Manufacturing News from the Engineered Designer Perspective

Elon Musk’s green vision extends to the Tesla Semi, capable of hauling 80,000 pounds for up to 400 miles on a single 30 minute charge

Elon Musk’s green vision extends to all forms of transportation — and the press launch of the new electric Tesla Semi was dramatic for its silence. As the slick rigs drive up to the assembled launch crowd, hushed in anticipation, there is no engine sound — just the occasional thrum of tires. Then, Elon Musk jumps out of the cab of the new Semi and the crowd erupts in cheers. [Video below.]


 

Is this for real?

A lot of pundits, from Forbes to analysts are wondering if this is all real. After all, the specs are jaw-dropping in terms of hauling ability, let alone for an EV:

  • 80,000 pound hauling load at up to 65mph even on a grade of up to 5 percent?
  • Range of 500 miles? (Just what size of battery is in this thing?)
  • Energy consumption: less than 2 kWh / mile
  • Lifetime fuel savings $200,000 plus
  • Acceleration 0-60mph with 80,000 lb load: 20 seconds
  • Four independent electric motors on rear axles
  • Slippery aerodynamics, with drag coefficient of a sports car (CD=0.36)

 

The Tesla Semi’s specs are beyond amazing. If they are accurate, there’s a solid case to be made for the electric Semi in the transportation fleets of large logistics companies.

 

Is it for real? We have to be optimistic, as they are already taking reservations on the website. Elon Musk’s dreams tend to become reality. He dreamed of mainstream EV and made it happen. He dreamed of a re-landable spacecraft and made it happen. If Elon Musk says it’s real, we give him the benefit of the doubt.

 

The Tesla Semi’s advanced cockpit includes autopilot features, bound to be popular as a safety feature on modern highways for long-hauls.

 

Logistics a 10.6 trillion industry by 2020

According to Forbes, the global logistics industry is estimated at 10.6 trillion Euros by 2020. Is there room in the fleets of the world for EV to push aside venerable — but dirty — diesel? If the claim of lifetime $200,000 fuel savings for the vehicle is even remotely close, then yes.  In the US. alone, transportation is an over $700 billion industry.

 

The slick aerodynamics — a CD of a sports car — help this EV haul 80,000 pounds up to 500 miles on a charge.

 

When combined with mega chargers, developed by Tesa (30-minute charge nets 400 miles), and sophisticated batteries and aerodynamics, the whole rig becomes not just possible — it’s the future arrived for big rig transportation. Even if there are delays and bumps along the way, with Elon Musk’s will, the Tesla Semi will be seen on highways soon enough.

 

Tela Semi. The logistics and tranportation companies that put these on the highways — with logos painted on — will earn some pretty significant positive social points and PR.

 

Empty miles

Tesla Semi could be the ideal solution for long-haul trucking. In the long haul, there are multiple long-waits (traffic jams, loading and unloading, customs). The Tesla Semi is digital and has the potential to integrate with automated freight management for maximized fleet utilisation. There would be no wasted fuel at the many stops and idles along the way.

The biggest issue will be sourcing the cobalt needed for the massive Lithium-ion batteries — but with markets opening up, it’s certainly feasible.

 

The massive lithium-ion batteries reside low centre of gravity between the axles.

 

 

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