Tesla to unveil electric big rig

Posted by  $  blarman 11 months, 1 week ago to Business
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While this is interesting, the article is fatally flawed: it doesn't cite the costs of electricity to recharge the batteries, nor does it mention the recharge time for those batteries and as a result is attempting to tout unreasonably high cost savings from using electric rigs.

Having worked for a trucking company, here are the yet-unsolved problems associated with electric big rigs:
1) Range. Even short-haul delivery trucks put on a LOT of miles in a day. The current limit of 200-300 miles isn't going to cut it for most delivery routes.
2) Recharge times. A truck that isn't running isn't making you money. That's the benefit to liquid fuel: you can be back on the road in 15 minutes. A recharge takes hours. Proponents cite the mandatory downtime requirements, but those only apply to single drivers - not teams who need to get product moved quickly.
3) Recharging stations. These aren't exactly plentiful for big rigs, meaning that any notion of OTR (over-the-road) can be shot down right now.
4) Battery costs. The Bloomberg author acknowledges that Tesla is attempting to compete in a very low-margin industry. The problem is that to add the battery packs necessary to extend range prices them completely out of that very industry. Oops.

I just don't get how many people are willing to "invest" billions in this company which isn't turning a profit and isn't likely to any time soon.

A better article than the Bloomberg one is here: https://www.wired.com/2017/06/elon-mu...
SOURCE URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-15/what-tesla-s-semi-truck-must-do-to-seduce-truckers


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  • Posted by freedomforall 11 months, 1 week ago
    You got it, blarman, Bloomberg = tout. That is how Wall Street thieves have become rich and powerful for a century. Thieves and looters. Then they tout the powerful state because it can be used to kill off any competition that would reduce their power and wealth.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 11 months, 1 week ago
    No doubt Musk will have a solution that requires a few trillion dollar investment by taxpayers with a few hundred billion going to Musk.
    OTOH, maybe Musk thinks that his trucks won't have to pay the taxes currently embedded in diesel fuel. State governments will pop that bubble quickly. Or maybe Musk is expecting his bought reps in government to add more climate change regulations that eliminate the competition from diesel trucks completely. Leave it to Musk to profit at taxpayers and consumers expense.
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  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 11 months, 1 week ago
    Solving the biggest non-problem on the road.

    Big trucks are all turbo diesels.
    Diesels are very efficient to begin with.
    Scale (size) increases efficiency.
    Trains are ~10x more efficient per pound mile than trucks.

    If anyone really wanted to work this non-problem, trains would the natural answer, not better trucks.

    Musk is a rich PR guy, not a technologist.
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    • Posted by freedomforall 11 months, 1 week ago
      You just expressed the same thought I had. Might make more sense with a locomotive engine.
      If government really cared about emissions and efficiency there is a diesel catalyst that provides more savings in fuel, more savings in maintenance, and lower emissions. (It also works for land based bunker oil fueled power generation.) But its a small company with no lobbyists and no advertising propaganda budget.
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      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 11 months, 1 week ago
        There are all kinds of solutions to problems like this that zealots and over-powerful, government agents that don't understand their job look right past.
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    • Posted by  $  11 months, 1 week ago
      Trains are incredibly efficient, true. But their bread-and-butter are large sources of commodities: lumber, coal, grain, etc. For smaller (less-than-RR-car) shipments, the loading/unloading time of railroad delivery is very inferior to trucks. Trains also must have custom stations built depending on their commodity loads to facilitate loading/unloading. Trucks are far more flexible and require less of an infrastructure investment. Trucks also do almost all the "last mile" type of delivery. They both can be used effectively in different ways.

      One of the things that has driven (pun intended) us to this point is that the large railroad companies in many cases collapsed (Burlington Northern is one of the last remaining) and the rail lines themselves in most cases would have to be completely re-laid to make them operational. (Remind anyone of a certain book?)

      I would also point out that trains also run on diesel fuel. ;)
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      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 11 months, 1 week ago
        Oh I realize trains run on diesel. Fossil fuel charges the Musk-ox batteries too, but 10x lb-mile/gal can not be overcome by electric vehicles, unless the electricity comes from nuclear or AE.

        If train loading/unloading is a real problem, I bet a house payment I can solve it in a week. Trucks for delivery within 100 miles is ok, but that is not how they are used. They cause 75% of the wear on roads, but don't pay that portion, and are therefore subsidized.
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        • Posted by  $  11 months, 1 week ago
          I don't deny that trains are more efficient for large quantities and that road wear (due to trucks) is a serious problem. I used to work for a trucking company and I'm very familiar with the industry and its challenges.

          Solving the loading/unloading problem is secondary. The first is getting rail lines. ;)
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  • Posted by chad 11 months, 1 week ago
    To expose the unfeasibility of this truck remove all subsidies (read government theft from people not involved in his company) and you will quickly find out that Elon Musk's inventions are inefficient and too costly for any market to absorb. Down time required for recharging makes a long haul truck of this kind completely unfeasible especially when you can put two drivers in a truck and drive it 24 hours a day to move a time sensitive load to its delivery point. The truck looks great and accelerates quickly, that pitiful time savings would be immediately eliminated when the truck had to be recharged. but at least you will look good at the truck stop. Elon does not need billions from willing investors, he has billions from unwilling investors who live with less while he lives quite well on their money (property). As far as lower emissions if you add in the emissions from charging stations (power stations) and the emissions from the people who had to drive to work an extra few days to send him the required subsidies and get no benefit from their efforts I wonder what the emissions would look like then? After Elon steals from people to build his fabulous truck perhaps he would be willing to make some free deliveries to those who unwillingly contributed to his success??
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  • Posted by jimjamesjames 11 months, 1 week ago
    I pulled tankers (130 barrel) in the gas fields of Wyoming, in the winter, for near five years. (Made a ton of money) and can't wait to see an electric rig when the temp is -35F with the resultant loss of battery power due to the low temp.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 11 months ago
    As a child of the cruisin' nights in my '53 Ford with 3 on a tree and a muffler that made my puny 6 sound like 300hp I could never reconcile using a quietly efficient electric motor except on my power chair..I will hold out for a loud, noisy, stinky, reciprocal engine every time. What good is a highway without skid marks? I'll bet most of the men reading this can hardly wait to tell me how when I was able to move up to a Charger440, they'd love to show me their taillights on their Pontiac GP.. Getting the next generation to approve driving would be like teaching the current one to love horseback riding. (Oh, my aching thighs).
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    • Posted by mccannon01 11 months ago
      ... takes off hat, holds on chest, and nods head in reverence to the words of Herb7734. Replaces hat, pours shot of Jack, salutes Herb7734, and slings it down! Ahhhhh the good old days will never be seen again!
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  • Posted by freedomforall 11 months, 1 week ago
    According to a Reuters article today, Tesla is now the 2nd largest US automaker by market value.
    Tesla sales in 2017 through October (10 months) less than 37,000 units.
    Short opportunity of the decade?
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    • Posted by  $  11 months, 1 week ago
      Real market value or simply invested dollars? I look at ROI/ROC and in either category, Tesla Motors is so far in the red it makes my eyes bleed.
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      • Posted by freedomforall 11 months, 1 week ago
        The amount one would have to pay if he could place a single order for all the outstanding stock today. Tesla stock is a marketing propaganda machine and this statement of market value is another example;^)
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  • Posted by  $  allosaur 11 months, 1 week ago
    Me dino recalls an amused Rush talking about the source of charging electric vehicles being the coal burned by the power company.
    Yeah, let's not talk about smoke-pumping smoke stacks while trying to "seduce" trucks into buying rigs they have to charge for hours.
    A lib would praise all the extra quality family time unless this recharging service is provided by truck stops haunted by drug dealers and lot lizards while the actual point of recharging is coal furnaces beneath smoke stacks.
    Me dino knows about truck stops first hand .My most dangerous semi-retired job was being an armed security guard who worked a large truck stop that was already in a bad Birmingham neighborhood. My job was primarily to chase off the scum. I felt way safer when I had my career job, carrying nothing but a stick in a maximum security prison.
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  • Posted by mspalding 11 months, 1 week ago
    They get 500 miles and can recharge for another 400 miles in 30 minutes.
    There is a lot more detail in this article https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/16/1...
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    • Posted by freedomforall 11 months, 1 week ago
      I'll believe it when a private testing company with no financial bias reports a complete test (including analysis of operating costs and road taxes that are yet to be considered by the fan-boys.) Billions of taxpayer funding to produce an unaffordable luxury car and lots of propaganda advertising just doesn't cut it. Musk is sleazy as a Wall Street bankster.
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    • Posted by  $  11 months, 1 week ago
      Great article, but I think there might be some confusion. There are at least two different models of the electric truck and the 500 mile claim is for the larger of the two which would be competing with other long-haul trucks that will do 600+ miles in a refuel. The 30-minute recharge time (if that claim is accurate) is a big deal and kudos if they actually achieved it. (Ancillary question: what equipment is required for the charging station that makes a 30-minute recharge possible?)
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 11 months, 1 week ago
    I wanted to SEE the truck!
    I don't think 300/400 miles on a charge will be enough for the cross country truckers...they usually go 600 miles on their tanks.

    All this "electric" stuff and not one word about how they are dealing with or even if they are aware of the dangers of CME's and natural or humanoid made, EMP's.
    Can you imagine one of these trucks shutting down on the highway in one of these events...bad enough all the cars will be disabled too but these trucks will have a lot of momentum to overcome in order to stop!
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    • Posted by Herb7734 11 months ago
      A truck out of juice will become the immovable objects of the highways. Just like the Model T's they will get improved until they are superior in every way to internal combustion reciprocals.but All I care is that There wont be a car or truck where I can rev the engine, pop the clutch and take off in a cloud of dust with a hearty hi-yo Silver.. The Plerds have already forgotten what fun is all about. (Plerd is a plodding Nerd.). A little speed, a little danger, a lot of noise and the roar of 300 or 400 horsepower will be a sweet memory.Nicola Tesla was an imaginative pioneer inventor. Too bad I can't say the same about the products bearing his name...
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    • Posted by  $  11 months, 1 week ago
      Even for local deliveries the basic range of 200-300 miles is pretty slim when you have to start at a warehouse - which typically aren't located in the big city where the deliveries are happening. You can burn 50-60 miles pretty quick just leaving and returning to that warehouse. That's 20-25% of your total mileage right there - not counting the actual deliveries.

      One more thing I forgot is called the PTO or Power Take-Off. It's used for everything from loading ramps to refrigeration units and runs - you got it - off the engines. That's another thing that's going to eat into your battery life - especially when most delivery trucks use it every stop.
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