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Tesla Powered Truck Thoughts

Discussion in 'Future Cars' started by Scotty, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. Scotty

    Scotty Member

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    Having driven my MS for a year now, and with more than 47,000 miles on it, I have started thinking about the usage on one of my other vehicles. It's a 2006 Dodge 3500 Turbo Diesel long bed 4 wheel drive pickup truck. Sure, it's a stretch; You could even say that if there's a connection to a MS, or even the MX, it's definitely more than a stretch.

    However, several thoughts have percolated up to the surface.

    First, it will need to tow (more than 5,000 lbs), and get good range, even when towing. All wheel drive is a given.

    Drive Train:
    Would the D series fit the bill for propulsion? It certainly has low end torque, and it could utilize the Tesla motor controller / motor system. It wouldn't need to be geared for the top speed, and lower gearing would give it better oompf for getting up to speed, with a towing load. Regen braking would certainly help on slowing down the rig, but I would think it will need to have a heftier cooling system for the motors, controllers and battery pack. I think the geartrain would also need to be beefed up. A P90D differential system on steroids. Sure, if we see an issue with drive trains on the MS's, it would have to be significantly beefed up. However, it would need to be geared for towing, not ludicrous or insane mode.

    Suspension:
    It also would need to be much beefier. Aluminum / steel / titanium? Aluminum body panels. Having a heavy duty frame would bite into range, but I have always felt that the tow vehicle needs to be substantial. Going off-road does need a substantial suspension, and going over rocks, curbs, etc has to be repeatedly tolerated, without damage.

    Body:
    Aluminum body panels can save weight.

    Battery Pack:
    Here's the rub. Pulling huge power out of the pack under acceleration with a decent towing load would heavily tax the pack. I don't think an 85 or 90 pack would be anywhere near adequate. I think 2 of the 85's battery pack's could be stacked / mated / married, and that would be adequate. Sure, we're not talking about a $60K vehicle, but traveling down the highway with a bed loaded, or pulling a decent trailer would be something I'd like. Yes, charging a 170 kW pack would take a bit of time and energy, but compare it to a reasonable range.

    Tires / Rims:
    Take a note from the big rigs and Class A RV's. Put on 19.5's or 22's, with aluminum rims, like some big rigs, RV's and pickup's have gone with.

    Other thoughts:
    In light of the VW diesel engine emission debacle, how nice would it be to drive a pickup truck that's clean. No nitrous oxide emissions, no black smoke, no filling up a 35 gallon (or larger) fuel tank. Don't need any esoteric rear wheel doors, but just a nicely equipped towing beast that's a ZEV with the 17 inch screen and goodies.

    Now, I'm not saying it would be easy to make, and not knowing the limitations that Tesla has to work within, I'm assuming it's more of a scaling thing. My Dodge 3500 comes in at just less than 8000 lbs with a full tank bit no load. Due to federal weight restrictions, with a 2000 lb payload, my vehicle has a Gross Maximum Vehicle Weight of 9990 lbs. The MX P90D is about 5500 lbs, if I'm recalling what I've read correctly. Doubling the pack would add another ~1500 lbs. Going in this direction would entail some weight reductions in some areas, but would entail more beefier (weighty) construction. If it couldn't be done within the 8000 lb maximum, there still would be other options. 3/4 ton rating, re-evaluating options, lighter weight bed. However, a heftier battery pack is pretty much mandatory.


    Just my thoughts.

    Scotty
     
  2. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    Yes, that is the whole problem. Heftier and pricer battery pack.
    The 'heftier' part of the problem will be partial solved by using a bit bigger cells that will increase pack capacity with sublinear weight increase.
    The prices pack will be solved by solving and improving on many little things.

    All in all GF is your friend :)

    More energy yes. More time? Not really.
    SC tapper would start later, giving you a really fast 1/2 SOC.

    P.S. time to start thinking in 90. 85 is thing of the past.
     
  3. Scotty

    Scotty Member

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    If you're traveling away from home, the SpC is a great option. In light of the 'letter' though, using a local SpC may become an issue. Charging, though, at a max rate of 120kW is still limiting. OTOH, charging at 240VAC at 40 or 80 Amps will take longer.

    With the 70D, I'm not sure if the only option is to move from the 85 to the 90. I think Dual 70's might be a great option. Furthermore, options of 140kW, 170kW or 180kW would be very interesting. It would also be interesting to see what Tesla would hypothetically price these options at. I'd also rather see an economical option, rather than strictly the highest power option since it would probably occur at the highest price point.

    Scotty
     
  4. Bangor Bob

    Bangor Bob Member

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    The good news is that with a ladder frame and no fuel tank or prop shaft, there's lots of space for batteries both between the ladder rails, and outside them. Thanks to the atrocious aerodynamics of the pickup form, you're going to need them. 600Wh/mile at highway speeds? More? And then add in towing, I'm sure it's possible to "spend" 2kWh/mile under heavy use conditions. Hopefully the aerodynamics can be improved without the need for a set of huge radiators up front to reduce the battery capacity needed. The current trend to wall-like noses makes me think of country gents standing around saying "Well, aerodynamics is only a theory, y'know..." (Yes, I realize the back of the cab and the rear end has a huge impact on the aero, seems there should be ways to address that by routing air into those spaces.)

    Cheap batteries will be key. $100/kWh is probably the edge of mainstream viability. $50/kWh would be a lot better and would put a 180kWh battery at around the price delta of going with Diesel engine over a gas V8 in a "traditional" pickup.
     
  5. Larry93428

    Larry93428 Member

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    A low bed will be so useful. Loading and unloading anything will be so much easier: no ramps for motorcycles or ATV, no lifting hay bales anymore. These things will sell the truck. It is a truck isn't it? Not just a tractor to tow stuff down the highway.
    ~Larry
     
  6. MileHighMotoring

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    Making a car go fast is one thing. Hauling an extra ton or two around at highway speeds? That's going to obliterate a battery's performance. I fully expect Model X owners to report that while towing their range drops by half or worse.
     
  7. tga

    tga Active Member

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    Not so fast... While I agree that towing will significantly impact the X's range, there's at least 2 factors in towing that don't come into play hauling heavy loads in a truck - wind resistance and trailer brakes.

    Wind resistance plays a huge factor in trailer efficiency. I just towed a relatively light boat (~3000 lbs) on a new trailer (so good bearings; they stayed nice and cool) with my pickup over a relatively flat route. My highway MPG dropped from 18 to 14. That's similar to what I see hauling a 6000 lb flatbed race car tailer with a bed full of tires and tools. I chalk most of that up to wind resistance; the car trailer has a much smaller frontal area, and a better Cd. I've hauled 3000 lbs of stuff in the bed, with much lower MPG effect.

    Plus, if you are hauling a heavy trailer, when the brakes activate, that's kinetic energy that's gone and can't be regenerated, unlike a loaded pickup.

    Over flat and level ground, they'll be a little extra friction (heavier loads on tires and wheel bearings), but once you're up to speed and going steady state, I think a ton in the bed of a Tesla truck would have little impact. Even in hills, going down you'll regen much of what you lost going up.
     
  8. Rama

    Rama Member

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    I'm curious if an electric F-150 would even sell? Even if the price premium was small. I think OP is in the miniority of "truck guys" that care about efficiency or emissions. Hence the exisistance of coal rolling. Think about the most common mods done to pick ups raising, chipping, exusts; all hurt emissions or efficiency or both. Look what happened to Ford when they went with aluminum the F-150. GM started an ad campaign implying aluminum wasn't truck enough.

    The upside is that the market is huge. We all know the top four selling "cars" in the US are full size pick ups. It wouldn't take more than a a few percent of this market to make it worth Elon's while. But could he even get that?
     
  9. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    And yet again my favorite topic rears its head.

    There is in the forum a vast "truck" thread...somewhere. But in consideration of Rama's Post #8:

    There are, indeed, a lot of horrible reasons to alter current pickup trucks. However, serious pickup drivers - a good starting point might be those over the age of about 22 - chip their trucks or straighten their pipes for one good reason: the hauling performance of an unaltered pickup does not meet their needs. You CAN get more grunt and more highway speed with an altered truck. I will contend, however, that they don't do it in order to belch soot at a traffic light.

    Where do we start in bringing electricity into the light truck market? It's very simple: the horsepower and torque that two (F & R) or four (all corners) electric motors can provide is vastly superior to anything an internal combustion, mechanically linked vehicle is able to offer. Build your vehicle - and build your marketing campaign (Sorry, TM: here you and I part current company) about that and all the rest will fall into place. I can demonstrate a truly compelling EV light truck (F-150 through F-750 sizes) that is so wonderfully superior to anything possible with an engine....and that is with present-day battery technology.

    H*ll. If a Bush Alaskan can do it, those pencil-necks in Silicon Valley ought to be not that far behind. Sheesh.
     
  10. MileHighMotoring

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    I have no doubt that a tough, powerful truck could be created with an EV drivetrain. But to have reasonable range it would need a monster sized battery pack. That's the limiting factor.
     
  11. 808?

    808? Member

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    Some trailers can be fitted with a big battery pack to power the trailer wheels. Will help with getting off the line and going uphill, but wont work in every case.
     
  12. FreeOfPge

    FreeOfPge Member

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    I'm sure that the possibility of a Model X with seats and falcon doors removed and replaced with a truck bed has been discussed at TM. It would seem the likely starting point for testing...
     
  13. Scotty

    Scotty Member

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    As the OP, I read the 1st 2 pages of the vast 'Truck' thread. It was started a few years ago, and the Tesla playing field has changed considerably since it debuted. I'm also sure there's quite a bit of recent comments, but I didn't want it buried on page 35. We continually see new threads related to older similar threads, but I wanted to throw this out as a fresh thought. As we also know, some people(including myself), on the truck thread) didn't or don't always read every page of a previous thread before starting a new one.
    Now, with the Hp and Torque of the dual motor drive train, the release of the 70kW and 90 kW packs, and the release of the MX have changed the direction that an EV truck might bring to the mix. I appreciate all comments on my thread. I am not the typical F150 / Ram 1500 truck user. I tow and haul regularly, and with a 1 ton, not a 1/2 ton that's more for looks, exhaust noise, and belching soot / smoke. I don't run a chipped truck, but my 06 has 325 Hp and 650 lb/ft, which is decent for hauling and towing. Could be similar with the dual motor / dual battery drive system. Even if it's range was about 200 miles when doing serious work, I would certainly give it a good hard look.
    I am also intrigued enough that I might pursue this myself. (This would be a thread in itself). I'd use an existing platform, as it would be less regulated. SpC would be an issue, as Tesla wouldn't let it plugged in, since it's a ';modified' Tesla. Warranties and SpC wouldn't exist. For those of you who currently have a ICE truck, in the 1/2 ton to 1 ton chassis, what would be needed to move to the hypothetical dual motor, 140 - 180 kW pack, geared for maybe a top end of 85 mph, with low end 'oompf'.

    No falcon wing doors, but a nice bed and heavier cooling pack, and towing package for say, 10K lbs.

    Scotty
     
  14. eye.surgeon

    eye.surgeon Member

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    Your characterization of truck owners is about as accurate as that which depicts Tesla owners as self-righteous tree hugging granola eating pricks. True of some but not most by far.

    The average new F150 owner is wealthy, educated, and has probably never heard of rolling coal.
     
  15. Evbwcaer

    Evbwcaer Member

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    I think people are thinking worst case regarding MPG ? KwH/m. The old VW trucks could get near 50mpg. I know those trucks are way smaller than what people want in the current market, but I think if a truck was Colorado/Tacoma sized but offered a nice price/value/function/performance package, consumers would be willing to go with a slightly smaller, but equally capable, truck.

    I am a person who probably would by an electric truck, but never a gas truck, point being you could grow the market even more.

    If an electric truck could be a "generator," that would offer some nice utility over other trucks. A 140kw Tacoma with Supercharging would be great.

    There must be a lot of fleet trucks where something like a 150 mile range would be plenty?
     
  16. MikeInFL

    MikeInFL Member

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    For a Tesla truck to happen I'm almost certain it could not have a single speed motor, there would need to be multiple gears or else one would be toting around literally a ton of extra weight for no reason. It's simple really, think of a bicycle with gears. If you have one tall gear you can fly on a straightaway but you're going to exhaust yourself the second you try to make it up a hill/mountain. Also with regards to MX I'm very intrigued to see how well it can tow an airstream/enclosed trailer up a mountain pass with a single speed.
     
  17. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    Locally many pickups are owned by builders, trades people, and farmers. They rarely go over 200 miles but often haul big bulky materials. So an electric pickup could do very well as fuel costs are significant.
     
  18. MileHighMotoring

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    First, I'd be wary of comparing anything from decades ago to anything today in terms of fuel efficiency. Those vehicles didn't have the safety innovations and regulations we have today. I have read so many forum posts and car magazine letters that basically amount to "Big deal about the new hybrid (Prius,Insight,etc), my 1990 Civic got the same mpg'. It's not comparing apples to apples and doesn't apply to a new vehicle.

    Second, are you talking about the 60's VW trucks, based on the microbus form? They used like 1 liter engines on a chassis that weighed something like 1,800 lbs. They took about 3 weeks to reach highway speeds and were the least complex vehicles. You could go buy a $20 tool set and take the whole thing apart and put it back together again! Or maybe you're talking about the 80's Rabbit-based pickup? With it's 78-hp motor it wasn't in a league with real trucks either.
     
  19. Bangor Bob

    Bangor Bob Member

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    GM is hoping people have short memories about that, their next generation will be much more aluminum-intensive.
     
  20. Rama

    Rama Member

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    With dual motors each motor can be geared differently. This will give you some of the benefits of multiple gears without the complexity. The rear gets more power on take off and the front at cruise.
     

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