Earlier this month, we discussed the Tesla Semi and how it may be a more affordable solution according to cost-per-mile. We also explored how the truck’s semi-autonomous features could be a solution to the industry’s shortage of drivers. However, the new truck is exciting everyone in the trucking industry. Some critics have cited specific issues with the Tesla Semi that they argue make the new all-electric vehicles an unworthy replacement for their diesel-powered elders.
Why Tesla Semi May Not Be Ready to Replace Traditional Trucks
The most obvious criticism of the Tesla Semi concerns the truck’s range and cost. In November of 2017, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that the truck will be offered with two ranges. The first is a 300-mile version that will cost about $150,000, and the second is a 500-mile version for $180,000. Even though the trucks will be able to have a 400-mile range after 30 minutes of charging and Musk says the actual range will be closer to 600 miles, skeptics are not convinced these will replace traditional rigs. With a range of about 2,000 miles, traditional semis still have a significant advantage over Tesla Semi.
Weight is another challenge that Tesla must overcome to be a competitor in the trucking world. In April of 2017, a group of researchers from the Carnegie Mellon College of Engineering found that the weight of the batteries needed would make the Tesla Semi’s load too heavy to carry significant loads. Research has estimated that the truck’s weight limitation would make it cost twice as much as traditional diesel machines.
Is Semi-Autonomous Technology Ready for the Road?
Self-driving vehicles have been a focus of debate as they have become more prevalent on American roads. Those opposed to autonomous vehicles cite numerous deadly accidents that have occurred involving vehicles that are either self-driving or semi-autonomous. Advocates for self-driving technology argue that human error often plays the largest role in accidents involving autonomous cars.
Like its series of electric cars, Tesla’s semi will have a feature known as Convoy. When in Convoy Mode, a Tesla Semi will have the ability to lead two other semi-autonomous vehicles. This feature enables one driver to accomplish the job of three. Though the future of this feature is currently unknown, it is likely that regulations will emerge as the Tesla Semi increases its presence on American roads.
Will Tesla Semi Meet Expectations?
Only time will tell if Tesla Semi will meet the expectations laid down by the company. Without any trucks being released to the public, we have been forced to rely on the numbers given by Tesla for their own product. Currently, the vehicles are scheduled to enter production in 2019. Companies such as UPS, FedEx, Walmart, Pepsi, and Anheuser-Busch have already ordered dozens of the vehicles, so the trucking industry will soon know if Tesla will deliver the promises carried by its trucks.
This is part 2 of a series examining Tesla Semi. Read part 1 by clicking here.