The Tesla Semi – a Diesel Truck Killer
Elon Musk at the special event in California revealed the future of trucking by announcing electric Tesla Semi truck. It seems that if this “electric beast” has agenda, among top priorities is to kill diesel trucks.
Electric cars company sees the Semi as the safest, most comfortable truck ever. According to Tesla, the Semi will deliver a far better experience for truck drivers, while increasing safety and significantly reducing the cost of cargo transport.
Talking about performance, without a trailer Tesla Semi achieves 0-60 mph in five seconds, compared to 15 seconds in a comparable diesel truck. It does 0-60 mph in 20 seconds with a full 80,000-pound load, a task that takes a diesel truck about a minute. Most notably for truck drivers and other travelers on the road, it climbs 5% grades at a steady 65 mph, whereas a diesel truck maxes out at 45 mph on a 5% grade. The Tesla Semi requires no shifting or clutching for smooth acceleration and deceleration, and its regenerative braking recovers 98% of kinetic energy to the battery, giving it a basically infinite brake life.
Unlike other trucks, the Semi’s cabin is designed specifically around the driver, featuring unobstructed stairs for easier entry and exit, full standing room inside, and a centered driver position for optimal visibility. Two touchscreen displays positioned symmetrically on both sides of the driver provide easy access to navigation, blind spot monitoring and electronic data logging. Built-in connectivity integrates directly with a fleet’s management system to support routing and scheduling, and remote monitoring. Diesel trucks today currently require several third party devices for similar functionality.
Megachargers, a new high-speed DC charging solution, will add about 400 miles in 30 minutes and can be installed at origin or destination points and along heavily trafficked routes, enabling recharging during loading, unloading, and driver breaks.
The Tesla Semi’s all-electric architecture is designed to have a higher safety standard than any other heavy-duty truck on the market, with a reinforced battery that shields the Semi from impact and gives it an exceptionally low center of gravity. Its windshield is made of impact resistant glass. Jackknifing is prevented due to the Semi's onboard sensors that detect instability and react with positive or negative torque to each wheel while independently actuating all brakes. The surround cameras aid object detection and minimize blind spots, automatically alerting the driver to safety hazards and obstacles. With Enhanced Autopilot, the Tesla Semi features Automatic Emergency Braking, Automatic Lane Keeping, Lane Departure Warning, and event recording.
Its battery is similar in composition to the batteries of Tesla energy products and is designed to support repeated charging cycles for over a million miles, while its motors are derived from the motors used in Model 3 and have been validated to last more than one million miles under the most demanding conditions.
All-in, Tesla promises that the Semi delivers massive savings in energy costs, performance, efficiency and reliability.
The biggest immediate cost-advantage comes from savings in energy costs: fully loaded, the Tesla Semi consumes less than two kilowatt-hours of energy per mile and is capable of 500 miles of range at GVW and highway speed, accommodating a wide range of shipping applications given that nearly 80% of freight in the U.S. is moved less than 250 miles. Coupled with the low and stable nature of electricity prices – which average $0.12/kWh in the U.S. and can be significantly less for commercial and industrial users, falling to almost nothing when combined with local solar generation and storage – owners can expect to gain $200,000 or more in savings over a million miles based on fuel costs alone.
Prices and production
Tesla plans to start the Semi production in 2019. Initially for the Tesla Semi reservations were asked only $5,000 USD per truck, but after perfect start it was increased up to $20,000 USD. The prices starting from $150,000 (base version, 300 miles range). For the 500 miles range version is expected $180,000 base price. Girteka Logistics, one of Europe’s largest road transport companies, based in Lithuania, announced that they are the first company in Europe ordered the new Tesla truck.
"Girteka Logistics want to be the greenest transportation company available, and electric trucks are the future. We currently have a fleet of almost 4.000 trucks in Europe and “the electric beast” will be our first electric truck," states Edvardas Liachovičius, CEO of Girteka Logistics.