Earlier this month, it was revealed that the trucks would be capable of traveling in fully autonomous platoons that are led by a single vehicle. This information was gleaned from email communications between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
This week, Reuters is reporting that Tesla’s semi-trucks (which will not feature a sleeper cab) will be capable of traveling between 200 to 300 miles before they will have to be recharged. While 300 miles may be sufficient for the daily travel needs of regular car drivers, that range falls well below that of diesel-powered long-haul trucks that can travel 1,000 miles or more before needing to refuel.
Although we don’t know anything about the charging infrastructure that Tesla has in mind for these trucks, the solution will likely not be as convenient or as fast as refueling a diesel truck. And when it comes to long haul trucks, time is money. But that might not matter in the long run. According to Fleet Complete chief strategy officer Sandeep Kar says that 30 percent of the U.S. trucking industry demand is for regional trips that average 250 miles in length. So, in this instance, Tesla might have a viable niche.
“I’m not going to count them out for having a strategy for longer distances or ranges, but right out of the gate I think that’s where they’ll start,” said Scott Perry, the chief technology offer and chief procurement officer for Ryder System Inc. Ryder specializes in logistics and transportation solutions, and is based in Miami, Florida.
Tesla, which is set to fully unveil its prototype truck in September, declined to comment on the details or the report, instead responding, “Tesla’s policy is to always decline to comment on speculation, whether true or untrue, as doing so would be silly. Silly!”
Tesla first became a known quantity to enthusiasts with the launch of the all-electric Roadster, which was then followed by the Model S sedan and the Model X crossover. More recently, the company launched the entry-level Model 3, which is priced from $35,000.
Bottom Image Source: Sam Felder/Flickr