back to article Tesla reveals a less-long-legged truck, but a bigger reservation price

Tesla's revealed more details about its forthcoming “Semi” electric truck, including a starting price of US$150,000. That sum will probably buy you a version of the vehicle with a range of 300 miles (480 km). Tesla founder Elon Musk did not mention that model at the Semi's launch, instead choosing to talk up the 500-mile ( …

  1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

    Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

    I'm really curious about the quoted reduction in energy costs that result if you chop in your diesel truck for a Tesla.

    I've tracked my home energy costs for several years now, which show that currently I'm paying around 13.3 p/kWh for domestic electricity and 12.1 p/kWh for the petrol used in my car.

    IOW, all things being equal, the energy cost of running an electric car charged off the UK National Grid should be fractionally higher than that of a conventional petrol-driven vehicle. This is based on a liter of petrol providing 9.7 kWh of energy when used to run an IC car engine - figure taken from "Sustainable Energy - without the hot air", http://www.withouthotair.com/ and assumes that electric energy costs at charge points are not subsidized, i.e. you pay the same per kWh at the charge point as you would if you plugged your car into a 13 amp socket at home.

    We pay more in the UK for diesel fuel than petrol, but its energy content is higher, so I'm assuming as a non-diesel driver that the cost for its energy content, measured in £/kWh, is more or less the same as for petrol. If this is incorrect, kindly correct me by supplying the appropriate energy content of a liter of diesel road fuel.

    Tesla's statement that fuel costs for an electric semi are less than those for a diesel implies that the cost per kWh of diesel fuel is higher than electricity in the US. Is this true?

    Over to those living on the left side of the pond...

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

      You raise some interesting points. I would assume (and probably wrongly) that Tesla is using "average costs" of electric and diesel. Prices for fuel vary wildly from one part of the country to another and sometimes even in the same region. Same for electric prices as the price depends on the region and the supplier. Most electrical suppliers use a scaled pricing based on the kW's consumed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        No, I would assume that they are using the figures which make the comparisons most favourable to Tesla. A good PR team wouldn't even balk at using figures from different countries to make the case.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        I pay nearly $0.16/kWh for electricity here in New Jersey. I think the national average isclise to $0.11 and can be as low as $0.04 (Northwest states). That's a huge range. I also wonder how efficiency of conversion to kinetic and associated expense plays into this.

    2. analyzer

      Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

      A quick search for business costs of electricity finds this

      The average bill for UK business is £2,528 per year. The average unit price per kilowatt hour (kWh) is 9.50p. The average daily standing charge is 20p per day. Most businesses use between 15,000 and 25,000 kWh per year.

      as opposed to the reaming the general sucker gets

      Electricity is typically more than three times as expensive as natural gas – 14.37pence per kWh rather than 3.80p. It also emits nearly three times as much carbon dioxide: 0.447kg per kWh rather than 0.184kg.

      So 5p per kWh difference to the good for business and nearly 3p per kWh over petrol.

      1 litre of diesel-oil 10,0 kwh 35,9 mJ @120.3p/litre ( average )

      at 10kWh equivalent you have 93p vs 120p.

      Artics do about 41l/100km thereby costing £49.32/100km and use 410kWh which costs £38.13 in electricity. Using the usual conversion ratio for USD and GBP 1$=1£ you would need to drive 178,731 km to get the extra £20,000 back from the standard Tesla truck.

      1. Robert Heffernan

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        Then there was the statement from Elon that the power provided at the MegaCharger network being deployed for trucks would be generated from a Solar Farm attached and the power would be provided at 7c per kwh wholesale (5p at current USD/GBP conversion)

        1. inmypjs Silver badge

          Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

          "Elon that the power provided at the MegaCharger network being deployed"

          Classic Musk bullshit. There is no MegaCharger network for trucks being deployed. If there was it wouldn't be solar powered because trucks need to operate on cloudy days and at night and in the winter.

          Power will come from the grid and any attached solar panels will be gestures doing little more than impressing eco green morons. Energy will come from the grid at grid prices and the huge power required to fast charge trucks will need the laying of high voltage cables and sub-stations - all very expensive.

          1. rh587 Bronze badge

            Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

            Classic Musk bullshit. There is no MegaCharger network for trucks being deployed. If there was it wouldn't be solar powered because trucks need to operate on cloudy days and at night and in the winter.

            You may have missed the sock-off big battery Musk just installed in Australia.

            Suggesting that he's literally going to plug a semi into his solar farms is a ludicrous straw-man argument.

            Solar > Battery w/mains backup > Truck

            1. inmypjs Silver badge

              Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

              "Solar > Battery w/mains backup > Truck"

              Batteries cost more than the price of mains electricity they can charge and discharge in their lifetime.

              Time shifting solar with existing battery technology isn't even close to being economical.

              So no Tesla will not install batteries at their solar sites. They will use the grid as a huge battery someone else is paying for like they do at the moment, but, the more solar capacity is installed the more obvious this rip off becomes and it is not sustainable.

              1. jmch Silver badge

                Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

                "Batteries cost more than the price of mains electricity they can charge and discharge in their lifetime."

                *citation needed

            2. Robert Heffernan

              Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

              Tesla owns Solar City, so they have Solar Panels on-tap. Buy some land in a nice open location perfectly suited for Solar and build a massive farm. It doesn't matter where the MegaChargers are located, so long as they connect to the same grid as the farm, then your trucks are solar powered.

              The argument about Diesel vs Electric is moot, it doesn't matter what one is more expensive, the fact of the matter is, Diesel needs to die and it needs to do it now. The climate is already screwed, Where I live in Australia is already in the peak summer temperature range but it's still only spring. The time for having a hissy-fit about moving away from Fossil Fuels to Renewables is over.

              Electric vehicles are just going to get better and better, efficiency and range will get better all the time and people will one day only see ICE vehicles in museums or owned by collectors.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

            So what if the trucks need grid power? Using solar etc. offsets the energy use even if they aren't being directly charged by the sun. An electron is an electron. It doesn't matter where it came from.

            Here in Australia, a large number of businesses, homes, farms, schools etc. have solar arrays that feed back into the grid. Of course those places aren't being powered by solar during the night, but they have offset an amount of energy during the day.

            Don't forget that big battery array recently completed in SA to help with base load at different times of day.

            I also really have to say that the cost for the trucks seems fairly reasonable in comparison to the cost of a new diesel truck, and have to agree with Tesla that in many cases the price difference in energy makes them an economical choice, especially when it comes to the vast number of trucks active in and around cities which are forced to spend large amounts of time in traffic, including stopped at traffic lights wasting fuel idling.

      2. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        " you would need to drive 178,731 km to get the extra £20,000 back from the standard Tesla truck"

        Without going into your figures, 180km still seems like a value proposition. These semis easily do a few 100km/day (max allowed in the US is 11 hours driving, so can go into 6-800km a day for a long haul trip). Even averaging 300km/day and operating only 260 days a year, you would drive 180k km in about 3 years. I suspect for long-haul fleets who can rotate drivers and have shift drivers working overnight or weekends, and if Tesla's reliability claims are correct, they could probably do 180k km in a year.

        1. Lomax
          Trollface

          Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

          > 180k km

          That's 180 Mm (megametres) shurley.

          Also, I find it hugely entertaining to see how the mere mention of the possibility that maybe perhaps the internal combustion engine will not remain the most efficient road transportation power source for all eternity brings out an army of right-wing nutters apoplectic with rage. Careful you don't burst a vessel.

          ...battery...

          ...solar panels...

          ...LGBT...

          ...Obama...

          ...United Nations...

          :D

        2. Daniel 18

          Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

          "(max allowed in the US is 11 hours driving, so can go into 6-800km a day for a long haul trip)"

          Actually it is more like 11 hours driving at 100 kph - 1,100 km.

          Long haul trucks tend to carry fuel intended to keep them rolling for a day's work... and many interstates have a speed limit of 65 mph = 105 kph, and I have often seen big rigs rolling at 125 kph or more, in 'convoys', not quite nose to tail.

      3. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        "Using the usual conversion ratio for USD and GBP 1$=1£ you would need to drive 178,731 km to get the extra £20,000 back from the standard Tesla truck."

        100k miles for a commercial truck is nothing. Some heavily used long distance ones do that in 6 months.

      4. Luiz Abdala

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        And 178,731 km is next to nothing on the lifetime of a semi-truck. Trucks with 200,000 km on them are sold as "semi-new", no pun intended.

        This thing will pay for itself much faster than any Diesel ever would.

    3. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

      "diesel fuel is higher than electricity in the US. Is this true"

      Diesel is probably less taxed and cheaper in the states.

      The efficiency of battery and electric drive-train is probably around 80% while I doubt diesel engines in trucks break 20% on average. Comparing energy costs without considering conversion efficiencies is ridiculous.

      I also note Musk still thinks he can con people into risky Tesla investment by paying in advance. Not that a few $20k deposits are going to have much impact on the $480k Tesla have being burning every hour for the last 12 months.

      1. swissarmyknife

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        Diesel is significantly higher here in the U.S, and electricity significantly cheaper in most areas. Diesel is running about 3pound an imperial gallon here, whereas I pay about 4pence per kwh (if the pound is still about 1.3x)

        1. jmarked

          Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

          Still, so much people prefer/enjoy diesel vehicles, especially trucks. My uncle is one of them, recently bought this Ram diesel project, put some aggressive tires, forged wheels and led light bars. This is his 4th diesel rig and a weekend offroad toy.

    4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

      Diesel has a volumetric energy density of 9.96kWh/L, but most of that is used to heat the atmosphere. Only about 20% is used to move the vehicle. You can see why here.

      To compare with an electric vehicle, we need to add about 0% diesel spilled when refuelling, and 20% for heating the battery and charger when charging. Standby for electric is about 0.05% (one day of self-discharge in the battery). Accessories get powered direct from the battery in electric, but for diesel we get losses in the engine and alternator included in the 2%, so allocating 1% for accessories in an electric vehicle is a fair guess. An electric motor is about 90% efficient, so about 70% of the electricity you pay for reaches the driver train compared to 19-25% for diesel.

      A diesel drive chain converts between ⅕ and ⅓ of its 19-25% input into heat. Electric does not need a clutch or gearbox, so I will guess about a tenth. The problem is it is a tenth of 70%, so it looks bad compared to the 5-6% in the diagram for diesel. Likewise the figures for aerodynamic, rolling and braking have to be scaled up by 63/13 (or 63/20 for motorway). That is a good thing! The entire purpose of a vehicle is to hammer the road and kick the air around. That gives a whopping 29% for brakes (6.3% motorway), and regenerative braking puts about half of that back into the battery.

      For a fair comparison, you should be dividing your electricity bill by about 3 for motorways and about 5 for towns - then budgeting for a new battery every 2 to 4 years (longer if you do not drive the vehicles complete range every day).

      1. dan1980

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        The turn-around time will also factor in to calculations so an equally (if not more) important part is really the charging that Tesla is claiming - 400mi worth of charge in 30 mins.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        I would have expected electric vehicles to deliver energy recovery from going downhill and braking - this is less easy to quantify but certainly adds a fair bit of range in cars.

        The posts above seems to assume the drive train behaviour is a precise match to traditional IC.

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

          "I would have expected electric vehicles to deliver energy recovery from going downhill and braking"

          Downhill yes, but the energy consumed in braking usually exceeds the rate at which it can be fed back to the battery.

          1. Martijn Otto

            Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

            Don't they usually have a capacitor bank for this? This energy is then fed back into the battery (or the motor).

            1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

              Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

              "Don't they usually have a capacitor bank for this? This energy is then fed back into the battery (or the motor)."

              Not in cars. You need truck size vehicles with truck loads and speeds to make it worthwhile at the moment.

            2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

              MO asked, "...have a capacitor bank for this?"

              Understand that a Farad is one amp for only one second.

              By way of comparison, a 1000mAh battery is one amp (1000mA) for ONE HOUR!!!

              Even when supercaps get to 60sx60m=3600F, they're presently much larger size than an equivalent battery.

              So they're still closer to greenwash decoration than practical at this point in time.

              Maybe next year.

          2. Timmy B Silver badge

            Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

            @Voyna i Mor

            "Downhill yes, but the energy consumed in braking usually exceeds the rate at which it can be fed back to the battery."

            No. Under breaking or going downhill we can generate charge for the battery in our leaf. On one part of one journey we do a long hill and will generate visible charge on the meters.

            1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

              Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

              "No. Under breaking or going downhill we can generate charge for the battery in our leaf. On one part of one journey we do a long hill and will generate visible charge on the meters."

              Did you actually read my post before disagreeing with it?

              I agreed that going downhill allows for regenerative charging.

              I merely pointed out that when braking* it is often not possible to recover more than a fraction of the energy because braking would usually generate more power than the battery will accept.

              Your Leaf I think has an 80kW motor. The mass is 1.5t. The maximum rate at which the system can accept charge is 44kW (Nissan's specs.) with a short term peak of 50kW. When at 70% charge it's limited to 30kW.

              Consider braking on a motorway from 70mph or approx. 30m/s. If you applied the brakes at 0.2g, you will decelerate about 2ms-2. That's an initial 87kW, roughly two to three times what the charging circuit can handle.

              These numbers agree pretty well with what Nissan actually claim which is up to 39% energy recovery from braking.

              *braking, brakes. Please? It's causing me to break out in OCD.

          3. Steve Knox

            Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

            "I would have expected electric vehicles to deliver energy recovery from going downhill and braking"

            Downhill yes, but the energy consumed in braking usually exceeds the rate at which it can be fed back to the battery.

            Yes and no. It all depends on how quickly you brake and the conversion efficiency of the motor. Truckers generally learn to accelerate slower (due to necessity) and decelerate slower (due to safety) than the average motorist: they may be some of the best candidates for efficient electric vehicle driving.

          4. Robert Heffernan

            Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

            "Downhill yes, but the energy consumed in braking usually exceeds the rate at which it can be fed back to the battery."

            True, but feeding a bank of Super Capacitors to capture the energy rapidly then trickle back into the batteries / provide peak energy for acceleration would help greatly.

          5. M man

            Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

            That applies to smaller 30kWh batteries but this truck apparently has as much as 1000kWh

            Basically it will consume any and all breaking energy tesla throws at it.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

          "I would have expected electric vehicles to deliver energy recovery from going downhill and braking - this is less easy to quantify but certainly adds a fair bit of range in cars."

          This is already accounted for in the maximum range figure given in the marketing.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        "...then budgeting for a new battery every 2 to 4 years (longer if you do not drive the vehicles complete range every day)."

        And for anyone planning on multiple 'leccy trucks, the initial one off cost of plumbing in a couple of MW of charging points. You need to plan for multiple trucks being at home base at the same time with turnaround deadlines to meet. And maybe further upgrades if expanding the ;leccy fleet/replacing more diesels/petrol trucks. Depending on the yard location, that might be a large expense.

        I was just watching an episode of Supertruckers the other night. That company has a fleet of 90 trucks and one of their jobs involved 8 trucks shifting 16 heavy tracked army vehicles in a single job. That's 8 trucks that need to start the job fully charged. Their base is a farm in the middle of nowhere. Plumbing in an extra multi-MW power line is not going to be cheap.

    5. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

      Your calculations ignore some things.

      You are ignoring some technologies that exist in electric cars that affect your maths. Regenerative breaking has quite an effect in our Leaf - something that doesn't exist in ICE cars. Also we can pick and choose the time of day the car draws power meaning we can take advantage of late night tariffs. We can also use free charging that is available in some places. If you have an EV then you would be daft to charge it from a standard 13amp plug all the time - we have a wall socket that does 32amp. We traded in a similar sized car for out Leaf and once you include tax, fuel prices, reduced prices for MOT and servicing (so much less to service or go wrong on an EV) we a saving iro £20 a month. That may not seem much but that INCLUDES the payments for a brand new car..... (and before you ask - we do the same miles including a daily 60 mile commute).

      1. Not also known as SC

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        @Timmy B

        "Also we can pick and choose the time of day the car draws power meaning we can take advantage of late night tariffs. We can also use free charging that is available in some places."

        The question I keep wondering about is once EV become the norm, will there be late night tariffs any more or will governments increase tax levels / electric companies increase proces to 'moderate' demand? I also see free charging points not lasting long after EV become mainstream. EVs may have a lot going for them but I wouldn't rely on the cost of energy remaining cheap once mainstream.

        1. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

          @Not also known as SC

          I agree with a lot of that. And it all adds up to why we've got the Leaf on PCP. It's all a bit of a wild west as far as EVs are concerned here in the UK and we could either go the Norway way and have them well supported by government and infrastructure or we could end up with them so taxed that they become too costly to drive. I wonder what way the UK government is likely to go? For sure once we're all driving electric there will have to be tax in place of some sort - perhaps according to battery size and power output - a zoe pays less than a tesla.

          1. ukaudiophile

            Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

            I have also recently purchased an EV on PCP simply because for a car which I wanted and liked, the taxation structure for a company means that the government hammers you for anything other than the slowest, boring most insipid box on the market. On the other hand the government is practically giving you money to buy an EV. My mistrust of this government, however, is limitless, so I really don't want to commit to buying one until I am very, very sure my investment is protected with long term promises to make running one cost effective for me.

            It appears that people are just starting to wake up, however, to what the real cost of the war on motorists which has been waged for the last 25 years is really going to cost the government. Currently from VED & fuel duty motorists (and I include trucking companies in this) pay £77 billion into the government coffers. If the government get's it's way and persecutes the ICE driver off the road, then the government is going to need to replace that £77 billion somewhere, just to put that into context, Uk education spending in 2016 was £85.7 billion, and believe my that putting up basic rate taxation is not going to be on the cards, it would be far too toxic a plan, so somewhere we're going to need to make cut backs.

            Looks like the government should really be promoting those Range Rover V8, Aston Martin and new TVR sales to protect it's revenue base!

          2. ukaudiophile

            Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

            @Timmy B

            "For sure once we're all driving electric there will have to be tax in place of some sort - perhaps according to battery size and power output - a zoe pays less than a tesla."

            I can see your thinking with this, but I cannot see this being even contemplated in the next 10 years. As far as the government is concerned, all EV's are the same, they all contribute to making the emissions figures and air quality figures look good. The last thing you want are potential Tesla drivers going and buying Porsche Panamera's because there's no tax advantages. The other issue is that Tesla are backed by US corporate lawyers, do we really want the government tied up in litigation for years for discriminatory practices against them? After 2019 do you really think this government is going to risk discriminating against a US company and favouring a French company like Renault given what a great job EU countries are doing at turning the UK population against them?

            I think for the next 10 - 20 years all EV's are probably going to be judged alike, by which time I am sure that EV's will be so good compared with ICE vehicles that most people will buy them anyway as they're simply better. If you think about it a 400 mile range is more than enough for most people, and great strides have been made in fast charging over the last decade, I am sure the prospect of being able to hammer 200 miles of range into a battery pack in 10 - 15 minutes will not be beyond the realms of possibility by 2039.

            1. jmch Silver badge

              Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

              "After 2019 do you really think this government is going to risk discriminating against a US company and favouring a French company like Renault"

              France has committed to phase out ICE cars completely, and Renault is a leader in EV technology. Just sayin'

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

                "France has committed to phase out ICE cars completely, and Renault is a leader in EV technology. Just sayin'"

                As has the UK, by 2040. You can only imagine the tax/duty penalties that will be ramping steeply upwards in the meantime, especially after 2030.

            2. fandom Silver badge

              Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

              "EU and national governments are united in the belief that their primary purpose is the crusade against climate change"

              No, not really, but they have certainly been united into importing a little oil as possible.

              In case you haven't noticed those imports are expensive, sure they may just seem like a billion here a billion there, but pretty soon they begin to add up to real money.

          3. Not also known as SC
            Pint

            Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

            Hope you get to enjoy cheap running costs though for the foreseeable future :-)

          4. Hankie

            Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

            I think you'll find when EV's are common place the government will bring in toll roads everywhere!

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

              "I think you'll find when EV's are common place the government will bring in toll roads everywhere!"

              You're probably right. A whole new system of ANPR cameras and other shit that will roll out slowly, fail, be rolled out again, cost 5x the original estimate and never actually work properly.

              Meanwhile, in other countries, they will mandate that all EVs, which by default will be talking to their respective motherships, will have to declare all usage and routing data and quite cheaply will provide accurate usage data for road pricing charges with no additional infrastructure.

          5. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

            Timmy B suggested, "here in the UK and we could either go the Norway way ..."

            And convert the UK to hydro, the Norway way?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          EVs may have a lot going for them but I wouldn't rely on the cost of energy remaining cheap...

          A thoroughly sensible comment, Not also known as SC, and not something I'd thought of. One of my prized and rare Tea Hound upvotes heading your way.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

          The whole debate about electricity versus diesel prices illustrates some obvious stupidity at Tesla. Why launch an electric truck in the market that has the lowest diesel fuel duties of any major developed country? This automatically makes the financials significantly worse.

          Even in the most expensive states, the federal and state fuel duties are in the range of a third to a fifth of those prevailing in Europe. In Europe, the EU and national governments are united in the belief that their primary purpose is the crusade against climate change, many of their populations support that view, subsidies are regarded as necessary and indeed desirable to push people towards electric vehicles. Added to which I'll wager that heavy truck journeys will be shorter in Europe (geographically more compact than the US, lower driver hours limits, better rail options). With EU governments now paranoid about urban air quality, there's another reason for EU truck operators to go electric, with various cities have "congestion" or emissions top up charges that EVs are usually exempt from.

          Considering he isn't a US native, Musk appears to have happily adopted the US view that the entire universe rotates around the country (if anything other than terrorists and sand exist outside of the US, that is).

          1. thenitz

            Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

            There's nothing stopping Tesla to sell their vehicle in Europe in 2 or 3 years when production of the semi starts. But they had to launch the vehicle in the US because that's the best place to create hype.

            Their priority is now gathering funds to sustain their growth. They can't get those funds by selling cars and trucks because they aren't able to produce them on a large scale. So they keep announcing products even if they know very well they can't build them in the near future. Hype helps increase or at least maintain the stock price and make funding easier.

            Eventually, if the gamble pays out, they'll get to build those trucks and sell them to whoever is willing to pay. If Europe is a better market, they'll sell a lot of them there. Same as they do now with their Model S and Model X.

            1. jmch Silver badge

              Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

              "There's nothing stopping Tesla to sell their vehicle in Europe in 2 or 3 years when production of the semi starts"

              Also, the drivers' seat is in the middle so they don't need to produce a different version for UK (or Japan, Australia etc)

      2. Stuart 22

        Free Lunch while you Charge?

        "We can also use free charging that is available in some places."

        You mean free to you but paid for by people who are not rich enough to be given a £5,000 grant by the government.

        There is an arguement, with which I have some sympathy, that in order to expedite the benefits of electric drive they should be cross subsidised from the most polluting ICE vehicles. But the chancellor didn't do that. He kept fuel duty constant as he has for many years which, because of inflation, is really a reduction in real terms. And what is the plan to recover lost taxation if and when people switch to electric?

        Transport policy (and the Chancellor was a former DfT SoS) is as confused now as it was when it said 'buy diesel'. As long as the rich and the motor industry benefit most then all is OK. Another example they are not taking congestion and pollution seriously. And, of course, after Brexit there will be no European Court to hold them to account.

        1. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: Free Lunch while you Charge?

          @Stuart 22

          Wasn't extoling the virtues of the free charging - and a lot of it is in places like supermarkets where the shop provides it as perks. In fact I mostly use ones in Sainsburys. I'd be daft not to use it if it's free. One day it won't be and we will all drive EVs and all pay tax. But for now I'll take any free stuff. Motorway service stations are a good example - they used to be free but now you have to pay a similar mile per pound cost to that of ICE.

      3. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        AAAAGH!

        There is no "free charging". YOU don't pay - WE do!.

        Freeloader.

        1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

          Freeloader? Hardly. The government is doing what it's supposed to do, using policy and tax revenue to gradually change behaviour of for the betterment(*) of society. See also: tax on cigareets, disability benefits, that sort of thing

          (*) if there's an argument to be made, this is the point you would make it on.

        2. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

          @ Missing Semi...

          "There is no "free charging". YOU don't pay - WE do!."

          Unless it's in a shop car park or provided by my car manufacturer or in a commercial car park.

          And I do pay - I pay taxes too.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

            "Unless it's in a shop car park or provided by my car manufacturer or in a commercial car park."

            All subsidised by large Govt. grants.

      4. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        "Also we can pick and choose the time of day the car draws power meaning we can take advantage of late night tariffs. We can also use free charging that is available in some places."

        Neither of which are the case for commercial vehicles. You can choose when to charge you're car because you're not driving it most of the time, and for the time that you're not it's usually just sitting in your drive/workplace. Assuming a basic 9-5 workday, that's at least one full charge needed in the middle of every day, with no choice of when it comes. With a more realistic 11+ hour workday, you're looking at two or three charges needed during working time. Even assuming the issues of charging times and such are solved, your lorry needs charging when it's empty, you can't simply call it a day and wait for cheaper prices to come along.

        As for free charging, there's no such thing. There are some subsidised chargers aimed at getting more people into electric cars, but someone always needs to pay for them. Someone who is willing to pay for a small number of small cars driving a small amount is probably not willing to pay the entire fuel budget for a fleet of commercial HGVs.

        It's also worth bearing in mind that the same applies to things like taxes and fuel costs for your car - you were only able to save money with a Leaf because car taxes (including the majority of petrol costs) are currently based largely on pollution. That may not be a bad thing, but it only works as long as electric cars are an insignificant minority - once they become more popular those taxes will still need to be paid and so the subsidies will be taken away again. You saved money as a subsidised early adopter, but that says essentially nothing about the actual economics of electric cars in the long term.

      5. c1ue

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        Regenerative braking is likely a net loss in a semi truck. The whole purpose for their existence is long haul.

        It is the same reason why highway MPG for internal combustion is wholly comparable to electric vehicle performance.

        I'd also note that there are a whole slew of assumptions being made concerning the electrical grid serving these trucks. The higher range Tesla truck requires something in the order of 2 megawatt hours to charge. I'd assume the lower range one is 1/2 or more.

        1 megawatt hour is equivalent to the monthly consumption of 1000 average American households, 2000 average UK households. Now imagine a series of these trucks driving through a single location.

        1) Any such location will almost certainly have to require extensive grid upgrade

        2) There are electrical substation locations which have the capacity, but there are both security and access issues to these places

        3) If the locations are built anew, there are certainly going to be grid losses associated with routing large amounts of power. One item I haven't seen yet is just how much less efficient a "high current" transfer is. High current is less efficient because it generally converts a lot more of the electrical power into heat rather than motive force.

        In any case, the Tesla playbook is well known. I'm dead sure there will be bills passed to promote subsidies for Tesla trucks - that's how Mr. Musk expects to sell them. A $50,000 tax break, for example, would overcome a lot of concerns.

      6. Daniel 18

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        "You are ignoring some technologies that exist in electric cars that affect your maths. Regenerative breaking has quite an effect in our Leaf - something that doesn't exist in ICE cars."

        Except, of course, we are talking about electric commercial trucks, whose schedule is determined by just in time manufacturing and similar constraints, and which normally pick up and drop off during the day. They also spend about half a 24 hour day moving, and are normally on interstates or highways, where braking is minimal, and avoided for obvious reasons. A truck traveling 1000 km a day couldn't gain much, if anything, from braking tweaks introduced at the cost of complexity.

      7. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

        "Regenerative breaking" is when you drop broken spanners into the gearbox to slow down, and when you finally stop, the broken spanners emerge regenerated.

        I think that you mean "regenerative **braking**".

    6. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

      Efficiency?

      You car is what, 60% efficient?

    7. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

      "This is based on a liter of petrol providing 9.7 kWh of energy when used to run an IC car engine"

      No, I believe that this is the energy density of petrol in its raw form, so when run in a car engine you get about 30% of that as engine output, so about 3.2 kWh/l. Given a petrol price of approx GBP 1.20/l, the petrol is costing about 37p/kWh 'at the wheels' (ie 3 times what you think, it looks like you did not account for inefficiency of petrol engine).

      Electric motors are also of course not 100% efficient, but well into the 90%s, and there are also battery charging losses, but also with >90% charging efficiency. even with worst case 90%X90% gives 16.5 p/kWh 'at the wheels', so less than half.

      "Tesla's statement that fuel costs for an electric semi are less than those for a diesel implies that the cost per kWh of diesel fuel is higher than electricity in the US."

      This is actually what clued me in that something might be off in your figures. In Europe petrol and diesel are highly taxed while in the US it's political suicide to have high 'gas' prices, and prices are as much lower than Europe.

    8. devjoe

      Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

      This is if you assume 100% conversion from energy to motion; and that's now how it goes. A thermal engine is significantly less efficient than an electric motor.

      I switched from a Peugeot 307 (petrol) to a Nissan Leaf (ev) - cars of comparable size - and I cut my energy (petrol or electricity) costs to roughly 1/3 (driving exactly the same as I did before).

      This is in Denmark where both petrol and electricity is heavily taxed; but I believe you will have a similar ratio in the UK.

    9. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

      So based on that, I can get on my high LPG soapbox and laugh: "HAHAHAHA suckers". My cost is ~ 7p/KWh.

      In any case, the big cost savings for electrics come not from the fuel cost. They come from the reduced maintenance. The average annual service bill for a car in the UK is >£ 400, van or small truck > £800, for something comparable to what Tesla is showing it is in the tens of thousands (16+ services a year if used every day on a 400m delivery run). Compared to that, a pure electric or simplified (ala Mitsubish HPEV) non-Pri(ck)us hybrid should be less than 20% of that.

      From there on, it is simply a question of: does the reduction in service costs alone justify it. The answer to this one is "unknown" - the battery depreciation part of the equation is very opaque and unclear. I guess we will have to see some lucky "founder edition" sods (or suckers) suck it and see first.

    10. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

      "Over to those living on the left side of the pond.."

      well, there are (to be honest) a LOT of factors involved in gasoline "total cost" and electricity "total cost", particularly when you factor in wear, replacement, engine efficiency, and things like that.

      I once modified a gas hog car engine to run on 4 cylinders most of the time [carbeurator mod], but kept the V8 power for whenever I "punched" it, and not only did it run better and stopped backfiring when I shut it off, but I got significantly better "around town" mileage. It was hard to codify, but my gasoline consumption was significantly lower, maybe half of what it was. This not a new idea, but brings up the efficiency of gasoline and diesel engines in 'around town' driving. This is where electric actually makes sense. [if the hybrid vehicles could sufficiently OWN this, by running on battery only, we wouldn't need pure electric vehicles, but stupid gummints require the engines to 'cycle' all of the time because the catalytic converters won't heat up otherwise - go fig, yeah].

      THAT being said, we're talking trucks now. MOST of the fuel usage will be highway miles, for THAT kind of truck. If it were delivery vans and 'attached bed' trucks [most of which do local 'around town' kinds of things] I could see the desire to cut costs by going electric. But not long-haul 'semi' tractor/trailer rigs. It makes no sense.

      Fuel cost here is around $3.20/gal aka around $0.84/l [higher now, because, Cali-Fornicate-You] and electricity varies depending on who you are and how much you use [yeah, it's all political]. but my last SDGE bill was $21.40 for 16 'therms' (natural gas), and $152.56 for 582 kwH. yeah all of those computers and compact flourescent lights going 7/24, and REFUSING to wear thermal underwear around the house. Anyway that works out to around 26 cents per kwH and $1.34 per 'therm', which [if I get the exchange rate right] is somewhat MORE than what you're paying. The taxes and "you must use 'renewables' extra cost", that's why.

      San Diego is known for its high energy prices, so this should be no surprise to anyone.

      in any case, gasoline cost per kwH would be around 11.5 cents, using these metrics, less than HALF of the cost of equivalent electricity.

      That being said, 'thermal power' isn't enough for engines. Carnot efficiency of a gasoline engine is less than 50% as I recall, and actual piston engine efficiency is in the mid-30's (typically), reduced somewhat from having pollution devices slapped onto it. Modern engines 'get it right' by improving other aspects of the design, work WITH the pollution devices, that kind of thing, to improve overall efficiency, but it's still going to SUCK when you're going slow around town and spending a fixed amount of fuel per hour on just keeping the thing spinning while the car's not moving [or is moving slowly, where only a fraction of the power consumed actually spins the wheels].

      You compare that to electric cars, and ideally the electric motor doesn't heat up too much, and neither do the batteries, and so you get twice, maybe 3 times the efficiency of a gasoline engine.

      On the other side, there are power losses during battery charge. We'll say "85 percent" going into the battery, as a ballpark. The rest of the energy is lost as heat.

      Then you have battery capacity losses over time, requiring EXPENSIVE replacement. Or you can go 100 miles instead of 300 after 2 years' worth of battery cycles, whatever...

      and the inconvenience and extra cost just isn't worth it.

      Now... if hybrid cars worked as they SHOULD, i.e. allow you to charge the batteries OR run on gasoline/diesel, at your OWN discretion, such that they take advantage of NOT spinning the engine unless it's loaded down 50% or more of its capacity, and shutting it OFF when it's running on the battery, then it would be GREAT to have an electric hybrid vehicle. Otherwise, it's a waste. Why? because MOST electric power worldwide is STILL made by burning oil and coal. So all of the environmental arguments are completely WORTHLESS here. What you have left is UNNECESSARY expense to the owner, coupled with INCONVENIENCE and less "freedom of movement" (which is what THEY wanted in the FIRST place, right?).

    11. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

      Petrol's (or diesel's) energy content is converted about two-thirds into waste heat, by the thermodynamic laws that rule 'heat engines'. Electric vehicles (compared at the point of consumption!) can be much more "efficient". Any analysis needs to include that.

      That said, electric vehicles on an island powered by coal (and Nova Scotia forests converted into "fiber" and tipped into the Drax plant) should be cautious. As opposed to Canada which is mostly hydro powered. Maybe somebody with a spreadsheet (and without an agenda) could bang out a white paper.

    12. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Bollocks: Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

      I'm really curious about the quoted reduction in energy costs that result if you chop in your diesel truck for a Tesla.

      I've tracked my home energy costs for several years now, which show that currently I'm paying around 13.3 p/kWh for domestic electricity and 12.1 p/kWh for the petrol used in my car.

      I just realized, you got the wrong math. By far.

      The first number for electric is based on ACTUAL price. What you pay is what you get.

      The second number you quote is hypothetical price based on the price of petrol you used and your engine power. Who told you that you are running at that power 100% of the time. Your engine chances of survival to the end of the normal service interval if it is running 24x7 at 4500 rpm (usual max power for petrol) or 3500 rpm (ditto for diesel) under max load are NIL. It will explode - that is what the section "driving under extreme conditions" in your car manual is about. If you are driving normally, you are likely to be using ~ 10-20% of the your stated power on average resulting in the petrol price being off by a factor of 10 (sounds about right when you take into account all taxes, inefficiencies, etc).

      I suggest you plug in something like Torque, do a recording of your actual usage over a week and normalize the petrol numbers to what power your engine is really putting out. My educated guess is that computed versus that the price will be ~ 121 KWp/h or thereabouts.

  2. Mark 65 Silver badge

    Just read an article where Musk's claims regarding these trucks are debunked stating it just isn't possible with the current technology and that you'd need a charger 10 times the power of the current most powerful charger widely available. Lets just forget about whether power grids could even take the extra demand if this took off - the attitude seems to be that it is somebody else's problem although I'd argue it will directly affect the price of power at the charging station.

    If you observe carefully, Tesla is just a loss making, subsidy consuming stock pump.

    1. AdamWill

      er...

      ...Tesla is a *technology company*. Specifically, a battery and charger company which sticks some of its batteries in cars. You could have made similar silly objections to the original Roadster, by talking about "existing" battery and charger technology - because the whole point of what Tesla did was to introduce *new* battery and charger technology.

      Tesla is selling trucks because it has new battery and charger technology to put in them. If all it had to put in them were someone else's "existing" technology, it wouldn't be selling them, because it's not a company that buys "existing" battery and charging technologies and builds vehicles around them. It's a battery and charging technology company.

      1. inmypjs Silver badge

        Re: er...

        "Tesla is a *technology company"

        No it isn't.

        "Tesla is selling trucks because it has new battery and charger technology"

        No it doesn't. Tesla is an engineering company. In 2006 Monster Garage converted a Chevy Bel Air to electric running off 384 28v Milwaukee cordless drill battery packs. Tesla engineered that joke car into something practical albeit expensive and unreliable. They don't have any significant new technology which is why they will suffer with competition from existing car manufacturers. They are playing catch up on the electric stuff while Tesla still struggles to make reliable cars in volume and a profit.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      400 mile charge in 30 minutes isn't gonna to be easy

      Tesla hasn't stated the size of the battery packs, but claims less than 2 kwh per mile. Thus a 400 mile charge is at worst 800 kwh, which means 1.6 megawatts in 30 minutes. Let's say it is really efficient and well under 2 kwh per mile at 1.4 kwh per mile, so it needs a megawatt for 30 minutes. For a single truck.

      Anyone have experience with provisioning multi megawatt electrical service from a utility? How much lead time is there - especially if the high tension lines aren't located where you are able to put your truck stop? How much does it cost?

      Obviously this will work at a relatively high voltage (likely 7200 volts in the US) but to put it into terms we are more familiar with, at 240v it would be equivalent to 5kvA service to charge a single truck. I'm not sure "fast charging" will be very practical a lot of the time. Sure, in the early days of electric trucks when you find a stop that can handle your truck you may be the only one there at the time. And in the far future after almost all vehicles are electric the grid will be built up to handle a couple dozen trucks fast charging at once. But in between the early adoption and mass adoption stage it is going to be painful. Truckers better get used to the idea that they will slow charge while they sleep, not do a 30 minute charge while they eat during all those in-between years!

      I've always thought that natural gas was a more practical way to power trucks in the US for the next few decades. It isn't as volumetrically efficient as diesel, but trucks are big so that's less of an issue. It would run like a diesel electric locomotive, except probably use a gas turbine at a fixed rpm to buffer with batteries. There's already a huge natural gas grid covering almost the entire US, we're producing more of it than we can use and that looks likely to continue for decades, and it would give us time to get the grid ready to handle this by working up to it with electric cars before trucks go electric.

      1. rh587 Bronze badge

        Re: 400 mile charge in 30 minutes isn't gonna to be easy

        Tesla hasn't stated the size of the battery packs, but claims less than 2 kwh per mile. Thus a 400 mile charge is at worst 800 kwh, which means 1.6 megawatts in 30 minutes. Let's say it is really efficient and well under 2 kwh per mile at 1.4 kwh per mile, so it needs a megawatt for 30 minutes. For a single truck.

        Yes, but I question how many people will actually need it.

        For instance, we have a large agri-feed merchant near us. They run 25-30 artic rigs, on a 7am-4pm day. The trucks are parked overnight and at the weekends. They would not need a megacharger. Those trucks never do 500miles a day, which means a rotating trickle charge could sequentially charge the fleet over the 60hours they're parked at the weekend, followed by partial/half charges overnight during the week to top up the couple of hundred miles each truck does a day.

        Certainly they'll draw a lot of power, but you're looking at more like a megawatt for the site, not a megawatt per truck.

        For other depots where you do have people pushing the range, I can envisage the site having a battery bank to buffer for trucks who need a fast, full charge. Trucks popping in on a local route either get to sip from the normal supply or don't take a charge at all if they can run all day and charge overnight or whatnot.

        1. strum Silver badge

          Re: 400 mile charge in 30 minutes isn't gonna to be easy

          >For instance, we have a large agri-feed merchant near us.

          Yes. Tesla doesn't need to solve every trucking problem. It only needs to find enough suitable circumstances, where range/recharging fit into the requirements.

      2. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

        Re: 400 mile charge in 30 minutes isn't gonna to be easy - natural gas

        That is an interesting point.

        It does suggest that it might be more sensible to deploy small gas turbine generators close to the truck stops whilst/instead of building out a massive additional power transmission network.

        Dual cycle gas turbine generating plants are quite efficient, relatively cheap to build, and quite quick to ramp up.

        The task is to convert raw energy sources to electricity and then transport it to the truck stop. Where the conversion takes place on the route would depend on availability of the energy transport system.

        Then again I think I may have argued for each large factory to have its own backyard gas turbine. Although if my failing memory serves me I think some of the contracted emergency backup capacity in the generator farms in the UK is diesel cycle generators running on gas.

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: 400 mile charge in 30 minutes isn't gonna to be easy - natural gas

          Loading / unloading time is also potentially useful for recharging. Less useful for semi+trailer since the trailer can be loaded without the tractor, but if the destination is multi-drop rather than to deliver a trailer, it may spend significant time at the delivery points. Customers could provide charge power at those times, offsetting costs against the other transport costs.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 400 mile charge in 30 minutes isn't gonna to be easy - natural gas

          Dual cycle gas turbine generating plants are quite efficient, relatively cheap to build, and quite quick to ramp up.

          Max efficiency of a CCGT is about 60% for near continuous running, and you'll only go above that if you can utilise mid and low grade heat (eg for buildings heating, which is far easier said than done, and has its own very high costs). If you're doing short cycles then the combined cycle kit is rarely economic to have running (all the plant needs to warm up, and whilst not at full temperature the CC kit is just a parasitic load). So your gas turbine is more likely to be operating in the low to mid 50% efficiency range. Then you've got to charge the battery at high current (so quite a lot of heat loss albeit on short connectors). Then you've got cycling losses on the battery, of perhaps 7%, and the efficiency of the electric drive (high, but probably only around 85% net efficiency).

          In overall terms,.its no more efficient to run a CCGT to charge an EV than to run a modern diesel vehicle. You'd have zero point of use emissions with the EV, but that's about the sum of the benefits if you're using fossil fuels to power the generators to charge them.

        3. david bates

          Re: 400 mile charge in 30 minutes isn't gonna to be easy - natural gas

          Longbridge did - they had a combined heat and power gas turbine.

          Heaven knows what happened to that when SAIC took over.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 400 mile charge in 30 minutes isn't gonna to be easy - natural gas

            Longbridge did - they had a combined heat and power gas turbine. Heaven knows what happened to that when SAIC took over.

            Any industrial user who has a need for a lot of process heat and electricity is usually better of having a CHP solution. So these are common for paper makers, chemical processors, refineries, and manufacturing that needs either hot water or process heat (like the paint drying shops for car makers).

            The Longbridge CHP will have been dismantled and shipped to China with the other manufacturing kit if it was modern enough to be sensible, if not (which is more likely, given the way that Rover/MG went down) it would have been scrapped as there's no longer any manufacture of cars and half the site has been sold for development Although there's an SAIC technical centre at Longbridge, the only production activity is some token option fitment and very minor assembly operations of Chinese made and mostly assembled cars, a level of activity akin to the final inspection garage of a normal car plant.

      3. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: 400 mile charge in 30 minutes isn't gonna to be easy

        "I've always thought that natural gas was a more practical way to power trucks in the US for the next few decades."

        We're not going to get off fossil fuels in that time, so the rational approach is to distribute different fuels where they can be used most efficiently.

        The electrical grid is poor at energy storage, and makes most sense with static endpoints, so use nuclear, wind and solar for that with static battery plants for handling short term load fluctuations. Then the batteries can be as heavy and well cooled as you like. But people will want to reduce the cost, so they will improve.

        Vehicles need an energy source which is light, rapidly replaced and well characterised. LNG or LPG are well equipped to do that.

        As battery technology evolves the time will come when either hydrogen/fuel cell or battery vehicles make more sense, so manage the transition.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So

    When does the Cult begin?

    Or is it already a thing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Cult of Tesla

      There are many, many devotees to Tesla.

      These people live and breathe every word said by their lord high priest Elon Musk.

      They are the people who shout loudly that only Tesla can deliver Electric Vehicles and everything else is a 'compliance car' or a 'concept' that is 5 years away.

      Many of the failthful love to quote the 0-60 of a P100D in ludricous mode (or the new Roadster) as evidence of the superiority of their religion, sorry brand devotion.

      It seems that they have taken the 'Reality Distortion Field' crown from Apple.

      Don't get me wrong, I drive an Electric Car (a Nissan Leaf) so I'm on board with the move away from fossil fuels but some Tesla Fanatics really, really annoy me.

      Elon Musk is not the Messiah, he is just a naughty boy who loves playing with expensive toys.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: The Cult of Tesla

        Meanwhile over in Austria...

        A generator The Governator connects with the G-Class

        Long time G-Wagon aficionado Arnold Schwarzenegger and an Electric G-Class:

        http://www.kreiselelectric.com/en/blog/kreisel-and-arnold-schwarzenegger-present-the-electric-g-class/

        http://www.kreiselelectric.com/en/projects/electric-g-class/

        PROTOTYPE

        This car is a unique prototype and not for sale. We are currently in contact with partner companies regarding mass production of cars with Kreisel batteries.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Cult of Tesla

        There are many, many devotees to Tesla.

        These people live and breathe every word said by their lord high priest Elon Musk.

        I get what you are saying but it is worth commenting that Musk is unlike most businessmen that we have today. He has a vision of where he wants technology and people to get to and he is getting there by gaming the government/corporate system in order to do so. It makes a refreshing change from the business leaders who game the system in order to extract more revenue and profits.

        When ebay bought paypal and Musk walked away with ~$150m, few would expect SpaceX and Tesla to come out of it. I don't think Tesla is the only route to EV, but you cannot deny he has accelerated EV development. Do you think the Leaf would exist in the way it does if automotive companies weren't spurred by Tesla?

        1. ukaudiophile

          Re: The Cult of Tesla

          "I don't think Tesla is the only route to EV, but you cannot deny he has accelerated EV development. Do you think the Leaf would exist in the way it does if automotive companies weren't spurred by Tesla?"

          I think this a very valid argument, prior to Tesla, electric car was another term for "milk float", and the Prius was just a bad joke on the motoring public. The fact is that the likes of the Tesla, and, to a lesser degree, the likes of the La Ferrari, the Porsche 918 and McLaren P1 have done more to make the EV and hybrid interesting to a large number of car enthusiasts than the Prius ever could. Now hybrid's and EV are actually exciting, interesting (Porsche Panamera turbo E-Hybrid) and are being made financially sound decisions for business users.

          I know that people are sick to death of hearing about the Tesla Model 3, but this really does have the possibility of being a more affordable, luxury, high performance hatch back for the average motorist, but to make it truly viable, it's going to need to be made a clear financially advantageous decision which needs government undertakings to keep taxes away from EV's for a few years. The idea, though, of a car which can perform like an Audi RS4, have well over 200 miles range and be comfortable with AWD for the kind of price they're suggesting, that is a very interesting mix which seems to appeal to a lot of people - if Tesla can deliver on the build price and quality.

          1. Steve K Silver badge

            Re: The Cult of Tesla

            ..of a car which can perform like an Audi RS4

            Many people may not want to pay the related premiums for that kind of performance - it will be interesting to see what the insurance group will be!

            If they dialled down the power delivery a little then they could probably reduce the insurance group considerably.

            At least to start with the repair costs will be unknown by the insurers (e.g. for battery pack damage) which could lead to an inflated insurance group regardless of performance.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The Cult of Tesla

              Many people may not want to pay the related premiums for that kind of performance - it will be interesting to see what the insurance group will be!

              In the UK all model S variants are insurance group 50, even the lower performance models. As there's no higher group, that's where the Roadster will sit.

              I'm guessing it costs more to insure a Tesla than to charge it each year.

            2. ukaudiophile

              Re: The Cult of Tesla

              "Many people may not want to pay the related premiums for that kind of performance - it will be interesting to see what the insurance group will be!"

              The cost of Insuring a Tesla Model "S" is about the same as insuring an X5 or a Touareg, hardly in the bargain basement, but certainly not unreasonable given the value and performance of the car. Given that Model 3 is around half the value of a current S and has slightly lower performance, I suspect the price will be lower, though if the Autopilot features show a statistical decrease in Tesla's involved in accidents over the coming years (or the evidence from their onboard cameras prove it's not the owners fault) then expect those figures to reduce further as the evidence builds up.

          2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

            Re: The Cult of Tesla

            I am not fond of the Prius, but they do make up a great deal of the taxi fleet in Washington, DC. Glamorous? No. Useful? Apparently.

          3. thenitz

            Re: The Cult of Tesla

            Yes, Tesla did wonders for the perception of electric cars and turning them into objects of desire.

            But let's not forget that Nissan Leaf was on the market for 2 years when the Model S came out. And Toyota had been selling the Prius for 15 years already.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nikola Tesla

    is the new Charles Ponzi.

    ( or Delorean )

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nikola Tesla

      Ummm

      You sure about that?

      Nikola Tesla - Born: 10 July 1856, Died: 7 January 1943

      Charles Ponzi - Born: 3 March 1882, Died: 18 January 1949

      John DeLorean - Born: 6 January 1925, Died: 19 March 2005

      Elon Musk - Born: 28 June 1971

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Nikola Tesla

        DeLorean was a visionary, a lot of the items in modern cars are down to him.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nikola Tesla

        You sure about that?

        Come come! Charles Ponzii gave his name to a particular fraud format. The OP is suggesting that Nikola Tesla has likewise donated his name to a particular type of scam, of investor and subsidy fuelled growth, with a large PR machine trumpeting new achievements regularly, when there's no valid business model to support that (and thus a con-trick on investors). And you'll now see where DeLorean fits in.

        I suspect you mis-read it like I did at first, as though Nikola Tesla was the founder or CEO of Tesla Corporation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nikola Tesla

          "I suspect you mis-read it"

          Yes and no, is not the OP suggesting that Ponzi pre-dated Tesla?

  5. Chris Miller

    "Just what you get for the extra $20,000, other than being one of the first 1,000 to get behind the wheel, has not been revealed."

    Is it a sign pinned to your back reading 'kick me'?

    Fanbois (and girrlz) may be happy to spend 24 hours in a queue to be the 'first' to have a new and untested piece of technology. Fleet managers, not so much.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      $20,000 is a pretty small part of a large company's PR budget. For that they get bragging rights and plenty of publicity of the form 'Tesla's electric trucks in use at X Corp.'.

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Trollface

      "Just what you get for the extra $20,000, other than being one of the first 1,000 to get behind the wheel, has not been revealed"

      You get software/hardware Bugs

  6. chivo243 Silver badge
    Meh

    Founders Edition

    Sounds like a lemon already.

    1. gregthecanuck
      Trollface

      Re: Founders Edition

      Lemon? That would be the flounder edition.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Founders Edition

        This must be marketing speak for "prototype".

        1. Hero Protagonist

          Re: Founders Edition

          Hopefully Founders as used by Musk is the noun sense, not the verb sense:

          founder

          verb foun·der \ ˈfau̇n-dər \

          intransitive verb

          1 : to become disabled; especially : to go lame

          2 : to give way : collapse

          3 : to become submerged : sink

          4 : to come to grief : fail

          1. Steve Todd

            Re: Founders Edition

            Erm, that's only when using the word as a verb. There's a separate definition when using it as a noun (as in this case).

  7. LeoP

    The value of Tesla and Musk

    IMHO it would be rather short-sighted to value Tesla (the company) or Musk (the man) only by their actual products - even if this seams counterintuitive.

    Driving a Nissan Leaf? A Renault ZEO? A Chevy Volt? An Opel Ampera? A BMW i3? Please give it a good thinkover, if these models would exist, if there was no Musk or Tesla.

    Looking forward to drive one of the Gazillions of E-cars announced by (at least) the European manufacturers?

    For yours humbly the value of his Muskness is much more in being the bold posterboy, who was instrumental in actually starting a process, that I think is necessary: Moving from the talk-about-it phase to the make-it-available phase.

    And in all fairness: The 100kW battery for Australia he so boldly promised for "done in 100 days or for free" completed in 55 days.

    I also can't let that subsidy argument stand without a comment: If you consider not the price of the kWh as payed by the consumer, but the cost of a kWh as payed by the last few and next many generations to be payed, we might actually conclude fossil fuels to be very highly subsidized. Not as much as nuclear, but close.

    No taking the complete cycle into your calculation is the same folly as those telling me I should have replace my 14 year old car (Diesel!) long ago: There is much more pollution inherent in the sheer existance of that car than my low mileage per year can ever produce in a realistic timespan of using it.

    1. rh587 Bronze badge

      Re: The value of Tesla and Musk

      And in all fairness: The 100kW battery for Australia he so boldly promised for "done in 100 days or for free" completed in 55 days.

      That one was a bit cheeky. It was "Done in 100 days from exchanging contracts or it's free".

      He then ordered groundwork to start immediately at his own expense without a contract, in the expectation they'd sign (which they did), by which time they were almost done.

      That said, it only reinforces the fact that he's a doer, not a talker. Most businesses wouldn't raise a finger without a contract. He took the calculated risk they they were definitely going to sign, and it was worth him getting on with it whilst the lawyers dicked about with the paperwork.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The value of Tesla and Musk

        That said, it only reinforces the fact that he's a doer, not a talker. Most businesses wouldn't raise a finger without a contract.

        That's Tesla's biggest strength and its biggest weakness. Musk can and does what he likes, and as you say he's a doer. But I'll wager that the managers below him in Tesla do not have the authority to commit the company like that, do not have the personal resources to back their word if the company (or Musk) says no after they've started something. Imagine phoning up your boss and trying it on:

        "Hey, Gavin, it's Paul. I've got this great opportunity, you're going to be really pleased! I'm so sure it's a great opportunity I've not spoken to our contract or legal guys, but I've publicly promised we'll do it in record time, or we'll do it for free! I've got contractors on site already - no, no, I haven't been through procurement either - no, we don't have a framework agreement with the contractors - yes, I suppose they're more "doers" then, as you say, they can't be contractors if there's no contract. The money will just be rolling....errr, no I've not spoken to finance to make sure we've got a budget for the capital. Have I raised an SAP requisition? Well, not as such, no. Anyway, it's still a great opportunity - err, no I've not done an environmental impact assessment as required by law - and yes, you're right, I haven't got planning permission either, but I'm sure that's a mere detail. No, there's no H&S assessment yet, I'm sure we can do one quickly. What's that? Err, I don't know, what is my delegated authority?. Oh... yes, that's a series of good points, and....yes, yes, I suppose when you put it like that it does make me the biggest c**t you've ever met"

        This is the thing - Tesla is run like an SME, with a single hands-on owner manager (that's how Musk sees it, any way). SME's are great for innovation, they're great for growth from small beginnings, they're great for actual making stuff happen quickly. They're rubbish at running large scale businesses at low cost, using processes, policies and governance frameworks to direct employees and manage risk. That's why Tesla can go on as they are, but eventually have to change. Musk isn't the sort of person to give a business this sort of hands-on attention when it is reasonably mature, when there's no exciting decisions to make, limited technology to pioneer, and when the business is largely about getting a low risk return on new models, and reacting to competitors. If that's what he wanted, he could have joined General Motors. As soon as the visionary moves out of the picture, the corporate bread-heads move in. It happened at Apple as soon as Steve had folded his last turtle neck jumper, although luckily the customers haven't yet noticed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The value of Tesla and Musk

      Driving a Nissan Leaf? A Renault ZEO? A Chevy Volt? An Opel Ampera? A BMW i3? Please give it a good thinkover, if these models would exist, if there was no Musk or Tesla.

      Of course they would! The market is driven by government policies and incentives. What Tesla have done that is innovative is to go to market early with an aspirational design and high spec. There were a range of all electric vehicles developed prior to Tesla producing a single car (including models from Toyota, Honda, Fiat, GM and others,).

      At the moment there's very few EVs to compete with Tesla's expensive offerings because the mainstream automotive industry is biding its time, rather than rushing out models. We're seeing the first few coming through, but if there were no Tesla, would it be different? I very much doubt it - although I'm sure the rest of the industry are delighted that he's making all the first-comer mistakes so that they can avoid them.

      1. Joe 35

        Re: The value of Tesla and Musk

        What were the "ranges of all electric vehicles developed prior to Tesla producing a single car (including models from Toyota, Honda, Fiat, GM and others".

        I can think of the GM EV which i think they made 100 of and the Toyoya RAV4 EV, a few thousand tops.. That was one model each. Not exactly a "range".

        Note your words, "all electric". So Prius for example doesn't count.

        And more to the point all these were "compliance cars" built to fit certain criteria on volumes, once they reached those, that was it they weren't interested in selling any more, indeed the CEO of Fiat recently actually asked people not to buy the Fiat 500 EV as they were losing money on it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The value of Tesla and Musk

          indeed the CEO of Fiat recently actually asked people not to buy the Fiat 500 EV as they were losing money on it.

          So are Tesla losing money. But as Musk is a minority investor in Tesla its mostly other people's money (and dreams) at risk. You think that makes him a visionary? Enjoy this:

          https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-28/tesla-is-structurally-unprofitable-short-seller-chanos-says

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Re: The value of Tesla and Musk

            as Musk is a minority investor in Tesla its mostly other people's money (and dreams) at risk. You think that makes him a visionary?

            Structurally unprofitable means that it is unlikely to make any money any time soon. I don't see how that is relevant.

            PS: Your link that you say refutes him as a visionary has this text:

            Chanos conceded Musk’s vision was ahead of rivals and called the flagship Model S “sexy.”

  8. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    I'll wait with the calculations re cost of Diesel truck vs electric truck until relieable specifications are known; and ideally data from real-life test drives. So far: nice pictures, insufficient data.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "and ideally data from real-life test drives"

      As someone who turned down a job in truck R&D when I realised just how much time I would be away from home travelling all over Europe I can confirm this.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Petrol/Diesel costs vs Leccy

    All those figures are worthless if you have your own source of Electricity.

    For most of us that is the array of solar panels mounted of the roof of your house.

    I hear the cries of 'too expensive'. Yes it costs an upfront capital cost. The other side of the equation is that the value of your house goes up by more than the cost of the panels.

    Then there is the argument about 'charging overnight' when the sun is not shining.

    Yep that is a reason and can be mitigated by using Economy 7 type tarrifs.

    I charge my EV (a BMW i3) at home during the day because I work from home. Yesterday, it got almost a full charge and it cost me in terms of Grid Leccy used around £1.20. i.e. the cost of a litre of petrol/diesel.

    In the summer, I was able to fully charge it everyday. I did some long trips and charged the car at the Ecotricity CP's at Motorway Service areas. As an Ecotricity customer, I got those charges for free.

    There are many open chargers around. By open, I mean Free to use. Sainsbury's in North Leicester has one.

    These all go towards making the economics of using an EV far more favourable.

    I'd recommend that anyone who has an EV also invests in some solar panels, a charging point and if you really want to put two fingers up to the oil companies a battery system that you can use to power your home at night.

    Since I have the panels installed, my grid electricity consumption has gone down by 40%+ despite charging my car a lot more often.

    Just the looking costs of Leccy vs Petrol/Diesel is only part of the story.

    Oh, and having your own Charging point and solar panels will make your home more saleable in the future.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Petrol/Diesel costs vs Leccy

      I suspect your definition of ...most of us... is very different from, well, most of us!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Petrol/Diesel costs vs Leccy

      "For most of us that is the array of solar panels mounted of the roof of your house."

      How does that concept pan out for people living urban areas, such as in flats with (or without!) communal parking areas, or people living on Victorian terraced streets where they might have to park a few hundred yards away? Even in many new-build housing developments, many people don't get to park right outside their front door any more. Pedestrians will get mighty ticked off at all the wandering electric cables up and down the pavements and in stairwells...

      A/C Just Because

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Petrol/Diesel costs vs Leccy

      Yep that is a reason and can be mitigated by using Economy 7 type tarrifs.

      Make the most of it whilst it lasts. E7 was an artefact of having a lot of fossil fuel and nuclear power stations. With the system now having pretty low reserve margin, and further nuclear and coal closures planned, there will be less surplus overnight capacity to provide cheap electricity, starting as early as 2021 (there would be an overnight surplus, but as EV charging grows that disappears quite quickly). And why are you charging your car overnight anyway? It means despite you happily farming the PV and EV subsidies, you're mostly charging up from a fossil + nuclear mix. What's that greek word, begins with H.....

      a battery system that you can use to power your home at night

      You'd need one hell of a lot of battery storage to really power your home every night, because of the five fold seasonal variation in UK PV output. Realistically, you'd use somewhat less grid power in summer, but be just as dependent upon the grid in winter as you already are. And I hope that battery is outside the house? I worked on a project to develop one, and when I raised questions about the fire safety they were essentially ignored.

      Since I have the panels installed,

      Fat lot of good they'll be in winter. I take it you've seen that regulators want to change pricing structures to make PV users pay more for their mains electricity, because the flat rate pricing structures don't reflect your demand profile? They can't alter the guaranteed payments you receive in the 20-25 year contract, but they can push up the bills when you use the grid.

      And finally, broadbrush numbers are that the typical PV install produces slightly less energy than the average house uses each year. So there's no net surplus to power an EV, which on average mileage uses about the same as the average house each year. So unless you've got a huge PV array of the order of 7-12 kW, you won't be using your "free" solar energy (that the rest of us are paying for) to charge your car, it'll be either or.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Petrol/Diesel costs vs Leccy

        Quote: And finally, broadbrush numbers are that the typical PV install produces slightly less energy than the average house uses each year.

        Part of the issue here has been the government basically discouraging the use of home PV setups above 4kWp due to paying less FIT (ignoring all the +- issues around FIT in the first place).

        Whilst 4kWp was probably a reasonable expectation back in 2010 when the rules were put in place, a typical home these days (when solar is an option) could easily fit a system producing 2 or 3 times that, thanks to better panels.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Petrol/Diesel costs vs Leccy

          Part of the issue here has been the government basically discouraging the use of home PV setups above 4kWp due to paying less FIT

          Of course they did. Because of the seasonal and diurnal variation, the Feed in Tariff scheme means the rest of us are paying PV owners up to 15p (and more) per kWh, which has a market value of around 2p.

          The whole PV and FIT scheme was a simple scam to bribe middle income voters to take PV, in order to hit inappropriate national "renewables" targets that the gurning idiot Blair signed us up to. When you're in a cloudy, dark country on the top edge of the world, solar is a totally inappropriate technology. Even more so when all your electricity costs and system problems are driven by peak consumption that maxes out after dark in winter.

          To an extent I can sympathise with PV owners who only did it for the money. The sanctimonious eco-enthusiasts, on the other hand, ought to be thrown off Beachy Head in front of a paying audience.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Petrol/Diesel costs vs Leccy

      "In the summer, I was able to fully charge it everyday."

      And in the winter, when it is dark 16 hours a day, the temperature is at -20, cutting the range of the EV, and running lights, heaters, wipers, washers (in the car) for most trips, and running the furnace, lights, etc, in the house...

  10. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

    Slow burn on the route to what?

    Amazon spent years making a loss as it built a new marketplace. Look at it now.

    Uber is burning masses of cash and many are hoping it will fail.

    Twitter is burning masses of cash and a lot of people would be in deep shit if it did including POTUS, the UK emergency services and most corporates. On this one I still can't understand why customer services are best contacted via Twitter. Although it is presumably cheaper than a call centre?

    So Tesla could go either way because we aren't psychic. Although there is the suspicion that they may be waiting for some wonder new invention to save the day in the last reel. A new breed of small affordable nuclear reactors might fit the bill. Anyone remember the "free energy" claims?

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Slow burn on the route to what?

      There's some visibility for which way Tesla may go, ie it's regulatory filings. So currently Tesla's burning through a lot of cash, and still a low volume producer. Ok, that may be expected in start-up mode where there's a lot of upfront R&D and tooling costs. That's been covered by various bond issues, and if the markets are happy to keep buying bonds, Tesla can spend more money.

      But at some point, the bonds mature and need to be paid back, or refinanced. If the markets become sceptical of Tesla's ability to deliver ROI, the bond market dries up. Tesla's been helped by economic policy & low interest rates, ie lots of money looking for a reasonable yield. Share price is largely irrelevant for measuring the important bit of raising capital, it's the bond prices that can be better signals.

      And investors might be getting nervous. Announcing new products gets publicity, and maybe some cash from deposits. That's the possible ponzi part, ie using that deposit money as general cash flow. But investors would also know that new products = new costs in plant to tool up to make trucks and roadsters. And possibly new battery technology. So the new roadster offers nearly double the performance of the old one, which could mean double the battery volume, and where does that go in a small sports car? Or there may be 'forward looking statements' involving battery tech, and perhaps a hope that Prof Goodenough's solid electrolyte battery can be in production by 2020, and something that could be produced in Tesla's Gigafactories.

  11. wolfetone Silver badge

    I don't know how haulage companies will buy these trucks when:

    1) They haven't been built yet

    2) They haven't been tested yet

    3) Not enough have been built or tested yet to say it's any more reliable than a current truck

    Haulage companies aren't in the business of buying new fad toys. They want something that will work reliably and if it does go wrong they can sort out quickly. The Tesla doesn't do any of that, not right now anyway. Which presents a catch 22 situation for Tesla. They need people to buy the trucks to prove their reliability and worth, but people won't buy the Tesla until they see it's reliability and worth.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      re: Reliabity and Worth (of the truck)

      That's why it appears that Tesla is going to start using them to haul parts from the Giga Factory (in Sparks, near Reno Nevada) to their production lines in Freemont, California.

      Do that for 6-12 months and there will be a wealth of data about the running costs and total life costs for the trucks.

      Setting up Charging points around the USA will be problematic due to the power requirements especially in cities. The last thing Tesla needs is for a brown out to happen when a truck is plugged in to charge.

      I'm more interested in the fantastic new battery tech that will be used in the Truck and the Roadster.

      If (and it is a big one) they can pack 200KWh of battery into the new roadster then any concerns about range and 'range anxiety' should surely go out of the window.

      Only time will tell though.

      1. inmypjs Silver badge

        Re: re: Reliabity and Worth (of the truck)

        "using them to haul parts from"

        You mean like the 40 ton electric truck BMW/Scherm made has been doing for 2 years?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iQqPmCw3vg

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: re: Reliabity and Worth (of the truck)

          "You mean like the 40 ton electric truck BMW/Scherm made has been doing for 2 years?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iQqPmCw3vg"

          Eeewww, fugly! It looks like those odd shaped things used to haul stuff around airports. Definitely form over function. At least Tesla has gone for some nice streamlined styling.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: re: Reliabity and Worth (of the truck)

            Eeewww, fugly! It looks like those odd shaped things used to haul stuff around airports.

            That's because it is! Might have the BMW name linked, but it is made by Dutch outfit Terberg who specialise in those sort of terminal logistics haulers.

            Obviously BMW wouldn't partner with MAN because they're part of car-competitor VW, and Mercedes truck for the same rationale. I presume they would have first tried to set up a deal with proper road truck makers who weren't allied to a car maker, such as Leyland DAF or Scania, but couldn't get an agreement.

        2. chrishu

          Re: re: Reliabity and Worth (of the truck)

          "You mean like the 40 ton electric truck BMW/Scherm made has been doing for 2 years?"

          60 mile range. 3 to 4 hours to recharge.

    2. Joe 35

      They will buy some, to test, so they can get the jump on their competitors. If you are Walmart with a zillion trucks spending several zillion on diesel every year, buying 6 or even 66 as a test isn't exactly risking the business when the payback might be huge. As in saving 2/3 your diesel costs.

      Trucking companies arent dummies, if its cheaper determined by relatively quick ROI (2-3 years), they will buy it like its going out of fashion. Its not like a consumer making a point by buying a car that loses money, trucking companies make hard boiled decisions based on real numbers not fashion so all the naysayers here wittering on about Tesla groupies are missing the point, if these hard bitten numbers people are buying its real.

      So, adjust the original posts terminally flawed maths that forgets that diesel engines are 100% efficient, and even from those figures, its a clear money saving proposition, with massive ROI at certain mileages and travel distances.

      Whether they can be produced on time, at the advertised cost, in the quantities needed, that remains to be seen. If they can, its a slam dunk.

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Yep

        Diesels are heavy mantenance engines.

        Plus they consume not only diesel, but also adblue, need oild changes, filter changes, the turbos need replacing at least once, inyectors/high pressure pumps can go bad and a myriad of sensors get used up, en a lot of EGR valves. You also have to change bearings at certain mileage, and that is expensive.

        On top of all that, the vibrations are not good for the rest of the engine components.

        So it might be excellent TCO.. or maybe they break as much as tesla cars, and that is unacceptable for a semi.

    3. Gerhard Mack

      "Haulage companies aren't in the business of buying new fad toys. They want something that will work reliably and if it does go wrong they can sort out quickly. The Tesla doesn't do any of that, not right now anyway. Which presents a catch 22 situation for Tesla. They need people to buy the trucks to prove their reliability and worth, but people won't buy the Tesla until they see it's reliability and worth."

      Loblaws here in Canada just ordered 25 to test them. As far as I can tell, the short haul trips plus the fact that they own all of the endpoints make them the perfect use of electric since they can recharge while loading/unloading. Not to mention happier neighbors who don't have to listen to truck noise.

  12. Norman Nescio Silver badge

    Truck tractor chargers

    Dumping a Megawatt into a tractor unit in 30 minutes doesn't require a mahoosive off site electrical grid connection - it requires a large battery on-site that is continuously charged when not in use. Tesla has some experience in this.

    So, the model of a articulated lorry tractor unit charging point is much like the cold water tank in old UK houses. UK water mains pressure, was for historical reasons, low, so they way in which you could meet sporadic periods of high demand (somebody turned the tap on) was to fill a holding tank at low rates, and allow it to empty at high rates. Exactly the same approach is used in WCs. Even high-pressure domestic water mains don't deliver water at the rate used to flush the loo. You need a holding tank.

    A battery is just a less than 100% efficient holding tank.

    Once you have an appropriately-sized holding tank in place, the off-site connection only needs to cater for average demand - which might indeed be possible to fulfil with solar power. In this case, intermittency is not a problem, because the battery is averaging out the input. If some of the power comes from an on site solar farm or windmill, so much the better -the off-site connection can be even smaller.

    Petrol stations do exactly the same: the holding tanks have sporadic deliveries into a holding tank, which then dispenses fuel to customers. A few places (like airports) do actually have pipelines to the oil distribution depots (like Buncefield, which temporarily embarrassed Heathrow when it went up.)

    So the model of sporadic deliveries of power from an intermittent source into a store which is used to refuel vehicles is well known. Musk employs some clever people, so I suspect their sums are fairly well validated.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Truck tractor chargers

      It's a macro-version of the general problem with renewables.

      So the 'legacy' infrastructure is pretty simple and well tested. Dig a big hole, stick a big diesel tank in it and put say 10 pumps on top. Needs 10 lanes to service up to 10 trucks at a time. The stuff's there in lots of filling stations and truck stops around the world.

      The electric version would be 10 bays or lanes with access to chargers, with a 30min occupancy for megacharging. Possibly more, if megacharges are going to be a premium service. If you've got 10 lanes, you need a large enough battery 'tank' to service 10 at a time, at 1MW+ per lane. To provide solar charging, you'd need around 6,000m^2+ or a football field's worth of solar panels, or some large windmills. And because renewables are intermittent, you'd need a high power grid tie for night time fills or to keep the batteries topped up.

      That's a far chunk of change to install. Who pays, and do service stations and truck stops have space to go green? Currently there may be some subisides to help, either directly to support EVs, or indirectly as STOR for general power supply/management. In which case you could probably add gas or diesel gensets and bid on STOR contracts. Cost of those gets added onto tax payers and electricity user's bills though.

      In efficiency terms though, it's a LOT cheaper to stick with diesel though given the infrastructure already exists and it's got a far higher energy density.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Truck tractor chargers

        Depends on the use - probably not for the independent long haul owner operator market.

        But waiting at a Walmart distribution center while the load is assigned you charge with their bulk rate power, then you recharge at the store while you are being unloaded.

        The truck is never off the road for servicing - the maintenance schedule on a big diesel isn't cheap.

        You never have a breakdown spoiling $250K of frozen food while you sit by the highway

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Truck tractor chargers

          But would Walmart be prepared to pay the cost? They're a logistics company with enough telematics to have a stab at it, but they'd likely have problems at the store end.. So the cost to install grid ties for megacharging on top of existing electricty costs to run the store's use. It's going to be challenging to design a connector that could handle the charging currents safely, and far more risky than filling a plain'ol diesel tank or two.

          I also very much doubt they'll be mainenance free either, especially where maintenance/inspection schedules are mandated. That may also be a hidden cost, ie what recommended maintenance is, and who can perform it. Currently there are plenty of shops & mechanics who can work on conventional trucks, not so many Tesla service centre. They're also inevitably going to break down, but frozen food spoilage could be less likely.. Or another potential challenge if 'compatible' trailers are required, and don't have their own generator for the chillers.

    2. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: Truck tractor chargers

      "A battery is just a less than 100% efficient holding tank."

      That is vastly more expensive than a tank.

      That wears out a bit every time you use it.

      That wears out a bit every day used or not.

      That requires energy to keep it warm when it is cold and cold when it is hot.

      Time shifting solar electricity on a daily basis with batteries isn't economical and batteries to time shift it by days and weeks to cover overcast weather or months to cover the winter would be ridiculously large and expensive. Musk is just talking shit, not like that is something new for him.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Truck tractor chargers

      Musk employs some clever people, so I suspect their sums are fairly well validated.

      You're correct in your statements, the problem with intermediate battery storage is that the compounded charge/discharge losses start to mount up. The in/out losses on a single battery are around 7-9%, on two chained batteries you'll lose around 13%, whereas net energy losses on storage of chemical fuels including the pumps and controls are less than 1%.

      Then you've got the sheer cost of battery storage, which is expensive, low density, and (depending on the chemistry) may not last long in continuous charging with multiple sharp discharge loads.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll take 5

    Put it on my magic sky-unicorn account.

  14. Michael Habel Silver badge

    They mad bro :D

    Barking absolutely barking....

  15. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Holmes

    So no-one can see the elephant in the room?

    This is a Tesla we're talking about here. Of those 11hrs a day a driver is allowed to drive... do you think he could just relax and leave it running on autopilot? Does that mean that we could have drivers going for longer journeys because even though the truck is moving they're not working?

    Would it allow for road trains to form? Where by multiple trucks tail each other very closely getting higher efficiencies by drafting the truck infront?

    And how long before one plows through something because it didn't see it (like a white truck against white sky)...

    Questions. Questions...

  16. IanDs

    "In efficiency terms though, it's a LOT cheaper to stick with diesel though given the infrastructure already exists and it's got a far higher energy density."

    Nothing is cheaper or more compact or more convenient than digging/pumping fossil fuel of one sort or another out of the ground and burning it to drive vehicles. At least, so long as you ignore the environmental impact and indirect costs (global warming, pollution) of more and more people worldwide doing this, which many people (and governments) are realising is not sensible.

    If the real costs of sticking with diesel were added to the current fuel costs, it wouldn't be cheap any more -- and it's likely to be politically unacceptable to keep doing this in most places in the not-too-distant future, which is likely to mean much heavier taxes to discourage people from using it.

    And before anyone jumps in about guvmints taking away the freedoms of the people, that's precisely the job of guvmints if said people are doing something that kills a lot of other people, wipes out many species on the planet, and will lead to huge upheavals in society if not checked. Businesses won't do it voluntarily, all they're concerned about -- quite rightly, because it's what businesses are for -- is making money, not saving the planet or lives.

  17. YARR
    Terminator

    Duel

    That picture reminds me of the 1970's movie "Duel". How apt it would be for a remake, this time featuring a self driving truck which relentlessly chases a (human) driver along a remote road.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duel_(1971_film)#Plot

  18. Hescominsoon

    Musk is full of it. The multi-megawatt infrastructure PER TRUCK to meet the charging requirements he touts does not exist. Musk is hoping the taxpayers or private businesses will bear the cost not his company:

    https://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=232614

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