December 7, 2022

Tesla’s New Long Haul Truck Maybe Not That Long Haul

In a very splashy ceremony Tesla owner Elon Musk brought in the new Tesla electric semi truck into a conference with a payload. That truck had just delivered Frito-Lay chips to the launch event in Sparks, Nevada.

While this vehicle can operate five hundred miles on a single charge, remember, as reported in Reuters, a truck load of Frito-Lay potato chips weigh substantially less than a truck packed with real haulage like crops or cases of beer.

The real challenge is that commercial vehicle operators need to address three factors: reliability, emission levels, and cost.

And what weighs a lot in an electric long haul truck? Batteries. The longer the haul the more batteries are needed, and those are heavy. The Tesla’s Semi truck’s weight is 81,000 pounds loaded with 2,000 pounds of batteries.

With the stunt of a truck  hauling Doritos, a senior analyst for the Guidehouse Consultants quipped that “moving a cargo of chips (average weight per pack of 52 grams) cannot be in anyway be said to be definitive proof of concept”.

While 100 of these long haul trucks are to be built by 2024, pricing has not been released, although they were priced at 150,000 American dollars for a 300 mile range semi and 180,000 American dollars for a 500 mile range semi five years ago. Manufacturing costs are now much higher.

Microsoft’s Bill Gates is developing an engine modification for existing diesel trucks with ClearFlame which will replace diesel with cleaning burning fuels that are derived from plants. The cost is much cheaper to own than diesel or electric vehicles, and the system is already being demonstrated with fleets of long haul vehicles using ethanol.

There’s no information if they are also hauling Doritos.

Here is a YouTube video describing how the ClearFlame engine modification works. And below that, there’s Tesla’s video introducing the new Semi Long Haul Truck under test conditions hauling a load of concrete. You can see the performance of the e-truck up the grades.

 

 

images:Tesla,wired

 

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  1. For years, I had a 1983 Mercedes 123 D turbo wagon. I ran it on bio-diesel that I got through the co-op down near Terminal St. The wagon drove clean and hauled up the hills, emitting only the faint smell of greasy chips in its wake. When the bio-diesel co-op had to close down (lack of government funding) I sold the old wagon to an advertising exec. in Manhattan. I think it’s an abomination that governments refuse to subsidize or produce bio-diesel. It speaks to the hypocrisy and greenwashing behind their ‘environmental commitments’.

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