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Florida start-up places major bet on fleet of Tesla Semis

Florida start-up places major bet on fleet of Tesla Semis

Mention an all-electric truck fleet and California typically comes to mind, but a start-up in Central Florida has set out to change that with a plan that relies solely on Tesla Semis.

EV Semi-Fleet reported raising $1.1 million, which fueled reservations for 50 Semis that they plan on using at ports in Tampa and Jacksonville.

“We believe that we could get our first of 50 trucks by July of 2023,” said EV Semi-Fleet CEO Jake Guerra.

In the meantime, the three-man crew is working out of an office in Orlando where they’ve been busy building contacts, studying the industry and raising funds to reserve more Tesla tractors.

“Tesla’s Semi division has been extremely responsive,” Guerra said. “Any questions we have, they really do a great job in getting back to us with quality information.”

The group already has a leg up on some important fundamentals. EV Semi-Fleet co-founder Thomas Licata brings 10 years of freight broker experience while lead investor and technology advisor Thomas O’Hanlon, an electrical engineer, draws on knowledge gleaned in power plant construction and Tesla EV ownership, which has allowed O’Hanlon to more closely study the car maker’s technology, including Full Self-Driving mode.

But Orlando over L.A.?

“Orlando's our hometown,” said Guerra, an entrepreneur who’s worked to get various businesses off the ground, including an embroidery company.

“We see the EV revolution happening here,” Guerra continued. “There are Teslas all around us right now where years ago the only place you would see one was on the West Coast. Now it's more of a nationwide movement.”

Jake Guerra EV Semi-Fleet
EV Semi-Fleet CEO Jake Guerra isn't bothered by Tesla Semi production delays: “I don't necessarily feel that they’re production delays,” Guerra said. “I think it's more production improvement for when they ramp up. And you really see this across the board. You have a lot of EV companies that are rushing to production and they don't have the quality that Tesla has.”EV Semi-FleetEV Semi-Fleet plans to start with regional hauling and then expand to long-haul once adequate charging is in place.

“We could get from Miami to Southern California with a total of seven charging stations, and only a charge time of 30 minutes each,” Guerra said.

In addition to running their own trucks, EV Semi-Fleet plans on contracting with owner-operators. Guerra’s convinced that far less maintenance requirements with Semi and cheaper fuel-ups at chargers versus the pump will appeal to plenty of owner-operators.

“Mom and pop [owner-operators] are just overwhelmed by expenses for operations and can have a really difficult time managing their own expenses in repairs,” Guerra said. “So we're building a platform for ourselves as well as for mom and pop so that on day one of getting a Tesla Semi truck, they can roll up to our company and move freight from our distribution partners. It's something that needs to be done, especially if we're really trying to transform this whole Class 8 industry into all electric.”

Brand power?

With other electric truck manufacturers to choose from, why did EV Semi-Fleet opt to go with Tesla Semis?


“The technology and the range,” Guerra said. “Range is a big one, plus Tesla does two things: they deliver a quality build and once they get to production, it really ramps up quickly.”

EV Semi-Fleet is impressed with Tesla’s charger roll-out and Semi’s advertised 500-mile range courtesy of their new 4680 battery pack.

“Their battery life is far greater than some of these other ones that are on the market right now,” Guerra said, "and they also support their community with adequate charging stations.”

The all electric Semi-Fleet is also betting on the Tesla name to lure more drivers.

“Oh, for sure,” Guerra said. “That's the forward-thinking CDL drivers and we have gotten numerous applications. We have a page that CDL drivers can apply on. We just had a driver who’s driven over 1.5 million miles apply. He currently drives for a third-party company that moves freight for Walmart and he wants to drive for us.”

Guerra also sees driver stress declining as Tesla’s Full Self-Driving is increasingly improved and incorporated more in its trucks. However, he doesn’t envision the technology forcing drivers to lose their jobs.

“It’s going to drastically reduce driver fatigue,” Guerra said. “I think overall it's going to be great for the industry. You have a lot of people that think it's going to take jobs away, but that's just not the case. There are too many variables on the road going coast-to-coast and the driver is needed to keep that truck in line and safe. And with this added technology, they're going to have much more ability to focus on their surroundings.”



All electric catching on

Commercial Carrier Journal reached out to alt fuel experts at Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA) and the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) to weigh in on EV Semi-Fleet’s goal of becoming an all-electric fleet in a state more widely known for golf courses and amusement parks.


EV Semi-Fleet Orlando Tesla
Florida-based start-up EV Semi-Fleet has signed up for 50 Tesla Semis and hopes to reserve up to 200 more. On Friday, April 15 their investor page at wefunder.com showed roughly $245K of $5M raised towards that goal.EV Semi-FleetGNA pulls in plenty of newbies and trucking veterans alike to its annual Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, California. This year’s event, which takes place May 9–12, is shaping up to be their biggest yet.
 
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AMPd

Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2012
5,042
5,418
Northern California
As someone who is in the trucking industry… gooood luck! There’s a reason 99% of the port trucks are old and held together by duct tape, the money is just not there. Truck prices are through the roof, and there’s no way the Tesla semi sells for under 200k. It just doesn’t make financial sense. It’s like buying a Rolls Royce to do Uber eats with.

This to me sounds like one of those scams where he’ll get investors, fund his own bank account because CEOs gotta get paid right? And then go bankrupt
 
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As someone who is in the trucking industry… gooood luck! There’s a reason 99% of the port trucks are old and held together by duct tape, the money is just not there. Truck prices are through the roof, and there’s no way the Tesla semi sells for under 200k. It just doesn’t make financial sense. It’s like buying a Rolls Royce to do Uber eats with.

A bit extreme example with the Rolls Royce. The Tesla Semi will cost more than a diesel tractor but over time you are supposed to overcome the initial cost difference with savings on maintenance and the price of diesel fuel.

This to me sounds like one of those scams where he’ll get investors, fund his own bank account because CEOs gotta get paid right? And then go bankrupt

It could possibly be the case. I hope not for the investors sake and the early conversion to electric trucks.
 

AMPd

Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2012
5,042
5,418
Northern California
A bit extreme example with the Rolls Royce. The Tesla Semi will cost more than a diesel tractor but over time you are supposed to overcome the initial cost difference with savings on maintenance and the price of diesel fuel.



It could possibly be the case. I hope not for the investors sake and the early conversion to electric trucks.
I don’t think it’s an extreme example because Im not comparing the cost of diesel vs electric trucks, what I’m saying is you don’t buy a BRAND NEW 200k truck, electric or diesel, for work that doesn’t pay well. That’s why when you look at most of the trucks hauling containers from ports, they’re old, the money is just not there to invest in a brand new truck… unless of course you’re using someone else’s money :)

All of our drayage trucks are old trucks that are no longer reliable for long haul operations, still CARB compliant, but definitely nearing that retirement age.
 

AMPd

Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2012
5,042
5,418
Northern California
One could also argue that the money just isn't there because it is spent on diesel fuel and engine repairs.
No that’s a whole separate topic, as I’m not talking about operating costs. Im talking about the actual rate to haul containers is low.

The savings from an electric truck vs diesel wouldn’t be that much either as most of their time is spent waiting at ports and then traveling a short distance to a distribution center, a few hundred miles at most per day.
 

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