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Tesla Semi

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

  1. electracity

    electracity Active Member

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    Semis specs vary a lot, even for long distance trucks. Hills require a lot of torque. Owner operators make configuration trade offs between speed and fuel efficiency.

    Braking is complicated with EV semi. Engine braking is replaced by regen, and definitely improved over a diesel truck. But trailer braking will just be standard brakes. Maximum regen only braking has the risk of fishtailing the trailer.

    Since Tesla likely won't deliver a semi before 2020, they can announce a truck based on battery and charging technology that isn't in production yet.
     
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  2. Intl Professor

    Intl Professor Active Member

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    Or, Bezos and Musk could team up, buy a railroad convert it into a hyperloop with solar on top and get into the shipping business big time with drone delivery at key "fulfillment center" points. Surely there's somewhere in Texas to start this. Hyugely possible in the Trump age.
     
  3. kenliles

    kenliles Active Member

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  4. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Active Member

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    Regen braking on a trailer is not unheard of. No reason for Tesla to avoid it.

    Hyliion | Hybrid Technology for the Trucking Industry
    Trailer Hybrid System Recovers Energy Lost During Braking - Trucking Industry Defense Association
    and so on
     
  5. Intl Professor

    Intl Professor Active Member

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    But following on my idea to do a hyperloop freight combo: matching with Bezos who I think is the logistics whiz, plus an even bigger buck guy than Musk, makes sense. Also, the unemployed problem created by this infrastructure, what about the infrastructure jobs created by this transportation revolution? Once built, then we worry about making everyone an artist. Our role in that world? Pushing daisies. Later I'll go crazy on AI.
     
  6. ValueAnalyst

    ValueAnalyst Closed

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    Thank you; I appreciate the comprehensive response.

    The one thing I would note is that I think you may be extrapolating Tesla's current capital constraints for too long. I think Model 3 mass production may allow Tesla to raise debt relatively easily vs. annual secondary equity issuances (hopefully we may have seen the last of dilution).

    I don't think it's too many years away where Tesla will have the same I-have-too-much-money-and-I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-it problem that Apple currently has. It's not in 2018 or 2019 or 2020, as I expect further Gigafactories each of which costs ~$5 billion, but not too much longer after that. Especially if Tesla can get more than 1 million cars out of each Gigafactory via "order of magnitude" improvements in automation.

    Elon had said ~100 Gigafactories would allow the world to fully switch to sustainable energy, so that's ~$500 billion cost to build. Assuming 25% gross margin, that's $2 trillion of revenue. Assuming $50,000 ASP, that's 40 million cars. Assuming a continuation of more than 100% annual growth rate for run-rate car production, that's what, 2023? 2025 latest? And that's excluding gross profits from Tesla Energy...
     
  7. Intl Professor

    Intl Professor Active Member

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    I know you guys/gals don't like reasoning from analogy, but here goes again.

    Observing for the first time today the proliferation of ideas on this thread in the compass of a few days, there is nothing to fear from artificial intelligence and deep learning. Collectively, with a clearly defined goal, no machine could possibly match this, unless it is watching us for ideas, and then it would treat us with respect because we are faster together than is deep learning. We worry a lot about understanding the human brain and reproducing those insights in our machines. Even Musk is trying through his neural net ideas to push this envelope. But the boundary to a new horizon is already breached. The key is putting a group of people in touch for brainstorming on a common idea in a freewheeling but disciplined in its way by the search for solutions. This is another blinding flash of the obvious since we know this is how science progresses. We are like neurons in our collective brain but with vast memories from disparate sources. It is another resolution of the paradox of what I feel is the problem governments, constitutions, and political philosophers try to achieve--reconciliation of the contradiction between freedom and order. Such reconciliation is what Hegel called the negation of the negation, his third law of the dialectic.

    I know I'm a pollyanna, a fanboy for TMC.
     
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  8. electracity

    electracity Active Member

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    Sure you can make new types of trailers, and add batteries to trailers. But semis are flexible vehicles made to pull a variety of trailers, which often includes trailers owned by others. It seems to me that if Tesla wasn't planning to pull other peoples stuff they would have gone into the medium duty truck business. The developers of those vehicles control all the axles and have a long frame rail to add batteries.

    I just don't see Tesla building semi charging/exchanging battery infrastructure for semis, so I am unclear how they are positioning this vehicle.

    I suppose Tesla could build tractor and trailer for companies like Walmart:
    Walmart's Truck Fleet
     
  9. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    Not trying to get off topic but I think that the idea of neural lace is going to put our minds in touch with each other very directly in the form that you've outlined. If we can cooperatively think without the barriers of language, we're going to hopefully get things done rapidly.
     
  10. AudubonB

    AudubonB One can NOT induce accuracy with precision!

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    WalMart is indeed the monster. Here is the latest from TransportTopics of the top ten fleet owners in the US: Now, from fleet owner.com, the ranking differs in that they list by order of Power Units (i.e., trucks + tractors), placing WMT at #37 with just 6,142 in 2013 vs #1 AT&T's 63,467. However, by number of trailers , WMT is tops.
    Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 12.05.26 PM.png

    Now, that metric is differ from freight companies. Chart 2 shows the leaders in # of ITUs, aka conex containers (largest size - 53-footers). But it appears I have to create a new post to show that.....stand by....
     
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  11. jhm

    jhm Well-Known Member

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    I think this last paragraph is really the core issue in battery swap: selling the truck but leasing the battery.

    Most operators are will need financing, are comfortable with paying for fuel as an expense. So leasing batteries transforms a big chunk of capex into a fuel cost. It gets better. The price of diesel is quite volatile, but the cost of battery power is stable and cheap.

    After about 8 years, a deisel engine needs to be rebuilt and ither maintenance expenses mount. But with battery leasing, there is no maintenance crisis to worry about. The rest of the electric drivetrain is fairly low maintenance, durable or easy to swap out. For example, swapping out a drive unit is fairly trivial.

    So finally with battery leasing there is no anxiety about how durable a battery is. You keep swapping batteries that are in fine working order. This shoukdnreduce some apprehension toward a new technology.
     
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  12. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    #152 ohmman, Apr 15, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2017
    I'd be interested in seeing a ranking by annual shipped weight. Drink producers seem like they'd be high on that list since they're shipping a lot of water.

    Brief Mod note: Yes, they are. Look for, e.g, "Pepsi" in the data I provided.
     
  13. RobStark

    RobStark Well-Known Member

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  14. Intl Professor

    Intl Professor Active Member

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    I hope you are right and you probably are because we're really seeing a lot of people taking advantage of the potential for alt-facts. Perhaps its because I'm a retired academic there is one advantage of miscommunication with language, sometimes it is the source of creativity for people of good will. Though my wife is really proficient in English now after 13 years of immersion in it, she comes up with stuff almost daily that has to be worked through to our mutual benefit. The first time we viewed the statue of liberty from battery park, I gave her a kiss and remarked, "you smell like garlic," to which she responded, "you smell like viagra."
     
  15. AudubonB

    AudubonB One can NOT induce accuracy with precision!

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    #155 AudubonB, Apr 15, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
    No; can't seem to post. Here is the latest chart:

    Largest domestic 53 foot container companies (fleet size) - Wikipedia

    JBHunt is way in first place with 65,700, twice as much as 2nd place. Total US fleet size is 227,000 such units as of 2016 data.

    Third and last to consider as partners, competitors or customers for Tesla Semi is the trucking industry. Far and away the largest here are the two parcel giants, FedEx and UPS. After that there are names like JBHunt (again), YRC ("Roadway"), Swift, Hub, Schneider, Landstar, XPO (Con-Way) and Old Dominion.

    BUT: even a $6.2 bn yearly revenue player like JBHunt commands only a 2.5% market share un the US. Approximately NINETY PERCENT of the business is through owner-operators. That makes for an industry dynamic that both could be very challenging as well as potentially very productive for such a game-changer as what Tesla is attempting.
     
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  16. electracity

    electracity Active Member

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    Heavy cheap stuff is produced locally. So a regional Pepsi bottler makes Pepsi and ships it to a Walmart Distribution center, or directly to the store. I don't know a lot about this area, but it seems to me that much distribution is "hub and spoke" with distances of under 200 miles.

    With chargers at the distribution center and the store there doesn't seem to be a need for battery swap or intermediate chargers.

    Tesla will be doing great if they make a couple thousand semis in 2022. They can't fill demand in the next five years for more than a couple of big users. Whats the point of building generic infrastructure to create demand for trucks that can't be built?

    The first truck is mostly likely the roadster, not the model 3. Battery swap and megawatt charging seems to me to be model 3 level thinking.
     
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  17. dc_h

    dc_h Active Member

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    I don't know about all the big shippers, but PepsiCo runs semi's, medium size Grumman style trucks (like UPS) and a lot of Sprinter style trucks for convenience store sales. I'm a little surprised Tesla would not go after this market first. It is a market with lots of stops and starts, daily routes probably that don't require a charge, and overnight parking that would allow low cost recharging. I would think partnering with anyone on the list, or Amazon or best would be USPS. Those filthy little jeep things do not seem to meet standard pollution control requirements. Maybe wait for a model y with falcon wing doors. The car can follow the mailman around and open the door for quick reloads.
    It would be an amazing day for UPS or FedEx to shoot for zero carbon footprint.
     
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  18. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    Sorry, my comment was less related to Tesla's ability to penetrate the "heavy" market and more about my curiosity. I don't buy drinks partially for this reason. I watch people in Costco pushing carts of San Pellegrino and think about the embedded carbon in getting water from Italy into heavy glass bottles and shipping them to the American West Coast. It seems an incredibly odd side effect of the global economy.
     
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  19. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    In this example - Bezos / Amazon doing the logistics and buying / owning the equipment, with Tesla designing and building the equipment that provides the revolutionary cost reduction to the business - totally makes sense to me.
     
  20. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    Now this is an interesting conundrum. I see your point, and I readily admit that I don't know where this will fall. On one hand, if Tesla goes nuts and tries to build 1/2 of the world GF capacity, that's $250B of capital required. I agree that with the kind of quarterly profit and revenue growth Tesla will be showing as a result of each of these GF's they build, borrowing money and avoiding equity issuances is likely. And there will be an amazing pile of money ready to be lent to Tesla, and they'll be able to service an amazingly big pile of it.

    And this is all inside of Tesla sticking to it's list of markets it's ready to disrupt (cars, energy storage).

    I do believe Tesla's capital constraints will be the envy of most everybody except Apple much sooner than most believe.

    I also believe that there are big enough industries out there to be disrupted, that even Tesla can't capitalize their replacement.

    If Tesla Semi delivers a 50% or more reduction in the cost of moving stuff (fuel, maintenance, insurance, drivers), then there won't be any need to help the logistics companies figure out whether they want to be involved or not. The only need will be to build enough trucks in one year (or as fast as possible) to replace all of the trucks on the road - that's how big the demand will be. The logistics companies will have their own financing (buy or lease). So take ~50% market share supplying tractors etc.. to logistics companies, take your 30-40% gross margins on the sale of all that gear, and let them duke it out from there. All of their cost savings, I believe, will quickly leave them and go to consumers in the form of lower shipping prices.


    Here's another use for massive capital in a different business. Utilities, at least some of them, seem to like PPA agreements instead of owning the means of production and storage themselves. So maybe Tesla takes the oceans of cash and bids energy projects around the world as PPA's as a simplistic way to push the transition to renewable energy in the electric grid. Not exclusively, but anywhere somebody prefers a PPA arrangement, Tesla can come in with the up front cash to build the project in exchange for contracted and guaranteed cash flow from energy delivery.

    The electric utilities though - with the government monopoly, they're accustomed to working at a much slower pace and in a certain way. Having big capital available there might make it easier to make progress there.

    Here's another big industry and capital commitment Tesla might want to make in 10 years - go buy a railroad and use the rights of way to build a hyper loop network.
     
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