Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×
Transportation Businesses Technology

Tesla Will Reveal Its Electric Semi Truck in September (techcrunch.com) 273

From a report: Elon Musk just let us know when we'll get a look at the electric semi truck that he's teased in the past: The Tesla transport vehicle will be revealed in September, the CEO said on Twitter on Thursday, noting that the team has "done an amazing job" and that the vehicle is "seriously next level." Plans at Tesla for an electric semi truck have been in the works for a while now: The vehicle was first mentioned back in July of 2016, when Musk revealed part 2 of his fabled "master plan" for his electric vehicle company. The Tesla Semi, as Musk called it, is designed to help reduce the cost of cargo transportation, and improve safety for drivers, according to the CEO at the time.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Tesla Will Reveal Its Electric Semi Truck in September

Comments Filter:
  • Driverless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @03:25PM (#54230171) Journal

    It has to have the capacity for a driverless upgrade out of the gate or it's going to be an expensive, outdated piece of awkward shit. That's where we are now: an electric lorry would be awesome, but we're seriously waiting for a driverless lorry in 2020. Promise an upgrade to driverless at significantly less than the full cost of the vehicle and close to the cost difference between it and a driverless model of equal specification when the tech becomes available and you're good to go; require replacing a probably 5,000,000 mile vehicle 500,000 miles into its lifespan to get the driverless tech (bigger than electric tech) and you're getting nothing.

    • Everything is drive by wire now retrofitting a truck like this would be trivial.
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      " expensive, outdated piece of awkward shit."

      Just like every other Semi Truck ever made.

    • Re:Driverless (Score:4, Informative)

      by steveha ( 103154 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @04:07PM (#54230467) Homepage

      It has to have the capacity for a driverless upgrade out of the gate

      Please note that Tesla is now building every new car [tesla.com] (Model S, Model 3, and Model X) with full self-driving hardware. This includes 8 cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, a forward-facing radar, and computers adequate for self-driving (they claim 40x more processing power than the previous "Autopilot" computers). In the future, every Tesla car sold this year could be software-upgraded to full self-driving.

      So, call me crazy, but I think Tesla might have thought of your point and is probably on top of it.

      • by es330td ( 964170 )

        This includes 8 cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, a forward-facing radar,

        I am very interested going forward to know what the maintenance is going to be on this stuff. A relative who owns a garage maintains a fleet of 100 vehicles for a company and says that a significant part of his work is related to sensors that have nothing to do with driving, e.g. mass O2 sensors. Self driving cars depend on absolute values for all these sensors. How many can become non-functional before the electronic brain goes into lockdown because it doesn't have sufficient info? We like to think that th

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          O2 sensors are exhaust sensors working in a very dirty environment. The backup sensors around for 10+ years now fail at a near-zero rate. The facts show that your worry isn't based in fact. But I don't think that'll stop you from repeating it until you lose your job replacing sensors, at which time you'll be complaining about them being too good.
      • What if they need a different set of hardware bolted on to meet future DOT guidelines for unoccupied autonomous vehicles?

    • They're called trains. We don't run them without a driver out of an overabundance of caution, but the conductor mostly just sits there ready to yank on the brake if something catastrophic happens.

      A driverless truck/lorry won't happen (at least not for several decades if not centuries) because the existing infrastructure won't support it. A good percentage of the places where trucks have to unload their goods aren't actually built for trucks to park and unload. I regularly see tractor trailer drivers ma
      • Is it cheaper to pay $12/hr for a driver to make a 3-day cross-country drive, or to pay $12/hr for a driver at the destination to get into each truck and park it as it arrives?

      • Sorry to burst your bubble, but its already happening and the industry can't wait for it to happen mainstream. Check out the stories of OTTO and their shipments of Budweiser using driverless technology.

    • It has to have the capacity for a driverless upgrade out of the gate or it's going to be an expensive, outdated piece of awkward shit.

      Not at all. What you are not taking into account is that electric vehicles requires significantly less maintenance and electricity is cheap. Paying less for maintenance and powering it will result in saving money much faster than your typical car.

      • My point was that electric vehicles require less maintenance, so buying an electric vehicle is (presumably) an investment spanning decades; if your business risk appetite and tolerances are tuned such that you're willing to risk the cost of using old-style diesel to stretch for a few years to upgrade to driverless lorries without having to somehow sell off your (now severely-devalued) electric lorries at a huge loss, you might decide to wait 3-5 years to save yourself hundreds of millions of dollars with o

      • > Not at all. What you are not taking into account is that electric vehicles
        > requires significantly less maintenance and electricity is cheap.

        Electricity is cheap *TODAY*. Diesel fuel used to be a lot cheaper than gasoline. Then diesel cars became common, and the resulting demand pushed up diesel fuel prices. A big switchover from diesel fiel to electricity for trucks will push up electricity prices, and possibly lower diesel fuel prices. It's the demand side of supply and demand.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13, 2017 @03:28PM (#54230183)

    Nothing says long haul trucking like a vehicle with a 200 mile range and a 6 hour recharge time.

    • Re:Nothing says... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bugler412 ( 2610815 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @03:32PM (#54230207)
      a huge proportion of the truck market is local travel and terminal movement tractors. An electric makes perfect sense for those roles. Not all trucking is long haul.
      • I don't disagree, but I was under the impression that a lot more of that local transport is medium trucks. I would've guessed it'd make more sense to push that market first and worry about the semi-tractor heavy trucks after proving yourself on that smaller scale. At the same time, I presume they know what they're doing. I look forward to seeing what that battery pack ends up looking like; I bet it'll be impressive.
      • Furthermore local/terminal trucks are the vast majority of concentrated pollution, where EV's shine.
    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @03:43PM (#54230271)

      Nothing says long haul trucking like a vehicle with a 200 mile range and a 6 hour recharge time.

      Who said it was a long haul truck? And if you're going to make up bogus numbers for range at least try to make them credible. Be more clever with your snark next time.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by tsqr ( 808554 )

        Who said it was a long haul truck?

        It's implied by the descriptive term "semi truck".

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Formerly a professional semi driver, Currently a programmer.

          It is only your implication it is not the implication by those that drive the semi's or manage the fleets.

          I spent 10+ years behind the wheel of large vehilces and most semi's I knew of drove in a radius of less than 400 miles as the crow flies. Hell I know thousands of semis that drove in a radius of less than 100 miles on a general basis. If he has made a Semi capable of 200 miles and a six hour recharge than he has great market potential. Please

    • Well, considering the cars do more than 200miles, I hope the lorries do too. Also, I'd be very surprised if they didn't have quick replace batteries. Reach the stop- drop off the spent batteries, pick up freshly charged ones. No reason to stop any more frequently than your current vehicles.

    • Re:Nothing says... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Ichijo ( 607641 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @03:49PM (#54230313) Journal

      San Francisco's electric trolleybuses can run all day and all night without stopping to recharge.

    • Re:Nothing says... (Score:5, Informative)

      by steveha ( 103154 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @04:19PM (#54230565) Homepage

      Nothing says long haul trucking like a vehicle with a 200 mile range and a 6 hour recharge time.

      I guarantee you that this thing is going to have a fast-swap battery pack.

      The Model S already has a battery pack that can be swapped [tesla.com] in about 90 seconds by a computer-controlled machine. It turned out [fortune.com] that very few Model S owners wanted to pay for the fast battery swap service; the Supercharger service is adequate to most people's needs. (By the way, the Supercharger is much faster than your suggested 6 hours of charge time, for existing cars at least.)

      So if range and charging time is an issue, companies will have the option of buying extra batteries and setting up battery-swap hubs at key locations on long haul routes. Or Tesla will do it like they tried for the Model S.

      And hey what do you know, Tesla is investing heavily in a battery "gigafactory" [wikipedia.org] and is going to bring the cost of batteries down as much as possible, as soon as possible.

      So your joke was amusing but you have not actually identified a real problem. It's almost like Tesla knows what it's doing.

    • Re:Nothing says... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @04:33PM (#54230667)
      The attraction of electric motors for trucks is the same reason steam and diesel locomotives were replaced by diesel-electric. The heavy loading means there's a huge range of torque vs. speed requirements. So a direct mechanical linkage from an ICE engine to the wheels requires a massive number of gears in the transmission. For a train this would mean 20-50 gears. Most trucks use 10-18 gears (plus 2 reverse gears).

      An electric motor can cover that huge torque vs speed range without any gears. At some point the extra weight of the transmission with all those gears is more of a burden than the losses you get from converting the ICE's mechanical energy into electrical to drive the electric motor. In that respect, even if the truck isn't 100% electric, it could offer some serious advantages. e.g. No low gears - the ICE engine only drives the truck at higher speeds. At lower speeds it's powered by an electric motor, whose battery is recharged by the ICE.
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Tesla cars have nothing in the front but an extra trunk [google.com]. A Tesla tractor-trailer rig could fill the space traditionally used for the engine with additional battery capacity.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Charge times for EVs are under an hour. As the battery gets bigger, you can charge it at higher currents to keep the charge time around 40-50 minutes.

      The fuel and maintenance savings offset extra stopping times for commercial use. My old Leaf is a taxi now. With self driving it becomes even less relevant.

      Speed is not usually a big factor. Most deliveries are not time constrained.

    • Re:Nothing says... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by radarskiy ( 2874255 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @06:22PM (#54231373)

      "Nothing says long haul trucking like a vehicle with a 200 mile range and a 6 hour recharge time."

      Nothing says long haul trucking.

      Nothing says 200 mile range.

      Nothing says 6 hour recharge.

      Your argument aspires to strawman status.

  • by pr0t0 ( 216378 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @03:28PM (#54230185)

    Given how critical aerodynamics are for ev's, I wonder if they'll be able to streamline the vehicle without it looking like a phallus on wheels.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      A lorry has a giant plastic scoop on top that serves no purpose other than to provide fairing for the big, box-shaped shipping container. Seriously, it's a third of the cabin's height.

    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @03:45PM (#54230281)

      Given how critical aerodynamics are for ev's, I wonder if they'll be able to streamline the vehicle without it looking like a phallus on wheels.

      Aerodynamics are just as important for gas powered vehicles as they are for EVs. Wind resistance doesn't care what you have under the hood. Besides, EVs have an advantage there because they don't need a radiator up front screwing up the air stream.

      • EV's have more flexibility in location of the radiator but I believe some if not all still have them. The battery packs have to be climate controlled to stay stable and the cooling is most efficiently handled via water cooling using a radiator. Aerodynamics are important to gas powered vehicles but arguably more important for EV's because of the range constraints from using a battery. Whereas putting a larger fuel tank in a gas powered car is trivial both in difficulty and expense.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          Most don't have them. A water-cooled air-to-water heat exchanger is a "radiator". The EVs with air-only systems would never have a radiator, though air-cooled is less common, as the batteries change. And in EVs, 5% or so becomes heat, while in an IC gasoline engine, it's closer to 70%. So the radiator in an IC car has to be about 14 times the size of the EV, for the same performance. But, when you need so little cooling, you are back to where radiator-less systems may be better.

          And the size of the car
    • Given how critical aerodynamics are for ev's, I wonder if they'll be able to streamline the vehicle without it looking like a phallus on wheels.

      The problem with truck aerodynamics is:
      A. The trailer is not always owned by the trucking company.
      B. Boxy trailers have more usable space than aerodynamic ones. Because of this, most trucking industry analysts look at "freight efficiency" (how far a unit of mass can be moved with a unit of fuel). That leads to some interesting trade offs. The most aerodynamic truck is not always the most efficient at moving freight. This can even vary based on what the vehicle is hauling, or the route taken.

    • Aerodynamic drag is proportional to the square of the velocity. This means that at lower speed steamlining becomes much less important. Not unimportant, just much less important.
  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @03:40PM (#54230257)

    I say to Tesla: Reduce the complexity and(or) the gimmickry and see cash flow into your coffers. Folks, how about creating a near "normal" car with better range and more competitive pricing?

    I for one know I'd be a sure customer. I also know that I am not alone. Who needs a car whose handles will pop out? These get "stuck" sometimes...and in a dusty environment, it gets worse!!

    • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @03:44PM (#54230277) Journal

      Model 3: $35,000. Bolt EV: $37,000. Volt PHEV: $33,000.

      Seems like Tesla is in the same MSRP class as Chevrolet.

      • Too bad Tesla is the only manufacturer that has figured out how to make an EV that doesn't look like a moronic toy. They aren't even close to being in the same class.
        • The standard fusion, hybrid, and EV (energi) all have the same body. Perhaps i'm biased, but i think they look pretty damn good.

        • by Luthair ( 847766 )
          I'd say the Model S looks good, the X looks like a Pontiac Aztek and the 3 looks OK until you see the interior which looks like a moronic toy.
          • by Altus ( 1034 )

            the exterior of the 3 looks like a mazda with its grille sealed up. Not a bad choice of cars to rip off, but not exactly inspired.

      • by Luthair ( 847766 )

        Bolt availability for purchase - today

        Model 3 availability for purchase - sometime after 2020 at the earliest

    • Folks, how about creating a near "normal" car with better range and more competitive pricing?

      Then why would I buy Tesla instead of a Renault Zoe or one of the many EVs several companies are going out of their way to release? The thing that sets Tesla apart from everything else is the amazing about of car you get for your dollar. Aside from the model X screwup they have a good thing going.

    • My regular, non-popping car handles sometimes get covered with ice in the winter. I'm pretty sure a Tesla owner wouldn't be able to open his doors at all.

    • by mspohr ( 589790 )

      It's called the Tesla Model 3.
      Smaller, less complex, fewer gimmicks, great range, $35,000
      You'll have to get in line, though. 400,000 people have already put down $1000 deposits.
      Deliveries start in a few months.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Those that want boring cars are already buying the Leaf. Go buy a Leaf, and stop whining about the Tesla.
      • If we reach the point where everyone is required to have so-called 'self driving cars', then ALL cars will be 'boring' by definition, and there won't be anything you'll be able to do to change that.
    • Never mind passenger cars that can out-race a Porsche. Never mind gigantic trucks for hauling freight. How about a nice small pickup truck? That's what I want and need. Oh and you can keep your cheesey 'self driving' nonsense, don't want it.
    • by J-1000 ( 869558 )
      The luxury features justify to buyers what would be a high sticker price regardless. Eliminating features like motorized handles and gull wing doors won't cut costs enough to make it "affordable". Maybe eventually, but not yet.
    • Tesla quite literally can not build cars fast enough to meet demand.

      The Model 3 is already the most successful consumer product launch of any kind in history (forget cars), and it won't even start shipping for months. It has years worth of pre-orders in the backlog.

      Acquiring customers is far from their problems.

  • From the article:

    Tesla's not the only company targeting electric drivetrains for transport vehicles; Nikola revealed its One vehicle last year, too, though that's a hybrid that also uses compressed natural gas in addition to its electric battery.

    Hehe.. I'm sure Nikola & Tesla will get along nicely...

  • I get that this could be useful, but where if they can make a semi-truck it seems like they could make an electric pickup. Something capable of hauling around a family, the occasional lumber load or appliance, and towing trailers in the 3000-4000 lb range (a LOT lighter than a semi).

    At least in my area it seems like at least half the vehicles on the roads are trucks, and most of those people actually use them for doing "truck things". Even the most efficient trucks on the road though are still not getting

    • I get that this could be useful, but where if they can make a semi-truck it seems like they could make an electric pickup.

      I think the problem there is that the typical buyer of a pickup is... ummm, rather conservative so it's a harder sell. It's a big market but the typical buyer tends to have some rather backwards notions about what makes for a drool-worthy vehicle. Go pick up a copy of Diesel Power [trucktrend.com] magazine if you don't believe me. These are people who all too often think getting 12mpg while belching smog is just fine and think they "need" 800ft-lbs of torque even though they rarely haul anything. I think selling them on

      • Wouldn't an electric pickup have better towing performance than a conventional pickup? There should be plenty of pragmatic reasons to pick it over a conventional... or I am sure Tesla wouldn't build it.
      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        I'd buy an EV pickup in a heartbeat. My daily driver is a pickup and I'd happily replace it with an EV if one was good enough. All sorts of advantages to electrification of a truck. Tons of torque, electric power on tap to run power tools, more cargo space, fuel efficiency, etc. What's not to love? Though I have to admit that in many cases a hybrid pickup might make more sense especially as a work truck.

        Yup, you could fit some nice long batteries under the bed of an electric pickup, especially with no exhaust or drive linkage (individual motors on wheels would make four-wheel drive a few lines of code). The "more cargo space" would be even better than that -- you'd get something sorely missing on most pickups: an enclosed locking trunk space like a car has, via the front hood no longer having an engine [google.com]. Now you have someplace to store more expensive tools.

      • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
        I think a pickup would actually be a great use case for a Volt-like hybrid: electric with a diesel engine backup for when you need the range. Since pickups should normally be work vehicles, they might need more range than what an all-electric could currently do (though they do have a lot more space for batteries).
    • I used to get 30mpg in my Ford Ranger 15 years ago if I was doing mostly highway miles. Of course, Ford decided that if they did away with the Ranger in the US everyone would buy bigger trucks instead. So I've been driving cars ever since and they haven't been Fords.

      I have heard they're considering bringing back the Ranger to the US, if they do, it might be my next "car" if they can improve the fuel efficiency in it to the same degree they have other cars. I loved my Ranger, best "car" I ever had, althou

    • I specifically want a light pickup, which we haven't really seen in the US for decades because of the tax status for pickup trucks. Presumably, an EV could duck all those problems since they were only put in place because of emissions and fuel economy concerns (and then the industry ducked around it all by creating the SUV, the clever buggers)
    • by mspohr ( 589790 )

      I think Tesla is planning a pickup truck since they are very popular. I don't know why since most of them that I see on the road are empty in the back "pickup" part.
      I guess people are enamored with the idea that some day they might want to put a board in the back and drive home and do some home improvement work... someday...

      • I wouldn't really look at the bed of trucks coming down the highways as to whether or not they're used. I get plenty of use out of mine, but the bed is still empty most of the time. My truck is my daily transportation first and foremost, but occasionally I'll need to haul something. I tow a boat fishing at least every other weekend, and I'll end up needing to haul something at least every 3 or 4 weeks, but still, the most common time you'll see my truck is when it's empty and I'm just driving it to work.

  • I believe the long-term plan to protect driver safety is to allow them to sit at home instead of perform the dangerous job of driving a truck.
  • Now first page news. Bubble?

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers

Working...