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Tesla Semi

Discussion in 'TSLA Investor Discussions' started by jhm, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. bxr140

    bxr140 Active Member

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    Who said they'd log fewer miles per day?
     
  2. scottf200

    scottf200 Active Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  3. GoTslaGo

    GoTslaGo Learning Member

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    Find it interesting that the most common job in DC is a "Lawyer" since 2000. Previous to that it was "Secretary". Except 1994 where is was "Lawyer", then followed by 1996, where it was "Janitor". What's up with 1996?
     
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  4. mrdoubleb

    mrdoubleb Active Member

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    I am far from being a trucking expert, but I think charging via SC would not be very practical. Now, sure, the tucks would still have a charge port for emergencies or to charge back at the HQ, but, I think in trucking every minute not spent on the road is a loss.

    Tesla could go 2 ways with the packs: develop a monster e.g. 500kWh pack for semis or use the S/X 100 pack and mount 3-5 of those under the trailer.

    Say you deploy these new 350 "hyperchargers". If you have the 100 packs, you would need 3-5 chargers per semi to charge in 15 min like some of you suggested. If they go for a new monster pack (or daisy chain 5x 100 and try to charge them at once), it will take an hour or more to charge to a useful capacity, or they charge to 50-70% and have to stop much mor often.

    None of that would be very attractive to these cstomers.

    On the other hand, bulding out a swapping network has a lot of advantages and almost none of the disadvantages compared to when they tried to do this for ther cars:
    • While this is costly - maybe costlier than the supercharger -, the cost can be sunk in to the long term service contract for swapping or the fleet purchase of, say, 50 trucks.
    • Swapping would require only a few minutes so the truck could run practically almost 24/7 to get to the destination
    • Batteries can charge for longer using more standard, simpler infrastructure.
    Now the only issue I can think of, is if they were going for a subscription model (you only buy the semi, not the packs, and pay a fee for getting access toX number of fully charged packs at the swapping station per month), tesla would have a lot of capital tied up in a pool of, say 1000s of packs accross the country/world. So if I were them, I would partner with a leasing company who would effectively pay Tesla the full price of the packs and operate the subscription business.
     
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  5. SwTslaGrl

    SwTslaGrl Member

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    Perhaps use in-flight refueling? Every few hours a gas turbine-electric generator drives onto the highway and connects to the truck.. hmm, nah :eek:
     
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  6. Reciprocity

    Reciprocity Active Member

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    Uh no. These guys already have a gas turbine hybrids of some sort: nikolamotor.com

    They also have some kind hydrogen solution don't know a ton about it, but seems like a good solution short of fully electric. Hopefully Tesla's solution is fully electric with some kind of next level super charging. I think a battery swap could happen but will take a long time to build out that infrastructure where as Tesla will continue to add supercharging for the cars.
     
  7. SwTslaGrl

    SwTslaGrl Member

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    Yes I think the traditional super charging could be the best solution, if the larger battery is split in car-sized modules the charging time could be similar?
     
  8. ValueAnalyst

    ValueAnalyst Closed

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    I'll take the other side on this. I think batter-swapping is the way to go.

    Solution for Tesla Semi is different than for cars. Semis will mostly travel on highways, and Tesla can build out a battery-swap infrastructure relatively easily vs. charging station infrastructure. If you think about it, it's really not that many routes that are common for Semis. Combined with a larger battery size, how many locations does Tesla really need for a robust infrastructure?

    The main issue I see with the charging solution is time. Trucking is an industry where companies pay two drivers at a time to keep the truck going non-stop. I can't see them being okay with their truck idle for hours at a time to charge, or even for one hour.
     
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  9. neroden

    neroden Model S Owner and Frustrated Tesla Fan

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    A lot of trucks are parked overnight.

    I think the mistake is looking at the trucking industry as a monolith. I expect we'll see battery-swapping stations along major routes between major nodes, and charging stations on the fringes (I happen to live on a fringe...).
     
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  10. jhm

    jhm Well-Known Member

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    At this point we can mostly speculate, but I think one thing that should be fairly clear is that this is about more than just selling electric trucks. What is needed is a whole network of logistical support so that these tractors can keep rolling at minimal costs. It's got to be a highly integrated business model for Tesla and clients.

    Roughly speaking the annual costs of operating a class 8 tractor is around
    $12k tractor lease/loan
    $24-36k fuel, 12.5k gallons
    $20k maintenance
    ??? driver, insurance, taxes
    (Better numbers are welcomed.)

    Just selling tractors is a small slice of this total market.

    Going after fueling cost by supplying charging/swapping infrastructure as well as generating solar/wind power is the biggest single opportunity.

    If the tractor can be designed so that maintenance is cut in half, that could justify a huge premium on purchase price or become a very profitable service plan.

    AP and vehicle autonomy saves trucker lives, increases their productivity, and reduces insurance. Also sorts of logistical planning and optimization programming services are needed to keep a fleet operating at minimal cost. I don't see this as replacing truckers. Rather it is a technological upgrade to their jobs that make them safer, more productive, and more rewarding. The ton-miles that one driver can move in a day will go up.

    So for an entrepreneur like Musk, this opens up all kinds of opportunities to offer new products, services and solutions. Tesla will pick over the best best options for an integrated business. So it will be fascinating to see what they go after and what they pass up.
     
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  11. electracity

    electracity Banned

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    I think the first use will be more specialized and be targeted at urban air quality. How much diesel is burned each day bringing containers out of the port at Long Beach? More urban EV semi also benefit from regenerative braking and fuelless idling. This isn't true for long distance semis.

    Swap stations and semi charging stations has the "chicken and egg" problem. Tesla would need to make a huge infrastructure investment before electric OTR trucks would become feasible. Tesla is capital limited in just building vehicles.
     
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  12. ValueAnalyst

    ValueAnalyst Closed

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    Agreed. And I would add on top the market currently dominated by FedEx and UPS. Why stop at manufacturing the trucks when you can also provide customers with a fully autonomous low-cost cargo transportation service? FedEx and UPS occupy just as much of the profit chain as Daimler.
     
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  13. Reciprocity

    Reciprocity Active Member

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    If you use the Supercharger v3 roll out to support half a million model 3's, the new installs could support the big rigs as well. This might be what Elon meant by child's play in reference to 350kw charging. What if the semi had 4 distinct 125kwh packs and each could charge at 700kw and support battery swap as they would be completely self contained. These new stations could charge 4 model 3's (S/X as well, but at lower rate for 18165 vs 2170) or one big rig at a time. Just need the parking work by spreading them out. These bigger stations wouldnt be in cities, but out on the open roads and would be support by huge battery/solar stations.

    Combined with platooning and autonomous driving, this solution could be very compelling.

    My hope is that Tesla does not sell a single rig, but instead builds out their own logistics solution. This is the only way it will be implemented properly.
     
  14. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    My guess is that in some of those transition years (and others, honestly), the numbers are pretty close. I bet "Janitor" is up there across the board, but never quite peeks out from behind the curtain. That's a pretty globally needed profession.

    I found that graphic interesting for a few reasons. First, it shows the demand for semi transport, and makes it clear why Tesla is serious about it. Second, it helps illustrate the importance of moving these vehicles to more sustainable fuel sources (as @EV-lutioin posted). And finally, it drives home the real danger in automating this industry. I'm not sure where these ~3.5 million workers are going to seamlessly transfer once their jobs are cleared out. That's a lot of labor with skills that aren't necessarily fungible to other industries.

    One other potential downside will be the additional weight. Semis are already blamed for the majority of road damage. A semi loaded with batteries and freight could potentially be even more damaging. This was dismissed in the reddit cross-post upthread but I'm not terribly satisfied with the reasoning: "they won't be much heavier overall." That remains to be seen, and the fact is that they will indeed be heavier, so road strain will increase by some amount unless there are mitigating suspension/tire details.

    I'm not suggesting it shouldn't be done - on the contrary, I believe it's imperative and I'm thrilled to see Tesla doing so. I am just not ready to gloss over some of the potentially large negative effects that could result as we move forward.
     
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  15. MP3Mike

    MP3Mike Well-Known Member

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    I remember somebody mention how many tons the engine and transmission in a tractor normally weigh, and that when replaced with motors and batteries should be very similar in weight.
     
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  16. Topher

    Topher Energy Curmudgeon

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    Power.

    Unlikely. A white roof would reflect 90-95% of sun energy. A dark solar panel would reflect 5-10%, convert (your numbers) 25%, leaving 60% more as heat.

    Thank you kindly.
     
  17. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    I'm not having the easiest time finding all of the data online, but I did find that one particular engine (Detroit Diesel DD15) for a long range semi is about 2,880 lbs. A transmission (Fuller 8LL) weighs 690 lbs. There is, of course, the lack of fuel in an electric semi, and some of the other drive components (shaft, differential) which won't exist. But that's only 3570 lbs. My X weighs over 5200 lbs.

    I'm probably missing something.
     
  18. Fallenone

    Fallenone Active Member

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    Model S/X needs 20kW level to drive. A semi would likely need ten times if that. Having solar panels on its roof is as feasible as having them on Model S/X.
     
  19. jhm

    jhm Well-Known Member

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    Why are we assuming that the solar cells ought to be sufficient for propulsion? I find the fraction of energy supplied to be irrelevant. The question is whether the cells provide enough energy to be worth the cost of the cells, maintenance and weight. For example if the added cost is a levelized 8c/kWh, then that is likely cheaper than most other charging options. So even if it only provides 1% of energy needed, it would be a cost effective upgrade.

    But supposing you could get 6kW PV that can yield 10 to 15 MWh per year against consumption of about 100MWh per year (to displace an average of about 12,500 gallons per year). The potential to get 10% of your energy at lower cost and not having to stop it seems worth exploring. Ordinary solar panels (not optimizes for this use) are under 50c/W. So if the cost of adding 6kW PV was only $3000 for 10 to 15 MWh per year, breaks even in under 4 years. I don't know if 50c/W actual pencils out for this application, but even $1/W would seem to make the economics work. For comparison, utility scale solar is about $1.25/W, but that entails costs of installing in fields, interconnections, transmission lines, inverters, etc. At factory installation efficiency, a trailer roof could be even cheaper.

    BTW, if Tesla could add solar to the Model S or X at below $1/W, I think that would be worthwhile too.
     
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  20. Fallenone

    Fallenone Active Member

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    I see your point now.
     
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