The things that Tesla is claiming its all-electric truck, Tesla Semi, can do are so incredible that the diesel truck industry has to think it’s simply not true.
Now they are asking ‘where’s the proof?’
When unveiling the vehicle last year, Tesla announced an expected range of 500 miles on a single charge with a 80,000-lb capacity.
After Tesla revealed the pricing of its electric semi trucks last year, we learned that the regular production version for the 300-mile and 500-mile range models will be $150,000 and $180,000 respectively. The company is also listing a ‘Founders Series’ version for $200,000.
Tesla expects that the price and specs will enable a cost of operation of $1.26 per mile, which should result in Tesla Semi providing $200,000+ in fuel savings and a two-year payback period.
Unsurprisingly, the industry is skeptical.
Daimler’s head of trucks, Martin Daum, told reporters earlier this year that “Tesla Semi defies laws of physics if true”.
Now others in the industry are weighing in and they also prefer to think that it is not true.
Allen Schaeffer, executive director at the Diesel Technology Forum trade group, commented (via Bloomberg):
“It’s easy if you’re just coming into this market to say ‘they’re $1.50 per mile and we can do it for $1.20. But where’s the proof? I haven’t seen it.”
Jon Mills, a spokesman for engine maker Cummins, also commented:
“Right now, we don’t think it’s viable. Electric trucks are more viable where you have shorter routes, less loads and you’re able to recharge.”
That’s despite Cummins, a massive diesel engine manufacturer, working on its own electric trucks and it even recently acquired electric drivetrain startup Brammo to help bring its electric trucks to market.
“Diesel will be the primary option for heavy duty trucking markets, long haul especially, for a decade or more,”
But Tesla plans to launch its Tesla Semi as soon as next year and if they can actually deliver on those specs, the diesel industry could get a rude awakening.
I get why they don’t want to believe Tesla because if they deliver on it, it would be disastrous for them.
That said, I think they should take Tesla more seriously because no matter what happens with Tesla Semi, there’s no way electric trucks won’t work for long haul over the next decade.
Therefore, when they say things like it’s not happening for a decade, it leads me to think they won’t be ready for it.
Over the last year since the unveiling of Tesla Semi, I’ve grown more and more optimistic about the electric truck and Tesla’s ability to deliver on their claims.
After hearing all the doubts from the trucking industry, I think it will be quite a shock for them.
That said, where’s the proof? is fair. Tesla needs to give a thorough demonstration of the truck. We have been tracking the test program and it does seem to often complete long routes.
It would be nice for Tesla to release some of that data soon.
Featured Image: Tesla Semi by Jerome Guillen, the head of Tesla’s electric truck program.
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