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)
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.
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.
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.
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.