RegGuheert wrote:
GRA wrote: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.
We can agree on that. I expect the transition will take much longer than a decade

Agreed, but I think the major technical and structural changes will likely appear over the next 10 years. Full transition to replace all the legacy equipment will take much longer, perhaps 25-30 years in this country.

Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:56 am
by RegGuheert
Here's a spy photo of the Tesla Semi Truck from the side (the arrow points to the shroud which would normally be on top of the cab):

Image

Assuming that's really a Tesla Semi, I have to say it's a bit odd-looking. I'm sure I'll get used to it with time.

Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:13 am
by LTLFTcomposite
Not having a ginormous engine sticking out front changes the design options. More like a cab over.

Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:08 am
by Durandal
The design may appear odd but only because we are not accustomed to it. In the end, aesthetics of a commercial transport vehicle aren't likely high on the list for those making purchase decisions based around TCO of operation of the vehicle.
Trucking is one of those industries where Total Cost of Ownership makes a huge difference over many other features. That's why I expect the Tesla Semi to do very well. Fuel and drivers are the most expensive portions of operating a trucking fleet, and electric trucks will cost 1/3 the price in fuel, and when you're doing a caravan, you can cut the driver expense as well, say 1 driver for 3 trucks.

Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:41 pm
by DesertSprings
It looks like something out of a late 80s scifi movie.

Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:02 pm
by GRA
Reg (and others), you might find this McKinsey TCO break-even analysis of various types of trucks and use cases interesting: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=22441&p=507273#p507273

I still haven't had time to re-write my reply to your earlier post, but will hopefully get to it this week, assuming you want me to do so. Please let me know.

Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:57 am
by RegGuheert
Electrek's pre-announcement speculation, largely focused on the economics of the Tesla Semi:
Electrek wrote:Electrek’s Take

There’s no doubt that the Tesla truck will be much more expensive and that it will try to compensate with a lower cost of operation.

Class 8 diesel trucks these days cost around $120,000, but in order to get any kind of significant range with a full load, Tesla will need to have a massive battery pack in that truck. I would expect between 400 and 600 kWh, which could easily be worth $100,000 by itself.

By taking that into account, and the fact that Tesla has never built a truck before, I find it hard to believe that they could deliver that truck for less than $250,000 outright.

However there could be ways to get around that sticker shock with a battery renting structure enabled through a battery swap program instead of purchasing the truck with the battery pack, but that’s just a big unknown at this point. I prefer to approach it as a straightforward purchase for the sake of simplicity.

An eye-watering $100,000+ cost difference for any product would be enough to make buyers look somewhere else, but that’s simply not at all the case for class 8 truck buyers because they understand that the cost of operating those trucks dwarf any initial price tag.

They can spend over $70,000 per year in diesel alone to operate a class 8 truck. Without accounting for the salary of the driver, we are talking about roughly $1 per mile of operation (maintenance, insurance, etc.).

That’s what Tesla needs to beat – or crush – if Musk wants to blow the minds of people buying semis.

I expect that Tesla could announce something between $0.40 to $0.60 per mile. For reference, I’d be disappointed if Tesla doesn’t even put forward a number for the cost of operation. I’d be impressed if it’s between $0.50-$0.60, and it will blow my mind if it’s below $0.50, which is apparently the goal.

Now, you could also account for the cost of the driver, which adds roughly $0.35 to $0.40 per mile. There’s always the possibility that Tesla surprises everyone and reveals that the trucks are actually driverless, which would further improve the cost of operation. But I would be surprised if it’s actually the case, at least initially.

There’s evidence that Tesla has requested to test self-driving technology for its trucks in California and Nevada, but I doubt the company plans to launch the trucks without drivers.

If they do, it would be an obvious game changer, but they don’t need to be in order to revolutionize the cost of ground freight transport.

Aside for the difference between the cost of diesel and electricity, there are other ways that Tesla could achieve improvements in the cost of operations.

For example, Tesla has proven to be quite good at aerodynamic performance. The Tesla truck could impress in that regard with a low drag coefficient and perhaps a way to shield the trailer from the wind.

Also, everyone seems to assume that the truck will actually be heavier than the average diesel truck. I am not so quick to say that it will be the case here. While there’s no doubt that batteries are heavy, diesel engines are too and there are likely other areas that can be improved.

The powertrain components alone in a diesel truck can weight between 3,000 and 4,000 lbs – with a typical class 8 truck tractor weighing in at about 16,000 to 17,000 lbs.

It’s not impossible for Tesla to beat that. Every pound that you can save on the tractor is important since it’s one more pound of payload and the overall load weight is limited to 80,000 lbs. Let’s say Tesla can save 1,000 lbs, that’s 1,000 lbs more of cargo per trip and again more money saved for the cost of operation. With several battery packs, Tesla also has the opportunity to divide the weight efficiently onto different axles.

Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:54 pm
by LeftieBiker
Now, you could also account for the cost of the driver, which adds roughly $0.35 to $0.40 per mile. There’s always the possibility that Tesla surprises everyone and reveals that the trucks are actually driverless, which would further improve the cost of operation. But I would be surprised if it’s actually the case, at least initially.


A middle ground would be a truck that will pilot itself on freeways, so the driver can sleep, and then take over again for secondary roads.

Re: Tesla Semi Truck

Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:06 pm
by RegGuheert
I'm starting to think that Tesla may be able to deliver a battery-electric semi truck that can be refueled just as quickly, or nearly as quickly, as a diesel truck (although that fully-charged BEV truck may only have about half the range of a fully-fueled diesel). One way this could be accomplished would be to include four separate batteries and drivetrains which could drive the four separate main wheels. We already know that there are multiple motors from the Model 3 in the Tesla Truck (the new name). Since these are synchronous machines, each one requires its own dedicated inverter. So that just leaves the batteries, and having a battery dedicated to each inverter and motor might make sense.

Once you have multiple batteries, you could then recharge them simultaneously using multiple high-power chargers. In good conditions, a 20- or 30-minute charge should be possible. This still means that truck stops and depots will need to have massive amounts of electricity available. I expect that may be a real issue at some truck stops.

This may not be an ideal long-term solution, but keeping refueling times competitive could go a long way toward making BEV trucking competitive.

In any case, it will be interesting to see what grandiose claims Elon Musk makes this evening.