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Transportation Software Technology

Tesla Unveils 500-Mile Range Semi Truck, 620-Mile Range Roadster 2.0 373

Rei writes: During a live reveal on Thursday, Tesla unveiled its new electric Class 8 Heavy Duty vehicle. As most people familiar with Tesla products would expect, the day cab truck features staggeringly fast acceleration for a vehicle of its size. It can accelerate 0-60 in 5 seconds without a trailer and 20 seconds with a 40-ton gross weight while being able to pull its maximum payload up a 5-degree grade at 65mph (versus a typical maximum of 45mph). The 500-mile range is for the vehicle at full load and highway speeds (80% of U.S. freight routes are 250 miles or less). Tesla also boasts a million mile no-breakdown guarantee; even losing two of its four motors it can out-accelerate a typical diesel truck. The total cost per mile is pegged at 83% of operating a diesel, but when convoying is utilized -- where multiple trucks mirror the action of a lead truck -- the costs drop to 57%, a price cheaper than rail. Tesla went a step further and stole the show from their own event by having the first prototype of the new Tesla Roadster drive out of the back of the truck. With the base model alone boasting a 620 mile range on a 200kWh battery pack with 10kN torque, providing a 1.9 second 0-60, 4.2 second 0-100, and 8.9 second quarter mile, the 2+2-seating convertible will easily be the fastest-accelerating production car in the world. Top speed is not disclosed, but said to be "at least 250mph." The vehicle's release date, however, is not scheduled until 2020.
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Tesla Unveils 500-Mile Range Semi Truck, 620-Mile Range Roadster 2.0

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...3 ... 2 ... 1
  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @05:13AM (#55568373)
    You're driving along the highway going "I'm just a truck, I'm just a truck, I'm just a..." but when the bad guys appear, the artificially intelligent car you have hidden away in the back of the truck comes out, with this music playing: https://youtu.be/mhxRBa7zaOI?t... [youtu.be] Thanks to Elon Musk, YOU can be David Hasselhoff. =)
  • I hope that I'm not the only one worried about Tesla overextending themselves by launching too many new products in too short of a timeframe considering the company's size/resources?

    Not saying that they shouldn't try to venture into new markets, but considering they've still got heavily negative cash flow and have still not been able to introduce a new car without significant technical and production-related teething issues they probably should down a bit. All in all the whole thing is starting to remind
    • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @05:33AM (#55568407) Homepage

      At the same time, they're dependent on scale. It's estimated that a doubling of battery production rates equals a 17% reduction in battery costs. Hence it's in Tesla's interest to sell as many batteries as possible - whether in Model 3s, stationary energy storage, or Semis. It's also notable that Tesla is doing the exact same thing with drive units: Semi uses the exact same drive units as the Model 3 - just 4 of them.

      Roadster 2.0, by contrast, is more of a halo car. Pricing hasn't been announced, but it's clearly the sort of vehicle where "if you have to ask, you can't afford it". Hence Tesla's target of 2020 (ages by Tesla's normally overly-aggressive timelines) seems to be "pushing capital expenses down the road".

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@NosPam.world3.net> on Friday November 17, 2017 @07:20AM (#55568657) Homepage Journal

        Pricing I've seen is $200k base price for the Roadster, with a $50k reservation fee. The founder edition is $250k.

        Not cheap but not expensive for a car with that kind of performance.

        • Pricing I've seen is $200k base price for the Roadster, with a $50k reservation fee. The founder edition is $250k.

          Not cheap but not expensive for a car with that kind of performance.

          0-100 mph in 4.2 seconds and "at least" 250 mph top speed is pretty much Formula 1 racing car performance or as fast as a $2million+ Bugati.

          So, yeah, relatively inexpensive.

    • I seriously doubt that strictly on a milage basis this is cheaper than rail. Rail is incredibly efficient. And for that matter you could electrify rail the same way.

      Where rail breaks down is the last mile. Rail works out of depots. SO you need to offload these onto trucks in the end.

      plus then there is the crew size. it take a couple people to drive an entire train. But it would take one driver per semi.

  • Asking for a friend.
    • Re:Model 3? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Rei ( 128717 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @05:35AM (#55568411) Homepage

      Is "Model 3?" a question?

      if you're asking how production is going: spyshots and VIN tracking currently suggests that they're up to about 100 per week. It got a bit weird because the VIN count stalled out for like a month in the lower 500s, but then suddenly leaped to nearly 1100, and then has been counting backward, filling in the gap. But there's been a real flurry of activity in the past week, week and a half. Multiple parking lots filling and emptying on a near-daily basis with Model 3s of differing VINs. So while it's not clear what exactly got uncorked, something clearly did.

      • That sounds like something automated was improperly configured and required them to go back from the discovery of the error and fix each car.

        • Re:Model 3? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Rei ( 128717 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @08:15AM (#55568849) Homepage

          It could be. Or it could just be that they had a chasis surplus but were missing parts to fit them out.

          There's no single problem that's hit them; it's been a number of different problems. They had a supplier which fell behind on supply. They had a couple mechanical and electrical problems in vehicles which they had to go back and repair. Automated battery manufacture took them a long time to get right because the tooling they'd been given didn't work properly. There were some paint shop delays, although they don't appear to have been serious. They've had overheating problems when they try to ramp up the speed on the automated welding (they use ultra high strength steel (in addition to high strength and mild steel) for part of the frame, and UHS steel can be very finicky about welding). Etc. Just all around growing pains. But either way, it's good to see that production rate finally starting to angle up.

  • by Jzanu ( 668651 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @05:30AM (#55568401)
    How many have they made, and how many can they make now? The only funding left for them is stock as they have billions in currently unpaid bank loans with payments due this quarter and no revenue stream to meet them.
    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      With a market cap of over $50B, Tesla basically can't "run out of money", unless investors suddenly change their minds and decide it has no future. Obviously, they don't want to dilute stock, but they can whenever they need to.

      As for timing: first deliveries are scheduled for 2019.

      • by Jzanu ( 668651 )
        Tesla can dilute the stock, but that has a direct impact on the price, and given its existing price is based on enthusiasm more than financial merits there is a HUGE question of how stock holders would react to that. Would it prompt a large sell-off? Would it reduce future markets?
      • With a market cap of over $50B, Tesla basically can't "run out of money",

        What are you talking about? Of course they can run out of money - their market cap is not income. Hell, it's not even what a company is worth.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I hear they sell cars, that sounds like a revenue stream.

  • The Bugatti Chiron can do 250 now, and they claim that after eventual fettling and tuning they will get it to do 300.

    It might be the quickest production car, though, which is not the same as fastest.

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @06:27AM (#55568543)

      The Bugatti Chiron can do 250 now, and they claim that after eventual fettling and tuning they will get it to do 300.

      It might be the quickest production car, though, which is not the same as fastest.

      Bugatti - Spends two years and thousands of man-hours on developing an internal combustion engine and transmission to squeeze a gain of 25MPH faster than the previous model. Eventually becomes a not-so-useful one-seater that runs out of gas in 3 minutes at top speed.

      Tesla - Slaps in a bigger battery. Tells customers to hold on tight.

      Yeah, I think we know how this race is gonna end...

      (FYI, Koenigsegg Agera RS tops out at over 280MPH, so Bugatti already has some catching up to do.)

      • by Luthair ( 847766 )
        Air resistance at high speeds is the problem, a Tesla going that fast isn't going to have its charge last long either.
    • Is it important that a truck - presumably intended for long hauls rather than Tom-Slick-style racing - be able to accelerate like mad? Once, Ettore Bugatti, when asked about the brakes, quipped "I want it to go, not stop." From what speed can the Roadster 2 stop, safely?

      • by vakuona ( 788200 )

        I think the point is that it can accelerate like mad, not that it needs to. This is demonstrating that it is technically superior in almost every way.

        Therefore, it should nearly always be running well within its performance envelope, which I imagine has benefits in terms of longevity of the components etc.

      • by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @07:56AM (#55568771) Journal

        Where it gets important is when you have a trailer with 60,000 pounds of cargo in the back, and you need to go from 0-60 up a hill. That takes a Diesel tractor minutes to do, where this thing could keep traffic flowing reasonably.

        That's the point.

      • No, the truck is the more interesting story here, but I didn't have anything interesting to say about it.

        Anyway, I think we can expect another couple of ICE-based 300 MPHers before the ICE is dead, dead, dead.

      • Is it important that a truck - presumably intended for long hauls rather than Tom-Slick-style racing - be able to accelerate like mad?

        One of the most dangerous things modern trucks often do is allow themselves to accelerate downhill and decelerate up hills - partly to capture energy as momentum that would otherwise be lost to braking - but also because they are often underpowered and couldn't maintain speed all the way to the top of a hill without the running head start. Ultimately, the inability of diesel trucks to efficiently maintain a constant speed is a major contributing factor to the lowering of their speed limits relative to other

    • Musk said Roadster 2 will do >250mph. So it's in the same category as the Chiron. Until the production release we don't know how much faster than 250mph either of them will go.

    • The fastest production car is a koenigsegg that goes 277 MPH, the astounding numbers are the 1.9sec 0-60 time and the sub 9 quarter mile. No electric race car, that's not a dragster, has made a sub 9 second quarter mile run. I am very skeptical of these numbers as it is a huge jump in performance. Being faster in a 1/4 mile then a purpose built race car is the biggest red flag to me. If this is true then Tesla is king of the mountain as far as cars go.
  • CDL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @06:10AM (#55568501)
    I have my Class A CDL and would love to get a chance to drive one of those. I'll bet the visibility is phenomenal when you're sitting centered in the cab. Furthermore, I'll bet the ride is much smoother due to the lower center of gravity when compared to conventional tractors. This thing would be a driver's dream because you don't have to worry so much about emission system failures and other breakdowns well-known to diesel. The only thing that the driver would still need to be concerned with would be the air brake system. Air brake systems these days are very reliable with the automatic slack adjusters and redundant air supplies. Hell, you could put a solar panel somewhere and make some serious mileage in the desert southwest. You might be able to run the entire truck off of the solar panel and just use the batteries for the night time. As it is right now, re-fueling takes about 15-30 minutes of time off of a driver's clock. By the time the tanks are filled, mirrors and windshields cleaned, and other miscellaneous activities, an appreciable amount of time gets burned. Truck drivers constantly race against their 14 hour drive window.
    • Re:CDL (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rei ( 128717 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @06:56AM (#55568597) Homepage

      I didn't have room in the summary to cover charging (tried to fit in as many specs as I could!), but I probably should have made room: 30 minutes to 80% when empty. And you can install those chargers (quite compact, and don't need underground tanks) at depots; they trickle charge to fill a battery buffer, when then surge charges a vehicle when it connects, so it doesn't even mean stops "on the road". Tesla is however planning to expand their current supercharger network to include these new "megachargers", starting on the busiest trucking routes. And since 500 miles range is like 7 hours driving, you're going to want a break either way. In the EU they make you take 45 minutes of breaks every 4 1/2 hours driving.

      I think it'll be really neat once they make a sleeper cab. No more awkward hacked-on solutions to avoid idling; the climate control is electric to begin with, and the cab has all the power you could dream of.

      Also, contrary to most peoples' expectations, modern EVs tend to deal with cold extremely well. They lose range, of course (not as much as most people expect** when you use a well thermally-managed powertrain like Tesla does, but still some), but you never have any issues with "difficulty starting" or the like. You get in and it just goes - even if the vehicle has been idling for days not plugged in and the pack is completely cold (the only "symptom" with that is you can't use regen until it heats up, and peak acceleration is reduced). Packs are generally rated for storage at -50 to -30 and usage at -30 to -20, depending on the chemistry, and utilize heaters (or in Tesla's case, deliberately-created waste heat in the motor re-routed by heat exchangers) to protect against out-of-spec conditions when necessary.

      ** - The instantaneous power consumption upon starting is much higher as the vehicle uses power to heat up; however, once it's reached its temperature and heating is only needed for maintaining temperature, power consumption is greatly reduced. And it should be all the easier for Semi, with its very high power demands creating a lot of waste heat (even electric drivetrains have some waste heat, which a good system like Tesla's recaptures; Semi should kick off about 10kW of waste heat when cruising at highway speeds), and its high volume to surface area ratio means that it should be extremely easy to outpace heat loss.

      • Re:CDL (Score:5, Insightful)

        by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday November 17, 2017 @12:42PM (#55570693) Homepage Journal

        I didn't have room in the summary to cover charging (tried to fit in as many specs as I could!), but I probably should have made room: 30 minutes to 80% when empty. And you can install those chargers (quite compact, and don't need underground tanks) at depots; they trickle charge to fill a battery buffer, when then surge charges a vehicle when it connects, so it doesn't even mean stops "on the road".

        I wonder if they're also planning to support the obvious (to me, at least) option of putting an additional battery in the trailer. Trucks often run loaded less than 100% capacity so trading off some cargo volume/mass for additional range could make a lot of sense. In fact I'm kind of surprised the battery capacity in the tractor isn't more modular. Battery swapping doesn't make so much sense for consumer vehicles, but it seems perfect for commercial fleets with maintenance depots. I'd think a smallish internal battery, good for short trips, plus a bay where additional capacity can be installed with a forklift would make a lot of sense -- and the ability to add additional towed battery capacity, perhaps up to non-stop coast-to-coast range (for full self-driving, which on freeways is probably achievable with only cameras and radar).

    • A trailer could be designed with solar cells specifically to provide power to the cab as well as auxiliary systems, the top of a trailer is essential a rolling flat roof anyway. One challenge would be container freight, stacking them without busting the cells could be challenging.
  • so the Tesla auto pilot does not mistake it for the sky.
  • The white one in profile looks little like a stormtrooper mask, especially with the blacked out windows.

  • Seems to limited in that part

  • The more cars it sells, the more cash it burns [battleswarmblog.com]. That's not a problem you can make up with volume. Then there's the racial discrimination lawsuits, the drive to unionize, and a host of other economic problems.

    Maybe Musk should have concentrated on making one business profitable, not start a half a dozen more.

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      Actually it is something you can make up in volume if you understand where they're losing money vs where they're making it.
      They make money on every single car sold, actually among the highest profit margin in the industry. They just happen to spend even more on expanding their business. If Tesla slowed down their rate of expansion their profitability would go up. They could be profitable right now if they wanted to, but they're more focused on growing than on profitability.

      I personally think that Tesla are

  • I can think of two extra features you'd like your trailer to have with one of these: cameras which talk to the tractor, and regenerative breaking. Some sort of trailer camera standard would be great whether the tractor is electric or ICE. If you're towing a standard trailer, do you need extra airbrake hardware, or does the trailer contain all of that?

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Friday November 17, 2017 @08:39AM (#55568949)

    I remember back when the Tesla Roadster had just been released, and certain parts of the Slashdot crowd were boldly predicting that Tesla would be bankrupt in months. And then Musk borrowed a bunch of money from the US government, and they boldly predicted Tesla would be bankrupt before it paid back a penny. Then Tesla paid it all back and released the S model, and the same crew (with additions) predicted Tesla would be bankrupt in months, and Elon Musk would be begging on street corners with a cup. Then the SUV, and Space X safely landed a bunch of first stage boosters, and the Model 3. Then Tesla open-sourced quite a lot of its patents, and the shrieks of rage could be heard for miles. How DARE they!

    And at every stage, growing ever larger as the alt right decided Slashdot would be a worthwhile acquisition, the same group confidently predicted the ruin of Space X, Tesla, and anything else Elon Musk did. And every time they've been proved wrong. It appears they now have been moved to redefine "success" as "anything Elon Musk does not do".

    So now Tesla proposes to produce and sell a full-on long-range tractor, and once again, a significant percentage of the comments here are all about how it will fail, and it's ugly and people will die and the world will end when electric trucks take over...and they will, though not for a few years yet.

    So I'll just head off to the office now, expecting to get modded down because it's 8:30 EST, and that usually means people without jobs (cough...alt right...cough) will be hanging around. And I'll smile because I know I'll be seeing a fair number of electric trucks on the road before I retire.

    Life is good.

  • Be an interesting vehicle choice in ATS - where 500 mile journeys are well under the average distance I try to deliver.

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