Musk says Tesla Semi may have a 600-mile range

Now that the furor over Elon Musk’s rudeness to those poor little stock analysts has faded, let’s look at some of the interesting information that was revealed on Tesla’s quarterly earnings call. One of several tantalizing tidbits dropped by Musk: he expects the production version of the Tesla Semi to have a 600-mile range.

When Tesla unveiled the Semi last November, it promised a 500-mile range. That was plenty to pique the interest of fleet customers such as UPS, Anheuser-Busch and PepsiCo. With a healthy number of orders already on the books, why bother to throw another 100 miles into the pot?

It may be that Elon Musk wanted to signal his confidence that Tesla has major battery innovations in the pipeline. Many observers believe that the company won’t be able to deliver the Semi’s promised performance without some sort of battery breakthrough.

Also on the conference call, Musk and CTO JB Straubel expanded on the idea of selling renewable energy to Tesla Semi customers charging at a low, fixed rate. “For trucking companies, if the cost of diesel goes up a few cents, it destroys their business,” said Musk. With “a solar battery powered Megacharger, we have constant costs. And we know what they are. We bake them in.”

Musk reiterated that the Semi would offer “a lower cost per mile than a diesel truck.” A recent report from the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (via GreenBiz) paints a more cautious figure, predicting that electric Class 7 and 8 trucks won’t be cost-competitive with legacy diesel vehicles until 2025 or 2030. Daimler Head of Trucks Martin Daum is also a skeptic, claiming that the Semi’s announced specs stretch the laws of physics.

Time will tell if Elon’s confidence is justified. However, he’s well aware that, unlike the passenger car market, the trucking market is driven by costs, not fun. “We tried to make our Semi kind of cool and sexy, just because we think that that’s a good thing to do, not because it affects the buying decision of our customers in a meaningful way,” said Musk, adding that commercial customers aren’t making decisions based on “aesthetics or consumer-related things.”

 

Source: GreenBiz

  • bob

    The unintended extra may be that these trucks will catch the eye of travellers on the highway.
    A cool looking truck with marking that it is electric will get folks attention followed by looking to see whose product is on board. A high profile moving billboard.

  • My Vizn

    Glad to hear a longer range option. This should put a kink in the Nikola Motors plan to keep the customer paying for “hydrogen”. With a 600 mile or even 500 mile range Tesla Semi, the realistic “energy” cost is dramatically lower for the fleet operator. People are not talking about the cost of the H2 infrastructure because they are selling as a bi-product of natural gas production. I do predict Tesla will dominate the sector.

  • Ramon A. Cardona

    I look forward to the day of semi trucks placidly traveling at 60 mph instead of racing at 75 mph plus causing accidents. I experienced that in Germany years ago and it was most pleasant and safe.

  • Robert N

    Lets do some math; a Li-Ion battery system weighs 6.65kG per 1kW-h of energy storage. To travel 600 miles for a vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 80,000 lbs (max over the road limit), requires ~ 4 kW-h/mile, therefore the Tesla Semi requires ~ 2400 kW-h of energy to travel 600 miles. 2400 kW-h of battery will weigh 15960 kG’s (or 35185 lbs), The Tesla tractor system is assumed to weigh ~ 16,000 Lbs, a box trailer weighs ~ 12,000 Lbs and the batteries weigh 35185 Lbs , totaling 63,185 Lbs. That would mean the Semi can only legally haul 16,815 Lbs. A traditional day-cab weighs ~18,000 Lbs (with diesel fuel), box trailer 12,000 Lbs, totaling 30,000 Lbs, therefore capable of legally carrying 50,000 Lbs. The Li-Ion battery size for a 2400 kW-h system is ~ 1170 cu ft, which needs to possible be placed within the trailer. Does this make sense?