A Tesla Semi is genius

A Tesla Semi is genius

Meeting emission standards and cost of fueling are key issues in my opinion.

Mike83 | August 17, 2016

Who is it that can make enough battery systems to power these beasts? I leave that to your imagination.

Mathew98 | August 17, 2016

I think the turbine electric hybrid from Nikola Motor also show promises.

Mike83 | August 17, 2016

Look who made the first mid size semi EV. Recall who invested in Tesla and may need batteries.

Mathew98 | August 17, 2016

Merely different ways to skin a cat. They all look promising to reduce the carbon foot print in different sub segments. Long haul requirements are quite different than local and short range deliveries.

Can't comment on the Tesla Semi as no details have been revealed yet.

carlk | August 17, 2016

I think Tesla is making more than just an electric semi. It will have enough of self driving capability, if not full autonomous, to go from coast to coast 7/24 without a human driver other than first and last miles. A self driving vehicle like this is much easier to implement since it will stay on a fixed route and will not need to get onto local streets. Another greate thing to disrupt that part of the transportation industry.

Mike83 | August 17, 2016

I think a 2nd and 3rd GF may be coming soon.

nadurse | August 17, 2016

Since this is a discussion about the business of transportation, electric/hybrid semi adoption will only happen if these transportation/shipping companies can for sure make money off of it. And not just make money, but also have a decent ROI. This is quite the different problem that appealing to early adopters or people willing to pay for a cool premium car. I am all for electric/hybrid semi because that will basically kill the diesel gas market if this can be made possible.

We shall see, I think its plausible but still quite some time away adoption .

carlk | August 17, 2016


Do you think a truck that could run non-stop, except for shot stops for charging, without drivers is not a good business investment?

Mathew98 | August 17, 2016

@carlk - @nadurse stated it's plausible. He's not contesting the idea.

Fully autonomous semi trunk is a wonderful idea. However, it's still a long way to go and the adoption process won't be easy. Let's see the details before jumping the gun...

Mike83 | August 17, 2016

If you had read the topic link you would have a better understanding of the motivation. EV trucks are already made and proprietary designs are in the making as we speak.
I am sure many would like to deny the changes coming as with the Model S.

carlk | August 17, 2016


Tesla semi would not make sense unless it can be operated without a full time driver. So is the Tesla bus. Elon is thinking way ahead of us although I did give a thought about driverless smart bus before.

nadurse | August 18, 2016

@carlk - obviously removing a driver has multiple financial benefits. You dont have to pay a driver anymore, nor do you have to make stops for the driver to sleep. I think that this idea is a bit further off than autonomous driving for regular passenger vehicles. You also have to consider the destination, if youve ever worked on a loading dock or in a manufacturing environment you know how big of a cluster this can be. You would need more than autonomous driving for that. The business you are delivering to would have to have the infrastructure to handle that. One option to circumvent that in the near term would be to have a specific vehicle for long range and one for short range or in town usage that actually goes to the business.

Further, these businesses will not jump on the bandwagon for a 10 year ROI, the technology must progress to a point where companies can put down money on a robot electric semi truck and see that ROI a lot sooner probably like 5 years as the trucking business is pretty competitive. I could see a partnership with like FedEx or UPS being plausible to further the advent of this idea as they can take more risk and have more capital at their disposal.

You also have efficiency and maintenance costs working in the electric semi's favor, but battery costs would still need to drop significantly to get that ROI where it would need to be for significant adoption.

Red Sage ca us | August 18, 2016

My Uncle runs a trucking firm. He is astounded by how far technology has come in the past 30 years. But he is very doubtful that full autonomous trucks will be available in the near term. He built his company for his Sons to run and believes they will have work for quite some time to come.

He may be right. But I sincerely doubt his Grandsons will be able to take over from their Dads. That is, unless they switch to a fleet of autonomous trucks that do all the work for them by then.

carlk | August 18, 2016


I already said first and last miles probably will still need human intervention. The truck can go from distribution centers in the east coast to distribution centers in the west caost non-stop, other than at superchargers, with final delivery still taken care of by local trucks with human driver. This kind of autonomouse interstate driving would be very easy to map and program, Tesla probably already has technology to do that, and very cost effective. Not only it saves labor cost it will also increase utilization of the truck. Here is the ROI you're taking about. No matter if everyone likes it or not this definitely has good potential of disrupting the trucking industry.

brando | August 18, 2016

Look to Walmart for firsts in computer driven/assisted Semi Trucks.
Walmart entire store system was built with logistics in mine. Hub and Spoke.
First the central Warehouse, then, within one days drive, build the stores.
You'll have to search on your own for exact details, but near 85% of US population is within 15 miles of a Walmart.

So Walmart trucks, drive the same route day in and day out. They know the start place and the end place every day. i.e. no new stops.

Some internet searching on Walmart truck designs
is informative.

carlgo2 | August 18, 2016

I would rather see long haul freight handled by railroad and Hyperloops and shorter and rural routes done with smaller EV trucks. Many highways are choked with trucks and the fact that they aren't belching diesel fumes won't open up the roads. EVs and self driving options will only create more of them.

Local delivery EVs will do the most good, if not as sexy as a streamlined big rig without a driver.

johndoe | August 18, 2016

You said "Fully autonomous semi trunk is a wonderful idea. However, it's still a long way to go and the adoption process won't be easy. "
There are already trials of autonomous trucks on highways.
There are already autonomous buses on the streets.

johndoe | August 18, 2016

Autonomous trucks can drive at night when the roads are not clogged.
The cost per mile for freight will be cheaper than rail for autonomous electric trucks. It is also more convenient and flexible. The market will not use rail in preference to autonomous electric trucks.

Mathew98 | August 18, 2016

Where did you find fully autonomous EV semi truck being anywhere near available or even in the design phase?

@carlk clearly was referring to the Tesla Semi with autonomous package. Context matters. Stop pretending to speak like you know something that others don't already know.

johndoe | August 18, 2016

If you are asking me, then try googling the obvious 'truck highway autonomous'
It really isn't hard, or time consuming, to do the slightest bit of research before posting.

Mathew98 | August 19, 2016

Do you ever wonder why you get into so many arguments with pretty much everyone on every single thread?

Do you ever speak from experience or do you just routinely spew things as facts because they were something you read on the internet? Oh yes, everyone is wrong due to misinterpretations of what you read online.

Google and regurgitate, that's the ticket!!! | August 19, 2016

There is no way on earth that general purpose tractor trailers will run on batteries of the current generation only.
See for a hybrid concept that uses a natural gas driven turbine to charge the batteries that supply the motive power. 1200 miles range on a tank of gas with cleaner emissions. That looks practical.

The Mercedes concept is short range-- <200 km. Driving across the US and charging or swapping battery packs every 100 miles won't cut the mustard. | August 19, 2016

Autonomous busses? Operative words are "office park only". "Prototype" "test of 2 busses" "joint study with MIT"
The closest I can find to commercial autonomous vehicles are the airport shuttles at the Tampa airport that run on tracks between the main terminal and satellite terminals. They work very well.

I predict that I will not live to see commercial vehicles of any type running around city streets and I am a very healthy 79. (Knock on wood) 😏

nadurse | August 19, 2016

@ carll - i think we are in agreement that its a good technology and potentially disruptive. But i dont think Tesla is anywhere near making this happen, id say this is a good 10 years out from market realization for an electric semi. Even the autonomy is probably 5 years off. The tesla system now is not autonomous, its a level 3 (IMO) at best and some might argue a level 2. It requires human involvement, its only when this system is errorproof and a human doesnt even have to be in the cab of the truck for there to be true cost savings. As opposed to you saying that tesla has this technology already which they don't.

This would also require a wireless charging infrastructure for the truck market, since there wouldnt be a person around to plug the truck in it would make sense to have the truck navigate itself into a recharging bay and recharge wirelessly like some of the electric buses do now but thats on a local level and a pre-set route. Here again, this will take some time to ramp up this infrastructure NATION WIDE as it doesnt even exist yet.

The autonomy will be vetted in the passenger vehicle market and be ready to go before the semi hits the market would be my best guess. | August 19, 2016

@nadurse: i think you have a pretty good handle on likely future of autonomous vehicles on public thorofares except that I think you are optimistic. 😀

brando | August 19, 2016


Walmart has a fleet of over 6,000 trucks.
I believe near 80% of US population within 15 miles of a Walmart.
Logistics optimized in Hub (main warehouse) and Spoke (stores) design.
Warehouse built first, then stores no more than one days drive out.
You can easily imagine why this would probably be the first automated Big Rig routes.
The same routes being driven over and over again.

fgaliegue | August 19, 2016

I agree with @carlgo2; the best route to take is rail over long distances and trucks over shorter distances.

Especially in the US; I don't understand why rail is so poor there, especially since there is all the space necessary to build a lot of railways. Plus, it's more economical (scale!) and electrification of trains is nearly a century old.

carlk | August 19, 2016


Autonomous buses would be much more complicated to do than trucks. As I mentiond in previous posts other than being driverless it will probably also be smart enough to plot routes in real time to accompany different needs at the time. Kind of like a shared driverless Uber. Driverless semi running on fixed interstate routes is much simpler to implement.

carlk | August 19, 2016


Highway with autonomous trucks is the new rail. Goods distribution is a much more complex endeavor now than decades ago when you only haul large quatities a few types of things like coal, steel or lumber and time is not of any essense. Rail just does not have the flexability we need for a lot of things today. Just imaging how Amazon prime is going to use rails to ship anything even just partially.


Yes I believe Walmart and Amazon will be first customers of Tesla semi.

johndoe | August 19, 2016

You asked "Do you ever wonder why you get into so many arguments with pretty much everyone on every single thread?"
I don't and I don't.
I do get into arguments with the ignorant and incorrect, who cannot be bothered to do the slightest research before posting. You have been on this forum a long time. I have suggested that research be done before posting numerous times. You still do not bother to do it. The solution is for you to bother.
Why do you think I should have to continuously do your research for you?

johndoe | August 19, 2016

You said "There is no way on earth that general purpose tractor trailers will run on batteries of the current generation only."
There is at least one other thread on this forum which discusses this in detail. When you do the calculations, it can be seen that they can.

johndoe | August 19, 2016

You said "I predict that I will not live to see commercial vehicles of any type running around city streets and I am a very healthy 79"
How many years is that? I am open to a friendly wager on it depending on the answer. You can even be an unhealthy 79.

Mathew98 | August 19, 2016

The same village idiot is claiming ignorance to his madness but immediately address multiple posters and claiming everyone else is wrong.

What wrong with this picture? Spending too much alone time to know how to interact with human beings?

johndoe | August 19, 2016

Why are you back to making posts purely to try and personally insult?
If you have something positive to contribute, then feel free to do so.

Kosta | August 20, 2016

EV Semis is a great idea but the battery pack will be very large for it to work. Look at the Model X and see how little it can tow. This is an issue that needs to be addressed with very large electrical motors and very large and thus heavy batteries. The only solution to an EV semi is a constant supply of electricity throughout the journey.

johndoe | August 20, 2016

When you look at the dimensions of a semi, and look at the size of the battery pack required, size it is not an issue at all. I suggest you start with the size of a 100kWh PowerPack and go from there.