It’s the talk of the century, the most prominent news to hit all year, and nothing else surpasses it by any stretch. Well, that’s true if you are in the trucking business and your CFO is up late at nights thinking about Tesla’s semi trucks and how it well it will save you tons of money.
Let’s face, trucking is a tough business, and for most large and small firms, fuel is the number one cost factor.
When Elon Musk announced his plans to electrify the trucking industry and unveiled his truck, many people’s eyes lit up like the fourth of July.
Could this be the silver lining the industry has waited for and the holy grail of commercial profits?
Earlier this month the Canadian grocery giant Loblaws wasted no time in announcing its plans to order some 25 Tesla units for an undisclosed price.
This supermarket chain with well over 2000 stores can undoubtedly afford 25 electric trucks to test out, as its annual revenues are in the tens of billions.
But a new report from Truck News is shedding a bit more light on the excitement for these transport trucks.
More companies are willing to invest their money in these Tesla trucks, as the world moves towards a more eco-friendly mindset.
Companies such as Speedy Transport is ordering five trucks to start with and may double that number soon.
Bison Transport is also expressing interest in these new breeds of semis.
While pricing is yet to be finalized for each unit, according to Truck News companies can expect to pay around $180,000 CAD.
Considering that traditional highway tractors cost around $150,000 brand new, an extra $30k for an electric unit with estimated 20 percent savings in operating costs sounds like a bargain.
We are talking about a 500-mile range while carrying a maximum cargo weight for tandem axle trailers, and 0-60 mph in 5 seconds. Keep in mind, that we can’t independently verify these numbers as real-world testing needs to be done.
Trucking is a multifaceted industry which cannot be explained in one post alone.
The majority of the time, units are customized differently according to the application it is needed for, per customer.
If Elon, can break into the market and disrupt the entire industry, he could potentially go down as one of the most influential people in the transportation sector.
So far, it looks like the companies that are interested in these electric semi’s mainly operate on the highway.
Tesla’s entry into the trucking industry must have established manufacturers such as Volvo, Freightliner Trucks which is a division of Daimler Trucks North America, Kenworth, Peterbilt, and others experiencing some sense of uneasiness.
They all have worked with engine manufacturers such as Paccar, Detroit Diesel, and Cummins to produce zero-emissions vehicles.
The enticement of new technologies designed to save on operating costs and increase road safety is too much to ignore.
The writing is on the wall, and the future is in electric vehicles. While it’s a sensible option for large companies, it’s the smaller outfits and owner-operators that may find it difficult to make that jump.
But Tesla isn’t the only game in town. Nikola Corp has their Nikola One, a hydrogen-powered semi with more impressive numbers:
- 100% ZERO EMISSIONS
- HYDROGEN POWERED
- 800 – 1,200 MILE RANGE
- 15 MINUTE REFILL TIME
- NEVER PLUGIN
- 100% ELECTRIC DRIVE
- THE END OF DIESEL ENGINES
- 1/2 THE OPERATING COST COMPARED TO DIESEL
- 2,000 FT. LBS TORQUE
- 1,000 HORSEPOWER
- 320 kWh BATTERY
- 1 MILLION MILES FREE* HYDROGEN FUEL
- REGENERATIVE BRAKING
One thing is for certain though, and that’s diesel trucks are on their way out. There are startups in silicon valley that are already testing trucks that can drive themselves and deliver from dock to dock.
Why pay a truck driver $80,000/ year, when an algorithm can take care of the entire process, with the potential to virtually eliminate costly road collisions?
It’s a hard truth to face because technology is becoming a more disruptive force. For the people who fail to adapt, change is the hardest thing to comprehend.