Tesla Semi Trucks: CEO Reveals Part II of a Master Plan
There has been a lot of buzz about the Master Plan of Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, specifically the part II of that plan, and this week he made it official.
In addition to branching out into producing “solar-roof-with-battery” that people can have fitted to their homes, and for Tesla Motors to start making all types of ground vehicles, a big reveal hit the industry, well, like a Semi truck. Oh yes, heavy duty trucks are a part of the big picture by the ambitious CEO who published his vision in a transcript after teasing it for days, on twitter.
From the looks of it, we have only a year to wait and see these designs of his revolutionary concept. By reduction in carbon emissions, Tesla will introduce electric Semi trucks, a seriously big commitment since Musk believes in a world free of fossil fuel powered vehicles, and that includes the entire transportation system. This vision lent itself to production of commercial trucks. One of the founding figures of Tesla Motors its Chief Technical Officer, JB Straubel says he remembers the time when Elon talked about electric airplanes before decided to go into car manufacturing. Straubel says that Elon has a plan for cargo ships floating the oceans as well which are major sources of pollution.
In his published documents, Elon stated his plan to “accelerate the advent of sustainable energy”. As a champion of the cause he went further saying: “Given that we must get off fossil fuels anyway and that virtually all scientists agree that dramatically increasing atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels is insane, the faster we achieve sustainability, the better.”
Diesel engines especially heavy-duty diesel trucks put out emissions in big numbers. Diesel powered tractors can be on the road for decades at a time, or more as they go on releasing toxins for millions of miles before they are replaced. The pollution control systems on older trucks, even today are quite unsophisticated.
Right now, in Southern California, the pollution from drayage trucks carrying shipping containers has become a major issue starting a conversation to replace them with electric versions. Siemens proposed a solution in which it trucks will have an attachment of pantographs and draw electricity from overhead wires along highways and roads where such wire works can be allowed and possible.
A battery to power such massive vehicles can’t be small and that is a challenge for Semis where most of its space should be allocated as an area for cargo. In addition, the cost of such vehicles and the battery are still unclear. Therefore how Tesla plans to make such an efficient semi with a decent space for hauling goods, in addition to the space required for its batteries is also something that remains to be seen.
However, the appeal not only has professionals buzzing, but has given ideas to opportunists who are looking to make a profit from it all by getting into the ring planning on manufacturing trucks and products that may not be as functionable and serious as what Elon Musk has in mind.
Oakridge Global Energy Solutions in Florida had claimed that it has developed a battery with the ability to haul an 80,000 lb. load for 400 miles. Their claim was later proven to be false.
Nikola Motors is also jumping in for a piece of the trucking action claiming that their Nikola One tractor will have 2,000 horsepower. 3,700 lb-ft of torque, a 325 kWh battery, 6 wheel drive with torque vector of 1,200 miles range. It relies on an onboard natural gas turbine to keep the battery charged while driving.
So far, visually, Nikola One is an eye-pleaser, and the company says it has 7,000 pre-orders already, totaling the orders to $2.3 billion. But the model in discussion does not have a factory for its proposed vehicle, or its battery factory, and other than a website, no corporate structure seems to be in place, but all of that can change. All eyes are on this new exciting venture and the trucking industry will circle the topic of sustainable Semi trucks and other commercial transportation vehicles for a while and more.