Tesla is apparently automating the assembly process to the extent they are referring to the factory as an “alien dreadnought”, something never seen before, only imagined, but still this is only taking the automation process further than has been done before by other car builders.
It’s not something new in principle, but it’s going to take a while yet to actually do it.
So the big truck is being delayed in order to put the people working on the truck on the car assembly line to get the bugs out.
I’m hoping some other forum members will post their guesses or estimates as to the range of the big truck.
Even forty miles would make it practical in some urban environment hauling jobs, where a great deal of time is spent loading and unloading at the same locations on a repetitive basis, thereby reducing the number of miles driven in a day to this low number.
The truck could get a partial recharge at both ends in this situation, and that might allow it to run a hundred miles in single driver’s shift, and pretty close to three hundred in a round the clock application.
But I’m guessing the range of the truck will be at least a hundred miles, because Tesla won’t likely put any new product out that makes the company look wimpy.
There’s actually no reason at all that an eighteen wheeler CAN’T haul enough of today’s batteries around to go three or four hundred miles, other than that doing so cuts very sharply into the legally limited payload. Truck weights are regulated in gross to prevent damage to the highways, and to prevent overloading bridges.
But here’s a point that has not yet been made in this forum, as best I can remember, although it’s common talk among truckers themselves.
You can haul along ten tons of batteries to propel the truck, and still haul ten plus tons of cargo.
And there are PLENTY of trucks that are filled to the top and to the back doors on a daily basis with stuff that’s light and bulky, for instance a load of mixed good pallets from a warehouse to a big box store. Tomatoes, potatoes, beer and soft drinks would still have to go in a conventional truck, but all the lighter stuff such as paper towels, convenience foods packed in large cardboard boxes, clothing, etc, could go in the electric truck.
Ten tons net will work delivering many loads to big box stores, and many loads to construction sites, and for some other jobs as well.
There’s many an eighteen wheeler out there pulling a flat bed delivering a chained down load that weighs only ten or twelve tons, meaning there’s ample margin to install plenty of batteries. A company running three or four flat beds or low boys locally could make good use of an electric eighteen wheeler.
By big boy toy backhoe weighs only eight tons. If it has to go to the dealer for repairs, they will send an eighteen wheeler lowboy for it.
And incidentally, they call them eighteen wheelers because they have dual wheels on four of the five axles, but before too much longer, the industry will be standardizing on larger single wheels and tires.
Singles cost more initially, but in the long run they are more economical, being lighter, and thus allowing more net payload.
So far the only application I see them used locally is on tanker trucks. They can be and are loaded very precisely to the gross legal limit, trip after trip, day in, day out, and the savings in weight makes running singles a real bargain.
Dead weight is not going to be THE problem with electric trucks, at least not in the first decade or so as they are first sold in large numbers. The cost of the batteries is the BIG problem, for now.
You can install an extra axle with air bags that lifts the wheels on that axle off the road so you can make very sharp turns in parking lots, etc, and that means you can haul ANOTHER ton and a half of batteries, or even more. You can put one of these extra axles on both the tractor and the trailer.
It all boils down to the cost of batteries versus the cost of diesel and maintenance for the next few years, plus charging stations.
But trucking companies will gladly pay for their own charging stations when they operate locally and can recharge at night at company locations , or at delivery locations used on a regular basis, if it’s profitable to do so.