Elon Musk’s electric car company, Tesla, is now an electric truck company as well.
But some question whether the company is aiming at the right segment of the truck market.
Tesla has unveiled its electric semi truck, priced at a lower-than-expected $150,000. That pricing is meant to help the electric truck compete with diesels. Called the Semi, Tesla’s truck will have a 500-mile range and some self-driving capability. The Verge reports:
If those prices and specs stick then Tesla has a potentially disruptive offering with Semi. Most long-haul diesel trucks are priced around $120,000 and cost tens of thousands of dollars to operate each year. Tesla claims its all-electric Semi will provide more than $200,000 in fuel savings alone over the lifespan of the truck.
Experts had expected the trucks to cost as much as $300,000, according to Ars Technica. The site reports that the Semi is surprising both for projected cost and length of time the trucks will last:
One complication here is Tesla’s promise that the truck will be able to operate for a million miles without breaking down. Levine says an insider told him that this guarantee includes the battery. That’s surprising because a typical lithium-ion battery is good for 1,000 charge cycles—which would mean the 500-mile truck would need a new battery after 500,000 miles.
There’s another complication, though not so much with the performance of the truck. CNBC reports that some experts think Tesla’s decision to target long-haul trucking first is a mistake. Here’s the network:
Mounting regulatory pressure and future policy changes may push freight carriers to adopt lower-emission power trains in their vehicles, said Barclays analyst Michael Cohen in a note sent Monday.
But Tesla’s recently unveiled semitrailer might be aimed at the segment of the market that will likely be the slowest to transition to electric drivetrains. Constraints on price, range and payload capacity suggest the long-haul market may be the last to embrace electric trucks, after urban freight and other shorter-range, lighter-duty vehicle markets.
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