Tesla Semi – the electric big rig truck with a 500-mile range.
While hybrid, all-electric, and even autonomous vehicles are creeping into the mainstream of the consumer-based automotive industry, there’s another vehicle space that is ready for the technology to catch up with the miles. The shipping industry, specifically both long-haul and local ground shipping, stands to benefit from the reduction in pollution, increased sustainability, and general driver welfare that the technology can bring.
Tesla generated plenty of buzz the announcement that it has developed an all-electric, aerodynamic big rig shipping vehicle that not only competes with a standard diesel in terms of cost-per-mile, it can also travel up to 500 miles on a single charge. When a charge is needed, it takes just 30 minutes to reach 80% capacity, or basically a typical lunch break.
Best of all, the Tesla Semi, as it’s called, is designed to “draft” other Tesla Semis on the road. When in convoy with other vehicles of its kind, sensors in the vehicles help them remain at safe distances from each other while still maximizing aerodynamics, essentially turning the entire line of trucks into a road-worthy train that can operate for as little as 85 cents per mile, nearly half what a standard diesel big rig costs. In theory, this could prove to be one of the safest features on the highways; in the US, at least, the trucking industry is plagued with overworked, underpaid drivers who are under strict time constraints to get their loads delivered or risk losing their pay. The end result is drivers who aren’t in any condition to drive at highway speeds carrying tons of payload. The ability to “lock in” to other trucks certainly wouldn’t allow drivers to take a nap along the way, but could give them a brief respite and allow tired drivers to be pulled along.
Further details of the vehicle’s ultra-cool, futuristic features can be found here, but the most astounding news of the Tesla Semi is perhaps its price. While typical brand-new 18-wheelers can cost between $140,000 and $175,000 depending on the features, the Tesla Semi is supposedly priced at around $150,000. Unlike the luxury price tag of Tesla’s line of consumer vehicles, there’s basically no reason not to invest in the electric model when price is the deciding factor.