Tesla Semi

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Tesla Semi all-electric truck to be unveiled in September and be ‘next level’, says Elon Musk



Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed today that the company plans to unveiled its all-electric semi truck, called ‘Tesla Semi’, in September.


Tesla Semi truck unveil set for September. Team has done an amazing job. Seriously next level.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2017


He also teased that it will be “seriously next level” and briefly discussed the upcoming Tesla pickup truck and next-gen Roadster. more…

Filed under: Electrek


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Michael Russo

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#2

garsh

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#3
I was just reading this Forbes article, which talks about how a Tesla Semi might only have 300 miles of range, which isn't enough for long-haul trucking. I wrote this post and mentioned that I thought a truck was large enough to hold a lot of batteries.

But then I got to thinking. If autonomous actually becomes a thing, then long-haul trucks will end up having no downtime. They would be able to drive straight across the country without taking a break. That would require a seriously large battery. Way to large to fit into the truck....


See that big, empty area under the trailer? Fill that area up with batteries! The benefits would be amazing!
  1. Add 5, 6, 7, 8? times the range of the truck alone. It should be immense given a large trailer.
  2. Quick battery pack swap by just swapping trailers!!!
  3. Trailer brakes can also be inductive, to charge the huge battery pack! And no more truck-brake smell.
  4. SAFETY!! No more drivers becoming decapitated when their cars go under the side of a trailer.
At this point, I think I'm going to be surprised if Tesla doesn't announce something like this in September.
 
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Jayc

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I was just reading this Forbes article, which talks about how a Tesla Semi might only have 300 miles of range, which isn't enough for long-haul trucking. I wrote this post and mentioned that I thought a truck was large enough to hold a lot of batteries.

But then I got to thinking. If autonomous actually becomes a thing, then long-haul trucks will end up having no downtime. They would be able to drive straight across the country without taking a break. That would require a seriously large battery. Way to large to fit into the truck....


See that big, empty area under the trailer? Fill that area up with batteries! The benefits would be amazing!
  1. Add 5, 6, 7, 8? times the range of the truck alone. It should be immense given a large trailer.
  2. Quick battery pack swap by just swapping trailers!!!
  3. Trailer brakes can also be inductive, to charge the huge battery pack! And no more truck-brake smell.
  4. SAFETY!! No more drivers becoming decapitated when their cars go under the side of a trailer.
At this point, I think I'm going to be surprised if Tesla doesn't announce something like this in September.
So how would that work? Let's say we start off on a 500 mile journey with a few tones of cargo loaded on the trailer. At the 250 mile battery swapping stop what exactly would be done?
 

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#5
So how would that work? Let's say we start off on a 500 mile journey with a few tones of cargo loaded on the trailer. At the 250 mile battery swapping stop what exactly would be done?
I'm saying that the truck + trailer has enough battery capacity to go cross-country without stopping.

You recharge the trailer at the destination after unloading it.
 

Jayc

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#6
I'm saying that the truck + trailer has enough battery capacity to go cross-country without stopping.

You recharge the trailer at the destination after unloading it.
Alright that makes sense.

Actually, I'd go one step ahead and suggest that the main load-taking powertrain might be the trailer with the truck only containing a minimal battery and drive just to carry around the driver and truck shell. Each unit could be self sufficient in battery capacity with the trailer capable of holding the higher capacity to bear the workload and the truck battery will have enough capacity for the journey but at much less a load.That way, all that is required would be a minimal communications link between the two and there will be no need to have high current carrying high voltage cabling between the trailer and truck. Two charge ports may be required but that's fine because the trailer part can be put to overnight recharge while the truck can be quickly supercharged, a new charged up trailer attached and get started right back on return journey. All fits nicely to the plan.
 
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@gravityrydr

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See that big, empty area under the trailer? Fill that area up with batteries! The benefits would be amazing.
While that is a lot of space under the trailer, as you know batteries are heavy. The legal weight for an eighteen wheeler is 80,000 lbs. (40 tons, 36287 kg if my math is correct) Average loaded weight (according to my unscientific survey of my truck driver friends) is 60,000 to 70,000 lbs. Too large of a battery pack is going to affect capacity and thus lost revenue.

As far as autonomy goes, I would prefer large trucks go the airliner approach. Lots of automation for efficiency and safety but alway have a human in the loop for emergencies and non-standard problem-solving. Flying an aircraft is in many ways a much simpler problem to solve that traveling on roads. In the air, unless you are at the start or end of a flight it is pretty much, maintain altitude and heading with some course correction and weather avoidance for %99 of the flight. On the road, even the best case scenario of a fully access controlled road such as an interstate vehicle and object avoidance may be needed at any moment with road conditions changing frequently.

https://www.thetruckersreport.com/facts-about-trucks/
 

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#8
While that is a lot of space under the trailer, as you know batteries are heavy.
True! I was excited by my revelation, and didn't take time to go through any math. :)
The legal weight for an eighteen wheeler is 80,000 lbs. (40 tons, 36287 kg if my math is correct) Average loaded weight (according to my unscientific survey of my truck driver friends) is 60,000 to 70,000 lbs.
So if total battery weight is kept under 10,000 lbs, then it should have negligible effect on real-world capacity, right?

It looks like a Model S 85 kWh pack weighs ~1200 lbs. Eight of those would be 680kWh and 9600 lbs.
I wonder how far that would get you?
 

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Good points! What about continue to keep the same trailer system, but since a driver is not needed to sleep in the cab of the truck, replace that space with batteries? Go tall rather than take up space in the trailer....

Looking forward to end of the year to see what Tesla have planned
 

Johnm6875

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True! I was excited by my revelation, and didn't take time to go through any math. :)
So if total battery weight is kept under 10,000 lbs, then it should have negligible effect on real-world capacity, right?

It looks like a Model S 85 kWh pack weighs ~1200 lbs. Eight of those would be 680kWh and 9600 lbs.
I wonder how far that would get you?
From:

https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-semi-truck-return-investment-roi/

"500 kWh of battery storage, translating to roughly 150 or so miles of range . . . "

Simple math, 680 kWh would be 204 miles. Which, per the article, covers a lot of "short haul operations."
 

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#12
At this early time in Tesla's history -- I understand why they want to do the Semi -- but that battery pack could be used for numerous cars-------so let's focus on that
 

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#13
I think the idea of Tesla's long-haul trucking is more likely this :


Time is money as long as goods transportation is involved. Such "Tesla Superswapping stations" could change trucks battery packs in minutes and the truck could continue it's journey, autonomous or not.

That's juste an idea ;)
 

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#15
Matthew DeBord again one of his regular rants against T≡SLA... Though, objectively, one can understand why the timing of this announcement could raise eyebrows amongst 'those of little faith'...

Because, really, how else than to interpret this news than by saying the message to the market should read as 'Guys, we are so totally on time with Model ≡ launch - and so sure it is going to kick a.. - that we can afford announcing the semi-truck now!', indeed as per the Master Plan, Part Deux... :)

http://uk.businessinsider.com/tesla-bet-on-trucking-bad-for-company-2017-4?r=US&IR=T
 

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#16
Another way Tesla could improve performance would be to design not only the tractor but the trailer as well. If they build the trailer floor much closer to the ground you can provide more interior space and improve the aerodynamics too. Will be interesting to see if they're doing that or just the tractor itself.
 

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#17
I spend most of my driving time on the interstate freeway and of the semi trucks I see, I'd estimate that more than half are short haul and only drive within a set area. fuel tanker trucks (the irony) going from the fuel depot to local gas stations, milk tanker trucks going from farms to dairy plants, retail/grocery trucks going from a regional distribution center to local stores, etc.. Most of those likely spend more time loading/unloading than on the road and may be traveling less than 200 miles a day.
guess you could think if there's a use for a 'in-city' EV car, there could be the same in a semi truck.
 

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#18
Another way Tesla could improve performance would be to design not only the tractor but the trailer as well. If they build the trailer floor much closer to the ground you can provide more interior space and improve the aerodynamics too. Will be interesting to see if they're doing that or just the tractor itself.
Since most docks are a uniform height, lowering the floor would create a different set of issues...
 

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#20
I think the idea of Tesla's long-haul trucking is more likely this :


Time is money as long as goods transportation is involved. Such "Tesla Superswapping stations" could change trucks battery packs in minutes and the truck could continue it's journey, autonomous or not.

That's juste an idea ;)
I remember when years ago when I looked at Prius cars. I thought that this would be a great idea especially about battery charge time and if the battery starts to wear out, you could swap it. I am sure this would be great for the bigger vehicles and trucks as well. I mean 90seconds to get a charged up battery and then take off. I could see myself spending a certain fee, plus there was a post somewhere that said on your return trip back, you would get your original battery back if you wanted and it would be charged for you.