Category: electric semi

Watch as Tesla Unveils the Vehicle That Could Change Trucking Forever

After months of delays, Tesla’s electric semi unveiling is finally happening. CEO Elon Musk promises to “blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension” during the live unveiling of the hotly anticipated vehicle, which you can stream below:

According to a report from Reuters, Tesla’s electric semi is expected to have a working range of between 321 and 482 kilometers (200 and 300 miles) on a single charge. Not much else is known about the mysterious vehicle, which was first shown in images shrouded in shadow.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Musk explained what Tesla is trying to accomplish with the new vehicle: “We just thought, ‘What do people want? They want reliability. They want the lowest cost. And they want driver comfort.’ So we reimagined the truck.”

On Twitter, however, Musk took a different, more fantastically tongue-in-cheek approach when describing the truck’s capabilities.

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The advent of the electric semi has the potential to significantly disrupt the commercial trucking industry.

Not only could the truck cut costs for long-haul operators, it could also greatly benefit the environment since heavy duty trucks generate an estimated 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions even though they only account for about 5 percent of vehicles on the road.

Now that day of Tesla’s electric semi unveiling is finally here, the world no longer has speculate as to just how disruptive Musk’s newest vehicle could be. We can see for ourselves.

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Tesla Confirms a November Debut for Their Electric Semi

Tesla’s electric semi truck unveiling has been pushed back twice, but the company has now sent out press invites confirming a November 16 reveal, according to TechCrunch.

Earlier this month, Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk shared the reasons for the delay via Twitter, citing the need to address Model 3 production issues and increase battery production meant to support Puerto Rican relief efforts.

With the launch just over a week away, we still don’t know much about Tesla’s electric semi, other than it will supposedly have a range of 321 to 483 kilometers (200 to 300 miles). The company previously released a shadowy image featuring the now-iconic headlights, and a new, equally shadowy image was included with the press invites.

Tesla's electric semi
Image credit: Tesla

Experts say that the advent of electric trucking, particularly Tesla’s electric semi, could completely disrupt the auto industry. One analyst even predicts it will be “the biggest catalyst in trucking in decades,” noting that Tesla’s electric semi would be 70 percent cheaper to operate than today’s long-haul trucks.

Beyond being cheaper, electric semis would also be much better for the environment — long-haul trucking accounts for some 20 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the transportation industry.

Tesla, however, isn’t the only company working to disrupt long-haul trucking. Last month, Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler beat Tesla to the punch by unveiling their own version of an electric semi truck, while Toyota started test driving their hydrogen-fuel-powered heavy-duty trucks on the streets of Los Angeles.

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Daimler, Parent Company of Mercedes, Unveils an Electric Truck Ahead of Tesla

At the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday, Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler AG unveiled their first fully-electric truck called the E-FUSO Vision One. With the release, the German automaker is now racing ahead of Tesla’s highly anticipated electric semi, which CEO and founder Elon Musk had promised earlier this year.

“Our E-FUSO Vision One is an outlook on a feasible all-electric heavy-duty truck. It underlines our commitment to electrify our complete product range,” Marc Llistosella, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation —the company under which the electric truck was launched— and Head of Daimler Trucks Asia, said in a press release.

The E-FUSO Vision One is a heavy-duty hauler capable of carrying up to 11 tons of cargo, a little lighter than that concept truck they showed back in July 2016, for a maximum range of 350 kilometers (220 miles). Aside from this, not much detail has yet been released about the electric truck.

e-fuso vision one daimler electric truck tesla
Daimler Trucks
Meanwhile, Tesla’s electric semi launch has been delayed twice now. Originally set for a September launch, Musk had to move the date to October 26. It was delayed again to November 16, due to Model 3 production concerns. Competition between Tesla and Daimler has been stiff recently, as the veteran carmaker moves to get a stronger foothold in the growing EV market.

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Elon Musk Postpones Reveal of Tesla’s Electric Semi

A Slight Delay

Today Elon Musk tweeted that the Tesla electric semi would now be unveiled later than originally planned on November 16:

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Musk cited the need to divert resources to fix bottlenecks in Model 3 production as one of the reasons, telling followers that they are now “deep in production hell.” He also pointed out that the production ramp for the Model 3 is an exponential curve, and that each day makes a difference in terms of when non-employee reservation holders can expect to see their Model 3s: “Literally every day makes a big difference.”

Musk confirmed that late October is a possibility for these reservation holders, but not a certainty. Musk also mentioned that the semi reveal date is being pushed back so that the company can increase battery production for areas affected by natural disasters, including Puerto Rico. Musk and Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rossello, began making plans for Tesla to help rebuild the island’s electrical infrastructure on Twitter on Friday.

Electric Semis

The world continues to eagerly await the electric semi. Experts have asserted that the truck will totally disrupt the auto industry, and that diesel companies who don’t respond to the coming changes in the industry — which have been deemed unstoppable — will be left behind. Long haul trucking is responsible for around 20 percent of the transportation industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.

With autonomous capabilities, vehicles like the electric semi will do more than help us clean up our emissions act. They will render the transportation industry far safer, ending the trend of long haul trucking being a dangerous profession. Whether the November date is the final word or not, the electric semi is coming soon, and when it does it will be saving lives.

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This Image May Be Our Very First Glimpse of Tesla’s New Semi

Thanks to some internet sleuths over at Reddit, we may have our first real-world glimpse of Tesla’s upcoming electric semi truck. With only a little more than three weeks until the October 26th unveiling date announced by CEO Elon Musk via Twitter last month, this is a promising development.

Photo: Reddit
Photo: Reddit

The photo shows a truck which looks similar to the mysterious photo released at Musk’s TED conference appearance in April. The truck in the most recent photo resembles the design of the original photo’s silhouette. Tesla was asked to comment but would only state, “Tesla’s policy is to always decline to comment on speculation.”

The semi truck’s range was allegedly leaked back in August by a Syder System Inc. executive who claimed a proposed range of 321-483 kilometers (200-300 miles) on a single charge. It will also be an important first move toward automating the shipping industry, which can help to increase efficiency and prevent accidents caused by overworked drivers or other human factors.

Tesla has swept through the electric vehicle industry, completely revolutionizing how we can get around. If Tesla’s more commercial offering takes off similarly to its personal transport models, we can expect a rapid transformation of how goods are transported that could even boost the adoption of electric vehicles across the spectrum as infrastructure is put in place to support the boom.

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Leaked Emails: Tesla Will Soon Test “Platoons” of Electric, Driverless Trucks on Public Roads

Tesla’s Other Self-Driving Vehicle

It’s no secret that Tesla has plans to build an electric semi-truck: the idea was floating around as early as September 2016. CEO and founder Elon Musk confirmed in April this year that an electric truck was indeed in the works, and a working prototype is expected to come out this September. Now, a leaked email exchange between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), seen by Reuters, reveal that the company is developing electric, self-driving semis that move in “platoons” trailing a lead vehicle.

The email conversations dated from May and June 2017 included Tesla and various representatives of the Nevada DMV discussing potential road trials for prototype semis — which could be the first such test run on the city’s roads for autonomous trucks without a person in the cab. In one of these exchanges, Tesla regulatory official Nasser Zamani wrote to DMV official April Sanborn about the agenda for a July 16 meeting.

“To insure we are on the same page, our primary goal is the ability to operate our prototype test trucks in a continuous manner across the state line and within the States of Nevada and California in a platooning and/or Autonomous mode without having a person in the vehicle,” Zamani wrote. Then, on July 10, Zamani asked the DMV for testing license terms. No particular date was mentioned, however, as to when this road testing would be.

Nevada DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez told Reuters that Tesla requested for a meeting with California officials on Wednesday “to talk about Tesla’s efforts with autonomous trucks,” as well as to introduce new staff.

The Road to Autonomous Trucks

Tesla is hardly the first to work on developing driverless trucks. Its most popular competition comes from Uber and Waymo, Google’s former autonomous vehicle development company now under its parent firm Alphabet Inc. Both Uber, working with startup Otto, and Waymo have already done tests with their self-driving trucks, which puts Tesla a little bit behind. European luxury car brand Mercedes Benz also revealed back in 2015 that it’s working on its own driverless truck, as well as an autonomous bus.

There are also a number of Silicon Valley startups working on platooning technology for fleets of long-haul trucks. Among these is automated vehicle technology company Peloton, whose current work involves several truck makers including Volvo. Peloton considers platooning as an important precursor to autonomy when it comes to long-haul driverless trucks, in order to increase safety and efficiency.

With all these efforts, it seems that self-driving trucks are close to becoming a reality. Yet Tesla is unique in developing an all-electric version — and for good reason. One of the greatest challenges truck manufacturers and autonomous vehicle companies face is battery range limitations. Venkat Viswanathan, a lithium ion battery researcher from Carnegie Mellon, told Reuters that long-haul electric trucks aren’t commercially feasible yet. Such trucks would require huge batteries, he said, so the “cargo essentially becomes the battery.”

Perhaps this is an area where Tesla has an edge over its competitors, thanks to its experience with developing powerful batteries. In any case, with barely a month before the promised prototype, we can’t wait to see just what Musk’s electric autonomous semi could offer. If you’re driving through Nevada, keep an eye out — the road testing might soon follow afterwards.

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Expert Asserts That Tesla’s Electric Semi Will Totally Disrupt the Auto Industry

Disruption Ahead

Last week, Elon Musk announced that the “seriously next-level” Tesla semi truck would be coming this September. In response, Piper Jaffray analyst Alex Potter published a note on April 18 indicating that he is downgrading truck makers Paccar and Cummins, partly because “their valuations already reflect cyclical optimism, but also because we think TSLA’s impending arrival could pressure valuations.”

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Potter’s vote of confidence in Tesla’s potential impact on transportation was met with incredulity from some in the auto making industry, as neither the Tesla Model 3 or its semi have launched yet. According to CNBC, Potter further clarified his position in a separate note strictly on Cummins:

“Cummins makes diesel engines, but companies like Tesla (among others) are aiming to supplant CMI’s products. These Silicon Valley disrupters are not confining their ambitions to sedans; instead, they have announced plans for electric semis, electric pickups, electric buses, and various other products that defy the preeminence of diesel engines. CMI enthusiasts will note that EVs won’t replace diesel trucks in the coming 2 years (not in a material way, at least) and we agree. But when/if electric drivetrains are proven viable in the first commercial vehicle segments, we think incumbents’ valuations could fall rapidly thereafter.”

Laugh All You Want

And in a separate note dealing solely with Paccar, Potter reportedly wrote,

“Tesla’s presence looms large; laugh all you want, but this trend cannot be ignored. In the automotive segment, Tesla and others have wrought substantial disruption, forcing incumbents to change their hiring practices, increase R&D spending, and ultimately, suffer lower multiples. PCAR may be less at risk than others — and it’s probably too early to start ringing alarm bells — but with the stock trading near the high-end of its historical valuation range, we wouldn’t be adding to positions.”

Although Potter acknowledged both that Tesla is not the first to produce an electric truck and that details about the truck remain unknown, he made it clear that he believes investors should consider Tesla’s disruptive potential in the market now. Potter forecast Tesla shares at $368 on Monday, April 10 — the highest price forecast it had ever received from an analyst at a major firm.

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