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Tesla reveals its electric semi truck

By midian182 · 16 replies
Nov 17, 2017
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  1. Not only did Tesla unveil “the fastest production car in the world” at its press event yesterday, but Elon Musk also revealed what is probably the quickest road-legal truck ever built. Early this year the CEO promised the semi truck would be “seriously next level,” and it appears that he wasn’t exaggerating.

    Able to travel 500 miles on a single charge, the class 8 semi truck can go from zero to 60 mph in 5 seconds, or twenty seconds while carrying 80,000 pounds, and can comfortably travel at 65 mph. While no pricing has been revealed, Musk said it would cost 20 percent less per mile than a diesel truck.

    Charging speed–a crucial factor when it comes to electric vehicles’ viability for commercial use—is also impressive. Musk claimed that 30 minutes of charging would give it a range of 400 miles. “By the time you are done with your break, the truck is ready to go. You will not be waiting for your truck to charge,” he said.

    Drivers will be able to charge their big rigs using a new type of charging station called Megachargers, which will be even more powerful than the current Supercharger network Tesla has in place for its cars. The units will be solar powered and appear across the globe, allowing truckers to "travel anywhere in the world via the Megachargers."

    The truck’s cab, which isn’t a sleeper, looks suitably futuristic, with two large touchscreens for navigation and blind spot monitoring flanking the steering wheel. While it’s not self-driving, the vehicle will feature Tesla’s semi-autonomous Enhanced Autopilot system.

    The truck comes with a windshield made of “thermonuclear explosion-proof glass,” and the electric motors on each wheel means jack-knifing is impossible. The lack of transmission and diesel engine should make everything easier to maintain, too. “We’re guaranteeing this truck will not break down for a million miles,” Musk said. “You can use two of those four motors and it’ll still beat a diesel truck.”

    Tesla estimates that its electric vehicle should cost $1.26 per mile, whereas a diesel truck comes in at around $1.51 per mile. The savings increase when Tesla trucks operate in convey mode.

    Musk said the production of the truck would begin in 2019.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 505   +624

    Looks great. Looks like the future. Tesla's production targets are nonsense though. Model 3 is at least 6 months behind the original schedule at this point

    0-60 in 5 seconds unladen would be amusing at the lights. Would shock a few drivers.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017
    Reehahs, DaveBG and andrewdoyle88 like this.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,283

    Trucks!!! The bane of my motoring life... But this one looks very interesting, I wouldn't be constantly held up by them. In fact I'll be the one holding them up. That said, 80 000 lbs means nothing to me, I don't do imperial measurements but it sure sounds like a lot and it sure doesn't sound safe travelling at 100+ km/h.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,448   +2,902

    These devices will be MOST useful when existing rail lines are converted to "truck lanes" to help lessen the amount of total traffic on today's highways. While it won't totally eliminate it, the separation will ease congestion as well as driver concerns. It will also make a better use of existing real estate. If the trucks could have convertible wheels that will make use of the rails it would save considerable expense of paving over existing lines until such time as it makes better economic sense to do so. While the existing train system functions, it's maintenance, repair, and accident rate have left it a big "question" in efficiency.

    While Musk's claims about cost effectiveness are certainly encouraging, actuality has yet to be seen and it is doubtful that he has included battery upgrades and change outs, especially when most of these larger rigs see hundreds of thousands of miles in their lifetimes .....
  5. poodog911

    poodog911 TS Rookie

    A couple things. First...WHY put the driver in the middle of the cab? The result will be two blind sides instead of one. Driving is very easy in a truck ONCE you understand the size. The hard part in driving is NOT going forward it is backing up. Putting the driver in the middle makes backing harder in both directions. WRONG APPROACH!
    Second.....WHAT does it weigh? Truck bobtail.....and truck and trailer? 80,000 is max gross weight. My trucks and refrigerated trailers are 33,000 with half tank of fuel. That gives me a payload of up to 45,000 lbs. By NOT saying the weight......once again.....we are getting MUSKED!
  6. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,007   +1,400

    I don't see that happening. I like the idea, but to my knowledge trains are much are still more efficient for now. However, I have not see any considerable improvements to the train engine design besides some additional computer systems and remote controls which has improved safety.
  7. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe Banned Posts: 837   +441

    What's the ROI period for the owners?
  8. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +252

    This is very impressive. It looked to me that powering a large lorry with batteries must be a very long way off but Tesla are already well advanced on this.

    Ford are wary of saying what they are planning in the way of electric vehicles. Maybe they have totally misjudged the speed with which things are now progressing and have nothing that's close to production. I worry that my first electric car may be a Dyson sporting lots of plastic trim in fluorescent orange, purple and green.

    It's high time that current car manufacturers started offering electric vehicles for the mass market instead of trying to slow the process down. The infernal combustion engine is close to becoming obsolete. Could front runners Ford and GM go the way of stage coach makers within a generation?

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,559   +671

    Wow that is a lot of promises there Musk... Sounds too good to be true. So, I'll believe it when I see it.

    Now this author's statement of "and the electric motors on each wheel means jack-knifing is impossible." seems far fetched. I don't think the drive wheels really have anything to do with jack-knifing. From what I've seen that is usually a result of the tractor having considerably more deceleration power than the trailer.

    Now a tandem kingpin, with both the tractor kingpins rotating on a single axis together and being limited to say 35 degrees left and right would potentially prevent jack-knifing, assuming the is physically strong enough to handle the load which could be utterly massive.
  10. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 630   +403

    Kudos for Tesla for starting the electric car revolution. Volvo's trucks are still the best as of today but this announcement should send shockwaves to the truck industry.
  11. andrewdoyle88

    andrewdoyle88 TS Addict Posts: 135   +125

    It's almost twice as fast as my civic... I usually avoid intersection lanes with trucks in them, not anymore!
  12. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,368   +1,390

    The WSJ cites a Goldman Sachs report suggesting that demand [for lithium] could triple within 10 years to 570,000 tons a year. Musk said earlier this week that for Tesla to meet its target of 500,000 cars a year, “we would basically need to absorb the entire world’s lithium-ion production.”

    Massive allocation problem for world wide usage of battery powered devices ( all those cellphones!).

    Is this a futures market opportunity??
    Reehahs likes this.
  13. poodog911

    poodog911 TS Rookie

    The problem with train transport of sensitive food products, Blueberries, Strawberries, Organic Produce, Pharmaceuticals. Is that these products are very time sensitive. My trucks will go cross country from the origination to the final location in three days with a team or five days solo. A train from the west coast to say Albany New York, takes 12 days. THEN it STILL needs a truck to get to it's actual delivery location. You cannot take that length of time with many perishables unless you put a 30 yard dumpster at the receiving end. Virtually everything in your life came by a truck.....and till they can say..."Scotty, beam it up"! Trucks will continue to be the most effective way from point A to point B!
  14. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 505   +624

    The problem is even more the lack of ethically sourced cobalt than lithium with current battery chemistry from what I understand. Good chance of a steep price hike there if demand really does get near what Tesla hopes it will.
  15. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,073   +1,548

    IMO, making an accurate prediction for 10-years down the road is difficult at best. Unless research into battery technology is killed by some lame government policy, it is difficult to say what the battery technology of tomorrow will be. There is significant research happening in the field, and supercapacitors are also still being researched. I am not saying that anything will come of this research - it may not. Just that storage technology could easily change by significantly by then.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,559   +671

    Some interesting discussion here... battery-powered electric cars may not be so permanent of an idea after all. One of the big points against crude oil was that it will theoretically run dry eventually. Well the materials used to create lithium ion batteries, or similar batteries could also be all used up with nothing left. Which is why I think hydrogen fuel is still the best way to go as it is a truly renewable resource. That being said there is plenty of research and studies going on that may and hopefully will provide other options.
  17. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 505   +624

    In 10 years it is highly possible if not likely battery chemistry will be different. However even potentials like Lithium Air batteries still propose the use of a cobalt matrix. If we are still dealing with lithium batteries in 10 years it is probable cobalt will be involved.

    Just short term cobalt will be a major problem for Tesla. In these 3 years that they say they are going to make all these Model 3s. Tesla's main problems are not investor impatience or research costs, but the supply chain of raw materials for their batteries if they want to build in the volumes they keep saying they will.

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