Tesla Semi faces new wave of reservations from diesel veterans

Discussion in 'In the News' started by simonalvarez0987, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. simonalvarez0987

    simonalvarez0987 Active Member

    Dec 21, 2017


    There is very little doubt that the Model S, Model X, and Model 3 have disrupted their respective segments since they were released. Tesla aims to accomplish the same thing with its all-electric Semi truck, but the vehicle’s target is a lot more ambitious - it aims to disrupt the trucking industry.

    The trucking industry is vast, and it is still growing. Long-haul trucking stands is the lifeblood of the US economy, handling the transportation of up to 71% of food, retail goods, construction supplies, and other cargo delivered every day. The American Trucking Associations’ American Trucking Trends 2018 report revealed that the US trucking industry generated $700.3 billion in economic activity in 2017, representing a 3.5% increase compared to 2016 when the trucking market generated $676.6 billion. This is the market that Tesla is aiming to tap into with the Semi.

    One of the Tesla Semi’s main selling points is that it’s an environmentally-friendly vehicle. Being all-electric, the Semi is a zero-emissions truck. This is an advantage over conventional diesel trucks, which are a significant source of air pollution in the United States. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, greenhouse gases from medium and heavy-duty trucks were found to have increased by 85% between 1990 to 2016, accounting for about 23% of carbon emissions from transportation in 2016. This is despite the fact that diesel engines are getting steadily cleaner. The EPA estimates that emissions from current engines are about 85% lower than before 2007 when the US rolled out new standards.

    The Tesla Semi has several features that make it a viable alternative to diesel-powered long-haulers, from its four Model 3-derived electric motors, its comparable Class 8 hauling capacity, and its superior speed. That said, it appears that America’s diesel veterans would not give up without a fight. In a statement to Bloomberg, Jon Mills, a spokesman for engine maker Cummins Inc. noted that electric trucks have a long way to go before they could be considered competition for diesel trucks.

    “Right now, we don’t think it’s viable. Electric trucks are more viable where you have shorter routes, less loads and you’re able to recharge,” he said.

    Cummins Inc. is one of America’s premier engine-makers, supplying engines for consumer trucks, fire engines, and heavy-duty long-haulers. Most of the company’s engines run on diesel, though they are also making some that operate on natural gas. Mills noted that Cummins is developing electric motors as well, but the company does not expect a lot of demand for them anytime soon.

    Mills did admit that electric trucks would contribute to reducing pollution. Nevertheless, the Cummins Inc. spokesman noted that the trucking industry is likely not ready to switch to electric, mainly since vehicles like the Tesla Semi have limited range. Considering that some truck drivers are paid by the mile, they would likely lose money while waiting for their vehicles’ batteries to recharge.

    “Diesel will be the primary option for heavy duty trucking markets, long haul especially, for a decade or more,” Mills said.

    [​IMG]A photograph of the Tesla Semi as shared by Jerome Guillen, VP of Truck and Programs at Tesla Motors. [Credit: Jerome Guillen/LinkedIn]

    Elon Musk wants to initiate the transition sooner. When unveiling the Tesla Semi’s specs, Musk noted that the electric long-hauler would be cheaper to operate than comparable diesel-powered trucks. Musk noted that the Semi could cost operators $1.26 per mile to run, less than the standard $1.51 per mile that diesel-powered vehicles cost. That said, Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum trade group, is skeptical of Musk’s claims, noting that there is little need for a new entrant in the shipping industry.

    “It’s easy if you’re just coming into this market to say ‘they’re $1.50 per mile and we can do it for $1.20. But where’s the proof? I haven’t seen it. Diesel is the benchmark for energy efficiency. Diesel dominates the entire sector,” he said.

    Amidst continued reservations from veterans in the trucking industry, Tesla is nonetheless pushing through with further development of the Semi. The company has been conducting real-world tests of the Semi since the vehicle was unveiled, and during the Q2 2018 earnings call, Elon Musk noted that improvements to the truck are being made. Thus, when the Tesla Semi enters production, the long-hauler would be an even more viable alternative to diesel-powered trucks.

    “We’ve made significant improvements to the design since the unveiling that we had, and it’s really even better than what we talked about,” Musk said.

    Article: Tesla Semi faces new wave of reservations from diesel veterans
  2. john.hind

    john.hind New Member

    Oct 14, 2017
    Lack of creative thinking here: unlike with a car, with a semi you can easily swap the tractor. So you can swap a depleted tractor for a charged one and continue on immediately while the original tractor charges ready for the next load. Or you can operate a hybrid scheme retaining Diesel tractors for cross-country and swapping to electric for city.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. mail2larryh

    mail2larryh Guest

    The Trucking Industries transition from Diesel Piston to Electric semis and the Railroad\'s from Steam to Diesel Electric as well as the Commercial Airline transition from piston to jet engines have some parallels. However both Rail and Air transformations were rapid, almost abrupt because the advantages were great and were empirically proven even before implementation. In other words the advantages were immediately visible and tangible.  We have only two hands on Tesla Semi rigs which are nowhere near the development stages of the Electromotive Diesel or Jet/Turbine engines were when they became the chosen replacements. My opinion is that the changeover will eventually occur but within what timeframe depends on improvements in range and in particular recharge time that can actually be displayed to the industry.
  4. mail2larryh

    mail2larryh Guest

    Extra recharged vehicles and duplex systems make for increased costs. With highway/city systems you need to transfer goods from one to the other, much like rail to semi. As with using any hybrid system even in auto propulsion, you add complexity and cost with little or no actual gain. The only real answer is development of full electric port to port and the bottom line here is the Bottom Line.
  5. bd1414

    bd1414 New Member

    Oct 1, 2017
    Tesla Semi + Rail would be the most efficient approach for anything but perishables that need to be shipped ~800 miles; Diesel will likely keep that market.  What is missing for that to work is smaller rail depots along existing lines that can efficiently pull/place 3-4 containers for ~300-400 mile \"local\" loops.I do agree that local delivery is a smarter market unless you are talking about autonomous vehicles.
  6. myfree

    myfree Member

    May 20, 2018
    Law requires drivers to rest, 12 hours driving on one end is not allowed.Recharging should be done wile resting.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. cygnusexwon

    cygnusexwon Member

    Aug 23, 2018
    New York
    #7 cygnusexwon, Aug 23, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
    “Tesla Semi faces new wave of skepticism from diesel veterans”
    Of course they are voicing skepticism, why wouldn't they? This is their very existence we’re talking about. The days of diesel dominance for long hall / heavy road transport will come to an end if for no other reason than there is a better option on the horizon. It is just a matter of time before all forms of internal combustion engines will be superseded by electric. It’s just simple physics; it will happen.
    I have a pickup truck with a Cummins 5.9 liter inline 6. After 25 years of use and nearly 300k miles on the clock, it runs and performs great. I expect it to go for another 300k miles before it will need any major service. Diesel engines are well known for their reliability and long service life.
    The fact of the matter is, as great as that power plant is, it can’t hold a match to an electric motor. Electric motors will give 100% torque in an instant and have few moving parts. The same can’t be said for any internal combustion engine.
    As far as energy storage goes, batteries are improving at a steady rate. Diesel fuel is for the most part the same as it was when it first appeared on the scene. Energy density and cost will guide the way.

    Go electric or be left in the dust.
    • Winner Winner x 1
  8. Rudi

    Rudi New Member

    Aug 23, 2018
    #8 Rudi, Aug 23, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
    Long Haul trucks are perfect candidates for electric autonomous transport. Why do trucks have to be so big and heavy? The answer is because you need to pay the driver. If you don't have to pay a driver anymore you can build much smaller trucks. You can have less payload and still operate them economically. Think about it, it will disrupt the industry, stand it on its head.

    If you can build and use smaller trucks then the game changes completely. Smaller trucks are much safer, they have far shorter braking distances for instance and they can be maneuvered much easier thru smaller streets and around corners. Smaller and lighter electric trucks would have a far safer operating profile, they are much less dangerous simply because of smaller size and weight. You also gain enormous flexibility by having smaller units of cargo transport.

    In Europe trucks are not allowed to operate on weekends, because of the emissions, noise and so on. Autonomous lightweight electric trucks with no emisions and low noise profile would change all of that. They could run straight thru the weekend on highways, day and night. Computers do not need resting times or breaks. Thats a total game changer. Computers, if programmed and tested properly are also far safer drivers than humans, they have orders of magnitudes faster reaction times and never fall asleep and they don't need rest.They also don't break the law by speeding and irresponsibly putting peoples lives at risk.

    So with autonomous electric trucks there is really a lot in the cards for a total conceptual game change, how we think about cargo transport on our streets. And yes of course it will completey change the economics and profitability of the game. Electric Trucks don't stink, can be built for silent transport and the saftey profile can be much improved thru the use of high performance computer technology.

    700 billion Industry? Go for it Tesla.

    p.s. there is so much more here, but I do not want to write a book in this forum. Tesla needs to relocate manufacturing to a low cost-of-living State/Region, (as far as cost of living and comfort of living goes, CA is one of the worst options) that would make far more sense then trying to compensate employees with stock-options that go underwater, which then forces the companys hand to do things that they really should not be doing just to prop up a basically unrealistic stock price for employee compensation, an utterly flawed and fallacious concept.
  9. L-squared

    L-squared New Member

    Sep 8, 2017
    Amen! What more can you say?

  10. Spudley

    Spudley Member

    Aug 13, 2018
    I love that headline because it can totally be interpreted in two completely opposite ways, depending on how you read the word "reservations". :-D

    Well duh. Of course it is.

    Even in the best case scenario for Tesla, they're only going to have a small chunk of the total trucking market for the foreseeable future. The rest of the industry isn't in any hurry to go electric and will it take them years to make the switch when they do finally decide to do it, so Mills is almost certainly completely correct with that quote even if the Tesla Semi is an immediate storming success.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. J.Taylor

    J.Taylor Active Member

    Feb 13, 2017
    "Diesel is the benchmark for energy efficiency. Diesel dominates the entire sector,"
    Well, he is correct about what we have now ...
    But can electric trucks meet that benchmark for energy efficiency? Turns out they can and easily best it by a large margin.
    So Diesel currently dominates and this will continue to be the case until Tesla's electric is being manufactured in sufficient quantities to change the market. The only question about this change to Electric trucks is guessing how many years it will take. We know it will be about 2 years till manufacturing begins ... then perhaps another 2 for a ramp up in production and the installation of recharge stations.

    *(Selling a new diesel truck in 5 years could become very difficult).
  12. HangTenKen

    HangTenKen New Member

    Sep 6, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Since they can swap tractors, it seems they can also swap trailers at their destination.

    Perhaps they can make semi trailers designed with a huge battery the length of the trailer under the floor which could hold additional charge to get the semi truck across country. Once at the destination, the trailer is dropped at its destination warehouse where it will charge while being unloaded. The rig can then go pick up another loaded trailer for another haul.
  13. cygnusexwon

    cygnusexwon Member

    Aug 23, 2018
    New York
    What a great idea.

Share This Page