Musk Says All-Electric Semi Will "Blow Your Mind"

Musk's truck

By The Maritime Executive 2017-11-16 20:05:27

Tesla is about to unveil its long-awaited, all-electric semi truck, something CEO Elon Musk says will “blow your mind.” 

The unveiling will be broadcast live on Thursday night at 8pm California time on Tesla's website. Yet to be revealed for certain is how far it could travel on a single charge, although this is anticipated to be 300 miles.

The new vehicle will be a fully electric Class 8 truck, a category for vehicles that weigh more than 33,000 pounds, including tractor-trailer rigs that make up a major part commercial road freight. 

The Tesla truck will likely feature self-driving capabilities.

The ramifications of potential cost savings from electric and autonomous trucks for shippers are likely to be great. Fuel and labor together represent 64 percent of trucking costs. The move to electric and autonomous semis is also expected to have a big impact on warehouse location, design and utilities.

David Egan, CBRE Global Head of Industrial & Logistics Research, said: “Electric semis, and even more so autonomous trucks, eventually will have far-reaching influences on the design, speed and efficiency of supply chains. The cost savings unlocked by lessening the trucking industry's reliance on gasoline and diesel as a fuel source can be diverted to improving other supply chain technologies and processes. Autonomous trucks that can travel longer distances in a 24-hour period than manned vehicles stand to redefine distribution territories and logistics hubs. These changes won't happen tomorrow, but they are not far off.”

Cummins, Bosch and Daimler have already released electric truck prototype designs. Nikola Motor Company already offers a fuel cell-powered truck, and Canada's Loblaw Companies launched its own electric Class 8 truck on November 3. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Class 8 trucks transport 80 percent of all goods in the nation and account for 22 percent of total energy use in transportation, burning 28 billion gallons of fuel each year across 2.5 million trucks, each one driving 66,000 miles annually. Globally, these trucks account for seven percent of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.

A report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers released last year estimated that vehicle automation threatens 2.1 million to 3.3 million jobs.