Can The Tesla Semi Disrupt The Commercial Vehicle Market?

Recently, Tesla shared a video about the Semi on its official website, and there is no more exciting news than that the truck, which has a maximum range of more than 800 kilometers, will begin deliveries this year.

After a long time of waiting, it is significant that Tesla has started delivering the Semi: the capacity problem that previously plagued the company has been greatly relieved; Tesla may have a bigger breakthrough in self-driving technology for commercial vehicles.

The launch of the Semi could have a relatively large impact on the established landscape of the commercial vehicle segment in the U.S. and around the world.

Continuity is not a problem

The production version of the Semi truck retains the appearance of the concept vehicle to the greatest extent. Compared with the general truck, the Semi's shape is full of sci-fi feeling and has a very high recognition, which also becomes the biggest highlight of the Semi.

In addition to styling, the two biggest challenges facing pure electric trucks, range and replenishment time, are well balanced in the Semi.

The Tesla Semi has two range versions, with a range of 300 miles and 500 miles, respectively. Elon Musk even claims that the Semi has a range of 600 miles under more ideal conditions.

This figure is not so bright compared to diesel heavy trucks, but for an all-electric truck, it is already very impressive.

Another point that must be mentioned is the form of replenishment energy. As we all know, EV charging time is long, and Tesla's supercharging technology is a technology that can effectively solve this user pain point.

With the support of Tesla's supercharging, the Semi can recover 70% or about 370 miles of range in 30 minutes. The 30 minutes can also be used by the driver to take a proper rest and relieve driving fatigue.

But the two trucks are priced at a significant amount, $150,000 and $180,000 respectively. The biggest factor affecting the cost of electric vehicles is the battery, Tesla is using its latest 4680 induction ear battery in these two models.

However, taking into account the constraints of the range, the possibility of using lower-cost lithium iron phosphate batteries is basically not.

In terms of power, thanks to the triple electric motors, the Semi accelerates from 0-96km/h in just 5 seconds with no load and 20 seconds with a load of 36 tons.

High-level autonomous driving is no longer far away

The Semi's interior is a continuation of the simple style of the previous Model 3 and Model Y. The biggest highlight is that there is no passenger side.

The vehicle's steering wheel and seats are centered, and there are not too many physical buttons inside the vehicle, and it is not equipped with a dashboard. There is only a large screen on the left and right of the steering wheel to display the content of the vehicle's rearview mirror.

But the courage to cancel the passenger side, for Tesla, the biggest bottom line is that its self-driving technology may mature in the coming period of time.

With the support of driver assistance technology, the driver's work intensity of Semi trucks can be significantly reduced. If we refer to the deployment of L3 level autonomous driving technology in China, the operating company can completely realize the driver two minus one under the condition of ensuring vehicle operation efficiency.

In the next step, with the deployment of L4 level autonomous driving technology, the driver can be replaced by a safety officer, or even driverless, and perhaps the next generation Semi may truly realize the design without a cockpit.

Can it be the ceiling of electric heavy truck

For a heavy truck, especially a pure electric heavy truck, the length of operation will directly determine the company's economic efficiency.

Although the Semi's pure electric range can reach a maximum of 805 km, there is still a gap compared to diesel heavy trucks.

Tesla's supercharging can play a relatively good effect, but it has to be said that to achieve such a fast charging effect, it means that Tesla must lay out charging stations on a large scale throughout the United States, at least in the highway trunk line layout supercharging network.

This in a way makes the all-electric Semi truck more similar to the fuel cell truck. Without a hydrogen refueling station, the fuel cell truck can only lie down; without a supercharger network, the fast charging characteristics of the Semi truck cannot be brought into play, and the economics are not guaranteed for a commercially operated vehicle.

The only difference between the two, however, is that the cost of building a supercharging station is much lower than that of a hydrogen refueling station.

Of course, at a time when oil prices are getting higher, pure electric vehicles are also very advantageous in terms of fuel cost savings. According to Tesla's estimates, operators can save about $200,000 in fuel costs in just the first three years of holding the Semi, essentially recouping the cost of purchasing the Semi truck.

If you then consider that with the maturity of driver assistance/autonomous driving systems like Tesla's AutoPilot/FSD, the cost of drivers for future Semi trucks will plummet and could even be driverless at some point in the future.

The cost of a truck driver, which is not expensive in the US, will also eventually translate into profits for the operating companies involved.

The fact that the Tesla Semi is driving and starting to be delivered actually means that the capacity of Tesla's Texas factory is starting to climb. From a commercial vehicle perspective, the Semi and traditional trucks have revolutionized both in terms of styling and performance, and have a relatively large lead over competing products.

Just as when Tesla launched the electric supercar Roadster and then the fuel car completely like a product of two times.

What's more, under the background of energy saving and emission reduction, commercial vehicles, as the major emitter, have the social responsibility and obligation to reduce carbon. After all, this is a heavy truck model that can not only save a lot of fuel costs, but also attract a lot of turnovers on the road, and can even deploy high level driverless trucks in the future.

About Author
John Murphy

John Murphy is the founder of TOPCARS Tesla Aftermarket Accessories, as well as an investor in Tesla and owner of the Model Y. He posts about Tesla news while running the site on a daily basis.

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