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Tesla Semi could be ‘the biggest catalyst in trucking in decades’ and 70% cheaper to operate, says analyst

Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas is one of the top analyst covering Tesla and now he seems pretty excited about the imminent launch of Tesla Semi, the automaker’s upcoming all-electric truck.

In a new note to clients today, Jonas even suggested that the reveal of the truck could be “the biggest catalyst in trucking in decades”.

He wrote in the note:

“We believe TSLA’s reveal of its autonomous, electric Class 8 semi-truck this month could be the biggest catalyst in Trucking in decades and potentially set off separation between the technology leaders and the laggards among carriers, shippers, truck OEMs and suppliers.”

Jonas then lists a series of “key questions” which he then tries to answer:

  • When will the truck go on sale? (we think 2020)
  • How much will it cost? (we think $100k if separately leasing batteries)
  • What can it do? (we think it could be an all-purpose Class 8 semi-truck rather than a limited application vehicle)
  • How cost effective will it be? (we estimate an autonomous-electric truck can be up to 70% cheaper to operate than a regular truck).

The analyst is of the opinion that Tesla Semi will have a range of 200-300 miles – primarily to support regional trucking routes.

Furthermore, he expects Tesla to announce some major trucking partnerships for companies to operate early fleets of the new electric truck.

The actual date of the unveiling is still unknown, but CEO Elon Musk said it would happen in September. Jonas also noted that it could be linked to the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta on September 25.

Electrek’s Take

Well, if Jonas is right about Tesla Semi potentially being up to 70% cheaper to operate than a regular truck, then there’s no doubt that he is right about the fact that it could be ‘the biggest catalyst in trucking in decades’.

But it’s hard to say whether or not he is right about the 70% better economics.

Morgan Stanley’s model is built around a battery leasing program with a cost per mile and a sale price of ~$100,000 for the actual truck, which are only assumptions for the time being.

Nonetheless, the event is exciting for even the possibility of a cost improvement of this magnitude in the transport industry.

And if you needed more to get excited about the Tesla Semi unveil, Musk hyped the event even more at the shareholders meeting in June:

“I really recommend showing up for the semi truck unveiling – maybe there’s a little more than what we are saying here.”

Excited Yet? There’s been a lot of speculation about what it could be, but no consensus yet. Maybe the long-awaited Supercharger Version 3 to enabled higher charge rates for Tesla Semi?

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