Tesla has sparked the beginning of the world’s transition towards electric cars, but the electric trucking industry is still in its infancy.
While increased efficiency, lower cost, and better performance are nice perks for early adopters of electric passenger vehicles, in the trucking industry, these improvements are a matter of life or death, or more appropriately, profitability or bankruptcy. In the coming years, transportation companies must adapt to new technology, or risk getting left behind in a cloud of smoky diesel fumes.
The transportation sector contributes to a whopping 28% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the US, and class 8 heavy-duty trucks account for 17% of the total fuel consumed by highway vehicles, despite comprising only 1% of vehicle’s on the road. The electrification of medium and heavy duty trucks is an important and oft overlooked component of Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
The Tesla semi pays for itself in just two years by providing $200,000 in fuel savings, and from day one costs just $1.26 per mile to operate, compared to $1.51 of a comparable diesel truck. Like other electric vehicles, it will require less maintenance, because there are less moving parts.
In terms of performance, the electric big rig is capable of an incredibly swift acceleration from 0 to 60 MPH in only 5 seconds! Or in 20 seconds when the Semi Truck is fully loaded to it’s 80,000 lb capacity. An average diesel semi needs 15 seconds to go from 0 to 60 when empty, and a full minute when carrying a similar load!
The Tesla Semi’s incredible performance is due in part to its streamlined aerodynamic design. The semi has a drag coefficient of 0.36, which is incredibly low when compared to the 0.65 of a standard truck, but shockingly, it even has a lower drag coefficient than a Bugatti Chiron.
Tesla says the semi will consume less than 2 kwh of energy per mile and have a 500 mile range. Performing some highly advanced mathematics, we can ascertain we’re looking at a roughly 1,000 kwh battery pack. That’s 1 whole megawatt if your paying attention, 10 Times the size of the pack currently used in the Model S.
It’s possible that the Semi is already making use of the new and improved tabless 4680 battery cells that were presented on Tesla’s battery day. Elon said on twitter that they’ve already been using the jumbo cells in prototype vehicles for several months, and in one slide he showed a Semi and Cybertruck as examples for high nickel cathode cells in heavy vehicles.
Like all new #Tesla cars, the semi will come equipped with advanced hardware and software capable of providing enhanced autopilot features today, and full self-driving capabilities in the future.
The Tesla Semi will be capable of platooning.The benefits of platooning include greater fuel economy due to reduced air resistance, reduced traffic, and fewer accidents.
The Tesla semi will use four of the same permanent magnet electric motors that power the best selling Tesla Model 3, so each wheel on the rear drive axle will have its own independent motor. Each Tesla Model 3 motor is rated at 271 horsepower.
The Tesla semi has one gear and no transmission, ideal for taking advantage of the tremendous torque of the electric motors. The independently controlled motors are capable of dynamic adjustment too, improving safety and handling . At the unveiling event, Elon said, “It’s smooth. It’s just like driving a Tesla. It’s though you’re driving a Model S, a Model X, or Model 3, it’s just big.” What will the Cybertruck drive like?
The driver has a central position in the cabin, atypical for a truck and very much like a race car, and will be surrounded by two 15 inch touchscreen displays mounted on either side that will provide access to all kinds of functions such as: navigation, blind-spot monitoring, telematics, maintenance and fleet management systems. It is not a sleeper car.
Coming from the company that produces the world’s safest vehicles as demonstrated by NHTSA testing, the Tesla Semi Truck is being touted as the safest truck ever built.
Just to throw it out there, the large flat surface of a trailer seems like it would make an ideal platform for harvesting solar energy, but does it make sense?
During a conference call in 2020, Elon Musk said the Tesla is going to be produced at the new terafactory in Austin, Texas.
The semi might just be the most important Tesla yet. If the final production version lives up to Elon’s claims that it’s the safest, most energy efficient, most comfortable truck ever, this EV has the potential to revolutionize the global trucking industry.
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