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Tesla Pickup Truck

Tesla Pickup Truck

There was a post recently by someone suggesting that Tesla should aim for adding some serious truck to their portfolio. The post was going into quite a bit of detail why that person thought that an electric truck would be a good idea, and what he thought would be the minimum requirements. Unfortunately, I cannot find that post or thread any more. If someone else remembers, please post the link here!

In any case, it seems that such a suggestion is not entirely out of bounds:

The Tesla platform, which locates the batteries in a 10cm-high stack below the cabin floor, offers plenty of flexibility. “There are lots of ways in which we can exploit the platform,” said Von Holzhausen. “There will be a time and place for us to develop something around a pick-up. That’s a market for which the torque of an electric motor would be ideally suited.”
http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/tesla%E2%80%99s-electric-3-se...

carlgo | May 26, 2013

Those great renderings of the 4door are kind of what we would expect from Tesla, an AWD comfort truck that is capable of taking the family to the lake, towing a normal boat, picking up the proverbial 4x8 from the lumber yard and of course outracing kids in lifted giganto trucks.

Love the 7/8 size of my original Tundra, hate the 1849 pioneer wagon leaf spring suspensions. Air springs make great sense. Perhaps a clever fold-down lumber/kayak rack?

Call it the T-Truck. In time the chassis would be used for big conventional SUVs, various vans and specialty haulers in addition to truck variations like long beds, utility beds, access cabs, etc.

And of course UPS trucks. I think there are about 20 million of them to replace.

uselesslogin | May 28, 2013

OK, I just had to post somewhere that I am at this point basically waiting for Tesla to make a pickup truck - though I would hope it would be in the $60k range by the time it is released. Tesla seemed to think batteries will be 75% cheaper in 10 years. I could wait that long. Though I would love to see something near the end of the decade. While I'm not in the market to buy a new car I am certainly never going to buy an ICE for myself again and that is pretty much because I have seen the Model S.

TeslaRocks | May 28, 2013

I think a lot of people share that feeling, uselesslogin, me included. I never could imagine buying a brand new ICE car, now that I've seen the model S, I can't even imagine buying any ICE car, so it will have to be an EV once my current dies, hopefully there is something good and affordable by then, such as the Tesla Bluestar.

Brian H | May 28, 2013

In three or four years you should be able to get a fully serviced used MS for about half off.

wcalvin | May 28, 2013

It might serve to modify the Model X suv, leaving the falcon wings up when carrying tall objects like 4x8 plywood.

Lofty | June 7, 2013

Some great comments and encouraging to hear others are hoping the truck comes to fruition. I wrote back in October 2012 that there's essentially 0 competition in the EV truck market but didn't specify which part of the EV truck market I had in mind.

A few have pointed out there are commercial and 'Transit' type EV trucks already available. However, I had more of a non-commercial duty light truck in mind. As cool it would be for Tesla to out-power the truck competition in towing or similar feats I think they'd be just as successful to match a comparable priced truck in towing/power but have it drive and handle like the Model S.

Tesla has some difficult decisions to make since trucks have a wider variety of uses/applications than passenger cars.

sonjz | July 22, 2013

this would be an important development to me and my spouse, any a great eco-innovation moving forward.

we are currently in the process of building a tiny home, and aiming to iteratively integrate ourselves into transportable off grid living.

a great help to this cause would be an electric pickup that we can use to tow our house, as well as transport our solar setup.

imagine utilizing the pickup's battery storage to reduce your requirement for auxiliary battery storage for your solar setup. imagine having a build in 110V inverter onboard.

its not just for transport, its a potential base for an off grid power station.

this is what i'd like to see.

David N | July 22, 2013

A Tesla Pick Up truck?

If they do with a pick up with as they did with the Model S, they will sell not 20 or 30 thousand, but hundreds of thousands.

I'll take one. I need to tow our boat, and our 30' travel trailer.

I count 4 pick up trucks currently in our family. One is used for business (General contractor), one is simply because he loves to drive a nice truck, other two are because of the needs of hauling, towing, and 4 x4 ability.
All will jump at the chance to own the best pick up truck made.
David

xponetial | July 23, 2013

Klaus has the right idea for a pickup truck, no frills. I would only suggest the size be closer to a ford f-150. As it is the best selling truck. Also is sized for average cargo. I think the idea for ev powered truck is the right idea. Most people that own pickup trucks don't use them all the time to carry cargo. The customer base for this kind of truck exists and is most consumers. People have been waiting for alternate for a gasoline powered small truck for years. For instance diesel powered small truck in the USA market. All auto manufactures have ignored this idea, well why not electric powered truck instead.

Geert.Snijders | July 23, 2013

How about starting with a Tesla Monster Truck. Purely a prototype demo model. Just for fun, and to crush anything else in silent motion...

Ocean Railroader | July 27, 2013

A cool thing that a Tesla pick up could offer that a regular pick up can't is that it could have plugs in it for workers and contractors to plug in their power tools on a job site. Such as if you have a house that is under construction or a work place in a far off place away from a plug. You could drive the pick up truck to the work site and be able to plug in your power tools into the truck's big battery. After you are done you drive the truck home charge up during the night and come back the next day.

Something like this would allow builders to not have to run those small noisy gas generators at work sites.

bent | July 29, 2013

An electric Bigfoot has already been done.

http://www.bigfoot4x4.com/2012/1113_bf20.html

carlgo | July 29, 2013

The kinds of trucks that people buy millions of are the traditional frame types. Yes, they are silly overkill for 80% of the people who buy them, but they do.

An aluminum unibody Tesla truck is a different sort of thing altogether and it would be a mistake to think it can compete in the same market as conventional trucks. How many people risk scratching the pearlescent paint by loading their Escalade EXTs with a load of bricks?

Still, done right and with a reasonable level of ruggedness and utility* it could be a very good seller and worth developing.

* that means no stupid flying buttress bed design, among other things.

Brian H | July 29, 2013

Bigfoot video
5 of the 20 passes over the cars.

filsmyth | July 29, 2013

A ute-style truck based on the Model X makes sense, would be relatively easy to develop. About 2 months ago I did an image manipulation, not thinking to check to see if anyone else had done anything similar first.

As time went by I happened to think of another couple of concepts for Tesla Motors, which got me doing more image manipulations and getting back into sketching:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/115862438445218251875/albums/58939921...

Posting these to Google Plus results in feedback. One guy in particular asked for a 4-door version. Instead I gave the XTX a pair of Falcon Wing doors...

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-GqcLmPGwTx4/Ue5OLUjAanI/AAAAAAAAF5U/v...

...But that wasn't enough -- he still wanted an extra 18" of bed length. Okay, since the XTX already has a retracting rear window and a one-piece tonneau cover that lifts like a trunklid before sliding out of sight behind the rear seat, all we have to do is make that bulkhead fold down, after the rear seat bottom is flipped forward. This results in either a long, enclosed cargo area or a fully open one.

If you're thinking this is similar to the Chevrolet Avalanche's arrangement, you're absolutely correct -- but the Avalanche (which is being discontinued) asks you to manually remove and store its rear window, and I'm pretty sure there's no easy onboard storage option for its tonneau. With the XTX the transformation is automatic.

No, the XTX isn't what people think of as a truck. It's more like a tall coupe that transforms into a light-duty pickup. Maybe people will think it's weird, but they'll be impressed.

The XT on the other hand is pretty straightforward, even with a retracting rear window and a foldaway tonneau as options.

I like to imagine them both being revealed at the same event.

But neither one is a 'real' truck. That comes later (and I'd like to be part of the design process), on its own entirely new platform. Meanwhile I think the XT would be quite utilitarian enough for a lot of buyers, and though the XTX is the answer to a question almost nobody asked, its Falcon Wing doors alone should make it popular.

From these angles they may appear to have a "stupid flying buttress bed design", but the C-pillars do not actually extend very far along the bed sides.

carlgo | July 29, 2013

It is a matter of taste, and practicality too, but I would prefer a straight up rear window and pillar.

I would also like a fold-down lumber rack, something clever, capable of carrying a reasonable load of lumber. And of course Yakima type rack accessories.

Today almost every pickup is an access cab, if not a crew cab. My Tundra is an access cab and I would never, ever go back to a strictly one-row design.

A rollout tonneau cover, like a pool cover, would help aerodynamics and would be out of the way when you pick up the usual load of iron ingots (truck ads!).

I just don't see Tesla making giant frame trucks. Maybe partnering with someone, a joint venture.

Brian H | July 29, 2013
filsmyth | July 30, 2013

Thanks for posting my XTX image, Brian H. Code confuses me...

carlgo, we're talking apples and oranges. I give you a Fuji and a Granny Smith, and it's fine if you don't want them -- I've got something with a thick skin and a big ol' navel around here somewhere...

Elon wants to electrify transportation, and that includes commercial vehicles, so it seems a 'real' truck is in the pipeline.

Yesterday I watched a presentation at the Chicago Auto Show for the new Ram version of the Fiat Ducato. To hear the guy expound upon the benefits of front-wheel-drive in a truck application made me squirm, but it is useful to look at how they build trucks in Europe. The Ducato starts out as a unit-body van, and floor reinforcements are added for the cab and cutaway models.

For the Tesla truck I see a more American style, but see no reason not to include the cab as part of the chassis -- and a more upright, van-style cab can be a separate model.

If it's an American pickup it needs to look the part. We'll just put a big frunk where the V8 would be, and try not to try too hard with aerodamnnamics.

Talk is cheap. I'll get back to sketching...

Timo | July 30, 2013

"aerodamnnamics" :-D

It all depends of battery prices. Truck needs more than sedan, not just because of aerodamnnamics but also how it is used, so that part of the equation goes up. Technically BEV truck is easy, economically difficult.

David N | July 30, 2013

A new youtube has Elon talking about pick up trucks.
Elon talks of pick up trucks around the 31:45 min mark

http://youtu.be/8n-xsEjq7pk

filsmyth | July 31, 2013

A tiny sketch I did today:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/115862438445218251875/albums/58939921...

Text from my g+ post:

GenIV
'Model H' concept by filsmyth

If you know +Tesla Motors at all, you're aware of their 3-stage plan -- expensive, low-volume sports car, premium sedan, then a smaller, more affordable car (GenIII). What comes after that?

+Elon Musk has said, and I quote, "I'm quite keen on building a truck." He went on to talk about the problem today's truck suspensions have handling different load weights, and solving that, so it seems he's pretty serious about this...

Too serious to be talking about something like my XT concept? He might very well be. HOWEVER, a lot could be learned from developing a light-duty, ute-style pickup based on the Model X, and if the XT and its sister concept the XTX (seen elsewhere in this album) are going to be even halfway serious haulers they should use something other than the Model X's suspension at the rear, if only because the struts encroach on the cargo area.

'H' is for Hauling.

...Even if you're just hauling ass, which the version in my preliminary thumbnail sketch appears prepared to do.

The H's hood strakes are straighter and more substantial than those on the S and X, and whether they give any aerodynamic advantage or not, serve to 'beef up' the look of the truck in profile. Under the hood is a rather large FRUNK.

Each fender flare is a separate body part, so that the correct size and shape can be fitted for any number of wheel and tire sizes, and can be swapped out if an owner decides to fit larger tires.

Stay tuned for additional cab choices and bed lengths, as well as offroad-capable versions.

TeslaRocks | August 5, 2013

filsmyth, you made a reference to the 3 stage plan of Tesla, the secret master plan, and it reminded me that I wonder how a Tesla truck would fit in it. On the one hand, the Gen3 has already been promised and a lot of people (including me) are expecting it and eager to see and drive it. On the other hand, I think by definition a pick-up would have to be, at least at first, a premium model with a large price tag. ICE trucks sell for a lot, so it would be surprising if an EV truck came out with a similar or lower price tag. The only way I can make sense of it is that the Tesla EV pick-up truck would be a new segment, a new product line, so it would start with lower volume and higher price. However, to help justify that price tag, it would have to be very close to perfection and also include a whole bunch of new functions that anyone would immediately begin to want after learning about them. Elon talked about the suspension, also low center of gravity and power like sports car handling. I suggested the torque could be on a whole other level, making conventional trucks look like invalids in comparison. I also suggested, like in a post above, that under one tail light could be one or more plugs that can be used, when the truck is parked, to power tools at a job site, pumps or other machines at a mining camp, electronics and lights at a family camping site, and appliances at home during a power outage, for example. Because of this ability to bring electricity to remote areas, this vehicle could probably be the perfect opportunity to begin to offer on-board solar panels at least as an option. If power needs at the site are low enough, this could provide a simple and elegant solution as an alternative to costly generators or a dedicated solar or wind system.

If the truck must have lots of torque, it will need lots of power but also lots of weight to be able to get enough traction to pull the load, which means a lot of that truck's weight should be batteries. In other words, the pick-up truck would also be the perfect opportunity to release a new EV format that has a lot more power, enough for a normal driving range of over 1,000 km or even miles. Wind resistance would normally be another major obstacle to that claim, but with the usual long shape of a truck, you only need to add a few small features like a convertible cover over the bed and dynamic air suspension to lower the vehicle at highway speeds in order to make the truck more aerodynamic than almost any car and get the most of the energy that you have.

So hopefully Tesla will be big and strong enough to handle the introduction of the pick-up truck about at the same time as the Gen3, the new Roadster, and many more. Also, at that time, a new vehicle with legendary capabilities, even if high-price-low-volume, will be just what Tesla needs to get free publicity and attract the crowds, even if they just end up buying a Gen3 "for now" because that's all they can afford or have room for. It would also be the best publicity in the longer term, because it will get many people dreaming of all they could do with such a truck that has power, style, endurance, and perhaps even the ability to recharge itself independently from the grid: you can't get more manly than that and it will speak to the instincts of a lot of people. T'will be fun!

filsmyth | August 7, 2013

Yes, one has to wonder how many projects they can juggle at once, and how far in planning they may already be for what I call the Model H. Yet, while some may feel the X is slowing GenIII down, GenIII is about more than just coming up with a newer, smaller model. I don't think developing the XT and XTX would delay the GenIII at all -- and as I said, the XT would be a good learning experience toward GenIV.

Okay now imagine a battery pack about the size of a small genset, perhaps of a different shape, small and light enough for 2 men to load into a pickup (or even the trunk of a car), with plenty of kw/h to run power tools for a day's work at a remote jobsite. This portable power station would come with a folding solar panel, and could also be taken to a Super Charger.

Not saying that adding outlets to a Tesla truck isn't a great idea, just taking the next obvious step.

The subsequent obvious step is a larger, trailer-mounted pack, a MOBILE power station -- or power WORKstation, where saw tables for example could be used in the shade of massive solar panels. Used more range than you expected getting lunch? Plug your truck into it.

TeslaRocks, were you the one who suggested something similar before?

TeslaRocks | August 8, 2013

filsmyth, what you describe doesn't sound familiar to me, I think it's not quite something I would have said. I'm suggesting the simpler option, since the trend for successful commercial devices is towards encapsulation and user-friendliness, whether you may like it or not as a do-it-yourself-er. I think a battery pack as a stand-alone product has lots of potential, for a good alternative to generators, and I agree that Tesla should offer it eventually, like how Honda sells amazing generators. I'm guessing the price and weight of battery (I noticed that's how Elon says it, singular, probably because Tesla considers it a commodity) will need to drop much further for a portable battery pack to be a very appealing alternative to gas generators and be worth Tesla's time. As for a pick-up truck, my suggestion is that people should have the option to buy a massive battery pack, since that would also help them get more traction and haul more anyways. For example, maybe there could be two options for battery packs, 120 kWh and 250 kWh. It would be like a light duty and a heavy duty versions. All pick-up truck models should have the utility plug(s) for external electricity when parked. Along with unsurpassed power, people would then have the choice between legendary range (~1,000 km), great range while hauling, external power for tools and appliances, or any compromise of these various abilities without the need to ever lift a battery pack (risk of injury, lawsuit...), worry about the charge level of multiple packs, or sacrifice cargo space for a portable battery pack.

As for solar panels, I realize that covering even a large truck with permanent solar panels would not have a very significant impact, perhaps 500 W at noon on a sunny day when parked in the sun. For most people, this clearly would not be cost effective until panels become about as cheap as paper, but perhaps there would be a smaller group of customers that would highly value this feature, even if only for psychological reasons. That's why I think that a luxury pick-up truck is the perfect opportunity to introduce solar panels as an option, which will cost Tesla for the design and integration and could be a loss if nobody wants it, but there will perhaps never be a better opportunity to see if anyone would be willing to pay extra to get it (and help eventually bring the technology to the masses). As for solar panels that are not integrated into a vehicle, whether installed on a building or portable as in the plug-and-play fashion, I think that should remain Solarcity's department. Panels that can be deployed temporarely at a camp site could be interesting, but clearly that is for very few people, although Tesla could plan for that and make the truck compatible so it can be plugged into the system easily and safely. Before portable panels should be used, I think integrated panels make more sense because they would be simpler to the user and always there on the truck to help charge it, although as I said even that is highly dependant on user preference and may or may not be commercially successful as a feature in the medium-term. But don't forget, if Tesla can sell a few super-duty trucks that have unbeatable torque and power, very abundant energy for itself and external machines, AND is covered in solar panels, even if the latter make little difference the image would be very powerful and the best "free" publicity to win over the last EV-skeptics or ICE-fanatics, perhaps even Broder. Tesla doesn't need that right now because they sell more model S's than they can make, but this free publicity and extra attention and recognition could come in handy when a quarter million cars must be sold per year, the early adopters are filled and the general public is still a little hesitant or unaware to buy a Tesla.

filsmyth | August 8, 2013

It would likely prove beneficial for Tesla Motors to partner with Solar City in accessorizing GenIV vehicles with PV, and I have to wonder how far they would take it...

Going to an extreme, we can imagine a team participating in the Baja 1000 with ALL vehicles and mobile support powered exclusively on solar.

...But for now, we have to weigh charging benefit against cost for PV as a permanent (or even temporary) vehicle component. However even if, say, a PV tonneau cover wouldn't be terribly effective at charging, people like the idea and would buy them anyway. Then again, since efficiency keeps improving and costs continue to drop, by the time GenIV is in production (or shortly thereafter) such a feature could prove to be perfectly viable.

Should be an OPTION, and let's keep the panels on the tonneau (or on the roof of a cap) if for no other reason than for ease of upgrade. An alternative to the foldaway solar tonneau could be one with a scissor lift, raising up to roof level or higher as needed, also tilting side-to-side when the vehicle is stationary as desired.

Why aren't we getting paid for this?

B-)

Brian H | August 8, 2013

filsmith;
Even perfect conversion of the sunlight on a car wouldn't drive it. There just isn't enough. Solar 'cars' are big tabletop lightweight jobs, academic demo pieces.

filsmyth | August 9, 2013

Brian H;
The question is: Would a solar tonneau produce enough charge over several hours to provide an appreciable increase in range?

If you were referring to my Baja 1000 imagining, I was thinking of mobile Super Charger stations and a supply of pre-charged packs for the race vehicles.

While a Solar Challenge event COULD be held along the length of the Baja peninsula, the route would have to use paved roads...

filsmyth | August 9, 2013

https://plus.google.com/u/0/103556237880125980314/posts/ZyQWf99Rz5e

Looking at this foto I was reminded of the correlation between wheelbase and battery size.

A standard-cab shortbed would have the smallest battery, a longbed crewcab the largest, with a size in between. While it would be possible to use one size for all 3 wheelbases, to save weight, right now we're looking for optimum output.

This is getting very interesting indeed...

Brian H | August 9, 2013

Mobile solar is a delusion and illusion for a full-size vehicle.

TeslaRocks | August 12, 2013

filsmyth,

Do the math, assuming best case scenario of 20% efficiency panels, 1000W/m^2 solar constant, 15 hours of cloudless sunlight on a fine day in late June, a vehicle top surface area the size of 12.6m^2* (implying the sun is at noon position all day long), and a driving efficiency of 1.14 km/MJ**.

* 6.3m X 2m = 12.6m^2 (Based on Ford F-150 SuperCab Exterior Dimensions, likely larger than a possible Tesla truck: http://www.ford.ca/trucks/f150/specifications/exterior/ )

**Efficiency of Tesla Roadster. http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/secret-tesla-motors-master-plan-just-bet...

Stir it up and you get: 0.2*1000w/m^2*60s/m*60m/h*15h*12.6m^2*1.14km/MJ = 136 MJ * 1.14 km/MJ = 155 km. Keep in mind this is an absolute best case scenario, impossible in reality because you'd be very lucky to get half of that. Also note that this is roughly 38kWh, if I didn't get mixed up, which is $2.27 worth of overnight (off-peak) electricity around here anyways (6 cents/kWh).

So you can see how most people would have a really hard time justifying a costly investment in the solar panels and related equipment, which I hear currently goes for $1.30/W at best, so over $4,300 extra for that truck. A commuter wouldn't need that extra charge, otherwise they would plug-in at work, and it is too little to make a difference on a long trip, especially when superchargers are an option. BUT I think that with a pick-up truck, there is a small crowd of owners who would at least consider paying a few extra thousand dollars to get panels for the convenience in remote areas AND also for the feeling and image that it would provide knowing that you can not be stranded, only delayed at worse, or more realistically that you can operate off-grid. The simplicity of the design could compete well against a generator system for a work camp and such: buy a truck and get a simple and reliable energy system almost as a bonus, plus it might cost less to operate than alternatives because you can charge up the battery in town overnight every so often, like once a week when you go get other supplies like food for the crew. The solar panels would just allow you to last longer on a charge, which is convenient. The panels would be most useful when electricity use is low enough such that the battery pack would last a while anyways, then the panels might double that period, which means huge savings if it saves you a trip to town.

Timo | August 12, 2013

That 15 hours is way off, it is more like 5 effectively unless you make those panels tilted and follow the Sun.

TeslaRocks | August 13, 2013

Timo,

You're right and I know, it was a completely exaggerated set of assumptions to show that even that wouldn't make more of a difference. With all the assumptions that are more than twice what is realistic, the 155km extra charge becomes more like 10-20km on an average day if there is not shade, which is rare anywhere else than in a field or the ocean. To be clear, my point was that the solar panels would be more useful as a built-in mini power grid than to power the actual vehicle for driving. This is a very niche application and market, but still worth looking into in the case of a pick-up truck, I believe. Clearly not currently viable for a regular car, though, at least until there is a car so energy-efficient that 100W makes a big difference for it.

patientv | August 15, 2013

Someone asked a truck questions at a teslive event check out 31:50 in this video
http://youtu.be/8n-xsEjq7pk

It seems Thought has been placed into it but Tesla is focused on hitting goals to get to Gen3...

At that point it will take over the world & introduce all viable suggestions...J/K

Brian H | August 15, 2013

A 1 hp solar buggy! What's amusing is that James Watt set 1 hp to be as strong as 2 horses, so Yoder is actually getting double the kick a real buggy would.

filsmyth | August 19, 2013

Sitting on my porch today, sketching, I began to think that the Gen2 platform's 116.5" wheelbase is similar to a pickup's. Just now checked Wikipedia and found that to be a bit short by today's standards -- shortest wheelbase for a late-model Chevy or GMC is 119" (while from 1960-'66, it was 115").

All I'm saying is that the existing Gen2 battery could be used for a short-wheelbase Tesla pickup. You wouldn't want it to be any longer than that, for a 119" wheelbase, given a beefier suspension.

Brian H | August 20, 2013

Why GenIII? Why not MS?

filsmyth | August 20, 2013

I used a '2' instead of the Roman numeral 'II' in an attempt to avoid confusion...

Models S and X are Gen2.

Brian H | August 20, 2013

So you did. Sorry.

Devilstower | August 20, 2013

I'd love to have a small pickup. GM and Ford keep insisting that they don't build a small truck, because the price difference between a small truck and a full size wouldn't be that great, but I -want- a small truck.

Also, from WAY back at the start of this thread...

Timo | July 13, 2012
"Problem with pickup trucks are the weight and low aerodynamics requiring larger battery. You want large battery also if you want to carry any significant cargo because the cuts the range even further. High energy consumption = long recharging times."

Is there any reason a pick-up has to be poor aerodynamics? Couldn't you make, for want of a better name, and 'Model X Baja' (or Model X Sport-Trac, whichever floats your mini-truck)?

Timo | August 20, 2013

Pickup truck has by default poor aerodynamics. It's a shape thing. If it has good aerodynamics it can't be pickup truck.

Tesluthian | August 20, 2013

Here's the next 4th generation truck platform solution, a double battery system. While both are swappable, you can drive without the second battery. Both batteries are bigger with more range than the current 85 kwht battery. Say each battery does 400 + miles, giving you 800 + miles range with both batteries in.

The second battery is for when you need range AND you need to haul a load, say 2-4 tons, or pull a boat, flatbed etc. with two batteries, 400 miles with a heavy load is still possible.

Now swapping speed. 90 seconds is you father's swapping speed, 30 seconds is the new standard. With a Tesla cross licensing agreement with KNDI should do the job. This would be for swapping the primary battery that sits higher up in the vehicle and it only takes 30 seconds. See link video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvixlb8l6Co&feature=youtube_gdata_player

This makes possible leasing used batteries with a new truck purchase saving critical batteries which may be in short supply with mass Tesla EV production and home battery grid buffer packs & Solar City solar storage battery packs. It also cuts the up front purchase amount 30-40 %.

For the second battery underneath the primary battery, Tesla needs to design a new swap system that is faster than the KNDI system, say swappable in 15 seconds without even having to come to a complete stop.

Here's the solution, a forward push swap, instead of side to side like the KNDI system. The battery to be swapped is held in position on steel rails. Power is supplied by the primary battery as you drive forward slowly over the rails the charged battery pushes out the used battery, or inserts itself into the empty space.

Computer guidance and steering lowers/raises the rail to proper height and guides the tires and controls the forward speed.

On off electric magnets temporararily turn on to guide the battery to lockin position until hydraulic clamps lock the the battery into place.

This two battery system solves the problem of cargo weight lowering EV pickup range. And swap time is 15 seconds. Long rows (5 across) of these swap stations can be set up to drive through, like toll booths on an interstate. All billing is done wirelessly through the car's computer.

Vehicles that can use this double battery platform include pickups, commercial cargo vans, mini RV vans tall enough to stand up inside, other?

It also gives Tesla a cross licensing agreement opportunity with the Chinese. I think China is the only place Tesla can build a compatible 5th and sixth generation car competitive with world ice car prices in the compact and subcompact categories with the Chinese using a downsized version of the two battery system. In this case the second battery is mostly used for infrequent trips over 500 miles and not part of the initial purchase.

A manufacturing agreement to produce these small EV cars with Geely and KNDI would accomplish this. And it would allow a tesla to sell compact cars in China without import fees! Each company can use their own batteries.

The manufacturing price Tesla could achieve with manufacturing in China is $5,000 per compact car, That's with a double battery system; but only comes with one battery. Tesla could sell this "best in class" small car for $15,000. For excellent margins.

Selling the new compact with a used lease battery, gets the up front retail purchase price down to $10,000 per car, with a used battery lease agreement. These used lease batteris swap out using the KNDI side swap system. The secondary battery for long trips inserts & swaps out using my proposed Tesla forward drive swap system.

To build these compact cars, Tesla, SCTY & China would design & build from the ground up an entire city powered 100% with renewable energy, all houses & apartments have battery buffers, solar power roofs, chargers in garages, built in charging stations designed into the city layout from the design stage. Also superconducting electrical transmission lines to drastically cut electrical transmission loss. This city would exist t
to build 5 million EV compacts/subcompacts a year with Tesla owning 50%.

100% renewable parts suppliers could also locate in the city like steel & aluminum recycling companies.

And to give this city a name, I would like Teslahua (Tez-lah-wah) City, which I believe would translate as "Tesla Blossom" City. The cars could be called Teshua's (Tez-wahs) or "Tes Blossoms".

Hyperloops would carry millions of cars from manufacturing plants to rail yards and ocean ports.

I would think these compact Tesla's/Teshua's made in China plants would be produced using over 90% robots, and most of the Chinese workers would be engineers maintaining and running the robots and they would enjoy living in Teslahua City.

I don't anyone would blame Elon for using China to get the price of a world class Tesla compact car down to the same price point as ice compacts, $10,000 to $15,000 dollars while still maintaining margins.

The higher margin, heavy duty Tesla vehicles with double batteries could be made in the U.S. at a second Tesla factory. Starting out small with a lot of land & capable of being expanded to 2 1/2 million vehicles/yr with demo vehicle hyperloops transporting some of the trucks/vans/etc to ports or rail lines.

For a variety of reasons, I favor a location between San Antonio , Tx and Brownsville Tx. A demo people hyperloop to San Antonio from the Brownsville Tx Tesla auto plant would allow Tesla workers to live in San Antonio & work in Brownsville.

The factory demo hyperloop would also allow San Antonians to visit the Tesla auto factory , the proposed Space X launch site, and local attractions like Padre Island beach.

filsmyth | August 20, 2013

Devilstower, I also like small trucks, and would love to have the opportunity to design them when the time comes. I already have a pretty clear vision for the full-size American-style pickup, which I call the 'Model H' (H is for Hauling) and am now envisioning its little brother, family resemblance intact...

One thing at a time, though. It's probably best to go in stages when entering the truck market.

The easiest first step, in my opinion, would be to build a 'coupe utility' version of the Model X. I'm sure plenty of others have had that idea, but when it struck ME and I did a digital manipulation of an image of an X, it was the beginning of a passion for me. Even though it wasn't until a couple more concepts occurred to me that I began to take it seriously, suddenly this self-taught amateur automotive designer has found a company he wants to work with. I've been designing for over 30 years, if my teens count, but no other company has inspired me to want to do it professionally.

Oops, went off on a tangent there -- but now you know where I'm coming from.

As I was saying, it might be best to start of with a Model X-based ute:

...from which a lot could be learned for subsequent truck projects. Next should be the American-style full-size pickup, on a new platform -- Gen4 -- an expandable platform that would provide the basis for any number of commercial vehicle types. Short-wheelbase models could use the existing Gen2 battery, perhaps with spacers to allow for a thicker version.

Since we're talking batteries, I imagine the Gen3 battery would fit nicely under a compact pickup -- but I don't see one being developed until later, and even then only if sufficient demand is perceived to exist. But again, lessons learned from the 'XT' would help in the development of a small truck based on the Gen3 platform...

...and so I contradict myself, because there would be no real reason not to do both sizes of pickups at the same time. Not sure I'd expect Tesla to jump in with both feet like that, but they may already be thinking of using the Gen3 as a basis for small commercial vehicles, for all WE know.

As for aerodamnnamics, there is only so much that can be done, but with a flat underbelly Tesla trucks already have an advantage in that department. So far I still have only the ONE 'Model H' sketch to share, but I'll post it here again so you can see how the hood strakes allow for a bit of streamlining while giving it a more conventional truck profile:

TeslaRocks | September 30, 2013

I've been giving the future Tesla truck some thought, again, and attempted a few sketches. Unfortunately, I think they are even less illustrative than my words, so I'll stick to the latter and invite filsmyth or anyone interested to try and illustrate what I describe.

1-With battery tray heavy but low, truck has very low center of gravity.

2-Active air suspension allows to raise truck to tackle off-road, curbs, and other obstacles, but to keep it low when hauling, climbing an incline, and at high speed for better aerodynamics.

3-I'm not entirely sure how possible this is, but I'm optimistic because it's electric which means some components are omitted, but the flatbed top surface is very low to the ground when air suspension is at its lowest. There would be a few inches of ground clearance like on a typical car, a few inches for the battery tray, and that's it, which means the average person can comfortably step onto the bed.

4-The shape of the cab could be a little different in that it would be more forward than usual. A frunk instead of a huge engine can allow to bring things forward a bit. My drawing experiments have convinced me that this can go against the pick-up truck image, however, so this needs to be weighed carefully. A toy car I was looking at for inspiration had a nearly flat front face, like a city bus, but rounded with a lot of glass for great visibility, but I don't think this would work and still be called a pick-up truck. Also, a round or a boxy cab must be considered because it can greatly affect the image and to a lesser extent the aerodynamics.

5-Moving the cab forward could help bring the center of gravity forward a little. The whole truck should be lower than usual for a pick-up, especially when air suspension is low. All this will mean that the maximum slope this truck could climb could be unbelievable, maybe steeper than 45 or 60 degrees!

6-Finally, to help minimize air resistance, there should be something to cover the back when it is not a problem. It could be automated like a luxury convertible, or it could be manual like a tarp on a roller with a handle and a few clips. Whatever the mechanism, it would cover the box with a aerodynamic shape, whether a simple line from the top and back of the cab to the top of tailgate, or more of an exponential curve.

See it yet? If you want, please draw it and post for all to see. Have fun! Thanks.

Brian H | September 30, 2013

45 or 60 degrees? Not even half that.

Timo | October 1, 2013

If the CoG is low enough and there is enough grip, maybe 45-60 degrees could be possible, but I doubt that normal car tires could handle that kind of slope. Sliding would be almost inevitable, and if car turns sideways while sliding you find yourself rolling down.

Roamer@AZ USA | October 1, 2013

As much as I would like to think Tesla will build a truck I just don't see it happening in the near term.
If they were to offer a truck I would expect it to be more car than truck. The Honda Ridgeline comes to mind.

For a true truck that can do what real trucks do it looks like the guys at VIA Motors have a better approach.

An electric truck with an efficient motor generator to give more range, power and load capability while still giving the benefit of electric operation.

http://www.viamotors.com

TeslaRocks | October 2, 2013

Yeah 60 degrees and even 45 might be exaggerated, but I threw that number mostly for provocation. Also, clearly that wouldn't be in an everyday setting, it assumes no other extra weight than the driver, tires would have excellent adherence with perhaps soft rubber like on race cars, and then it would just become a matter of keeping the center of gravity vertical projection more forward than the rear wheels. Climbing would be very slow for the simple reason that even a little more acceleration could make the truck flip backwards given that everything is at the limit.

Timo | October 2, 2013

If we forget about grip Model S CoG is already so low that it could easily climb 60 degree slope. Empty pickup would have its CoG at least as low (if you go low rider style) and also less weight at the upper rear section, so it would be able to do that climb even easier. It's matter of grip more than force vectors.

It would feel weird though. You want your seat to be upright, otherwise you find yourself sliding toward roof.

Brian H | October 2, 2013

Watch the nose wave around in the air.

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