It’ll be interesting to finally see the performance of one of Tesla’s newest invention which Elon Musk introduced during a TED discussion last April.
Musk showed a teaser photo of Tesla’s Class 8 semi-truck, called Tesla Semi, during a conversation with TED’s Head Curator, Chris Anderson, who, deeply impressed, remarked that it didn’t look like the usual “friendly neighborhood truck.”
Musk explained that it’s a heavy-duty semi-truck that’s intended to assuage heavy-duty trucking. He also added that with the Tesla Semi, “we want to show that an electric truck actually can out-torque any diesel semi. If you had a tug of war competition, the Tesla Semi will tug the diesel semi uphill.”
Moreover, when Anderson asked if it was the kind of thing that truck drivers would like to drive, Musk said that he had driven the prototype himself and the experience was amazing. It was so nimble even though it’s a giant truck.
“You can drive it around like a sports car,” Musk said.
These kind of statements have obviously kept everyone in anticipation of the new heavy-duty semi-truck from Tesla, which by the way is getting unveiled sooner than most industry analysts anticipated. Not only will the new rig be environment-friendly, people expect it to also have several autonomous/autopilot capabilities for which Tesla EV’s are known for.
How will a revolutionary commercial transport like this affect the trucking industry?
In a recent note to clients, Morgan Stanley’s analysts Adam Jonas and Ravi Shanker, said they “believe TSLA’s reveal of its autonomous, electric Class 8 semi-truck this month could be the biggest catalyst in Trucking in decades and potentially set off separation between the technology leaders and the laggards among carriers, shippers, truck OEMs and suppliers.”
Jonas and Shanker’s analysis provided also some additional projections:
- The electric semi could be coming to market in 2019 – 2020.
- The truck would probably cost $100,000 which excludes battery leasing.
- It would have a regional range of 200 – 300 miles before needing a battery swap.
- In terms of operation cost, it would be up to 70% cheaper compared to a regular truck based on Morgan’s model that’s designed on a battery leasing program with a cost of $0.25/mile and a sale price of ~$100,000 for the truck.
Moreover, and again this is based on Morgan’s projections, the battery leasing program alone could bring Tesla annually more than $7 billion in revenue.
“This makes economic sense for TSLA, in our view. We estimate that a trucking carrier spends about $0.50 per mile of fuel (@ $3/gal of diesel and 6 mpg) and does about 100,000 miles/year per truck. If Tesla charged $0.25/mile to lease the battery out, (a) the carrier can reduce its total fuel bill by 50% (fuel is 35% of total costs), and (b) TSLA could generate revenue of $25,000 per truck per year or ~$7.5 bn at a run-rate, once TSLA achieves 10% share of the truck parc.”
What’s more, Morgan’s analysts think that Tesla would not need a very large investment to bring its electric semi-truck to market. Autonomous driving and battery technologies are already under development for the company’s EV’s and it’s already within Tesla’s capacity to deal with a low production run rate of only 25,000 units per year at 10% share.
But beyond numbers and bottom lines, it’s about time that this kind of revolutionary change for the trucking industry as a whole takes place, and sooner rather than later. It goes without saying that the need to cut down on carbon emissions is an urgent issue that must be addressed. It is also the only way to protect our planet’s existence and consequently our own.