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  • The future of Tesla and the Semi Truck

    There is no question that Tesla's release of the roadster and Semi Truck was a revenue raising exercise for the cash strapped company. It seems it will be successful, with no shortage of deposits being placed for both vehicles.

    Fanbois are losing their minds with the alleged performance of the roadster. But the Semi seems to be attracting more attention with a number of companies putting down deposits - eager to reap the green cred that Elon provides.

    The problem is nobody seems to be talking seriously about where the electricity will come from to power these trucks. The 500 mile range truck will need roughly a megawatt of battery capacity. Elon stated that there will be a charger able to charge the truck's battery to 80% of capacity in half an hour. To put 800kw/h into a battery would require a 1.6 megawatt charger. That charger will need to pull 4000Amps @ 400volts from somewhere for the half hour it takes to charge. For comparison Tesla's car superchargers draw 300Amps @ 400volts and can be supplied from the electricity distribution networks in the US (barely).


    So far the increase in demand for electricity created by electric cars has been manageable thanks to the availability of excess capacity and small size of the fleet. But cars and trucks are at different ends of the spectrum when it comes to energy requirements. The electricity infrastructure doesn't exist to power electric trucks. To put it in context 1400 trucks charging at the same time would need the entire output of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

    No problem, companies can put solar panels on the roofs of their stores and warehouses to power their trucks. Clean, green and free power! Nope. If you aren't aware already solar panels are a novelty for greenies, not a reliable source of electricity for industry. Unlike the majority of electric cars the majority of electric trucks will be recharging daily and the cost of a solar supply and storage system to fuel them would make the whole thing a very bad investment. The nearest thing to a cost effective solution would ironically be diesel generator.

    Depending on the number of trucks that may one day hit the roads, huge sums of money are going to be needed for the infrastructure to make the electricity available for them. I actually believe there is no future for electric trucks because the cost to provide power for them is astronomical. With every 1000 trucks that hit the road you basically need to build a new power station.

    Tesla would know that the capacity to charge even a small fleet of trucks doesn't exist and the cost to build that capacity will make converting to electric trucks a very bad investment. The government certainly wont want to spend the money. In fact if the truck's energy requirements start to disrupt the grid they might just do what governments do and ban them. Maybe Tesla doesn't really think they'll be in business long enough to produce trucks anyway.

  • #2
    The semi-truck idea is basically a nonstarter. Other than short haul trucks, which semi-tractors generally aren't, there is no way to make the system work.

    For example, one of the common long-haul, money making routes is Los Angeles CA to Jacksonville FL hauling CONEX boxes for transshipping to Europe and elsewhere. Typically, the trucks running the route are team driven and run 24/7 except to refuel and for maintenance. Running a 300 gallon tank, these vehicles can refuel in California, Texas, and Florida (they run about 1500 miles on 300 gallons) meaning they are driven almost literally non-stop between two points.

    There is no need for massive new infrastructure doing this as would be needed for all electric vehicles. These vehicles often run to 500,000 miles before being retired.

    Just the need for triple the number of recharging stops each as long as a refueling stop for a diesel, or longer, means the team driving is losing money even if everything else is equal as they only get paid when the vehicle is moving. So, say a 10% drop in pay means these long haul teams would demand higher per mile payment to maintain the same expected pay rate raising shipping costs.

    But, I think it's just Musk playing a shell game myself. That is, he trotted this out to get investors to put money into the idea and he can turn that money around and stave off bankruptcy of the Tesla car division a bit longer. It's a very common practice among less business savvy contractors... Get money form Paul to pay Peter... That is get a new contract to fund existing contracts because you bid badly and can't otherwise make a profit on the job. A variant of the Ponzi scheme.
    That's why I say Tesla is like a massive version of the Davis three-wheel car. It's like Bernie Madoff running Tesla...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davis_Motorcar_Company

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    • #3
      Tesla is a cult. Youtube is littered with its followers expressing there admiration for the great Elon and all his ideas and products.

      It seems that world ending global warming believers, greenies, most lefties and Tesla followers all share the same trait. A complete lack of practical thought. The kind of people who couldn't change a tyre on a car. The people you least want to be trying to solve a problem because they make it worse. They believe electric cars are pollution free, the path to carbon reduction is to squander resources on solutions that don't do the job they're made for (solar/wind) and that billions of people have been murdered by anything nuclear. They have no practical understanding of the problems they believe and advocate impractical solutions they think will fix them.

      I have to admit I like Elon. I like the electric cars, I like the rockets and his desire to make us a space faring race. I'd actually like to see Tesla succeed as well. If every power station was nuclear and the rabid anti nuclear drop kicks weren't making it hard to build more, then moving road transport from fossil to electric power could improve the planet. Maybe.

      Tesla isn't bankrupt yet and I do give them a chance of surviving. Tesla's believers seem to be affluent and very devoted. Government support for the company, especially in komifornia, seems to provide favourable regulation. If they can get enough model 3s out the door then who knows.

      I don't see any chance of an electric truck replacing diesel versions in any great numbers. Maybe a few hundred scattered across the land. I just hope for America's sake the government doesn't pour truck loads of tax payer money all over the place thinking they'll make it happen. Without nuclear the trucks achieve nothing. The amount of energy consumed in diesel fuel will have to be replaced with electricity. Solar and wind the idiots will squeal. Maybe you could use wind and solar to provide the electricity. It would bankrupt the nation several times over, take decades to build and have to be backed up by fossil fuelled generators anyway. Completely impractical.

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      • #4
        The only practical electric truck would be one powered by Plutonium. Such a truck would be able to stay on the road for years without refueling. Instead of the normal engine, drive train, each wheel would have its own electric motor including the trailer. Being independently controlled by the on board computer, this vehicle could manage driving on slippery roads far better then the current trucks.

        Don't ever expect it to happen given the current paranoia over nuclear powered anything even though implanted plutonium batteries were used to power the first 20 pacemakers ever implanted in humans.
        “Breaking News,”

        “Something irrelevant in your life just happened and now we are going to blow it all out of proportion for days to keep you distracted from what's really going on.”

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        • #5
          An even larger obstacle than the increased electricity demand of an electric vehicle world, would be the limits of commodity supply chains...


          If UBS’s global EV production forecast is accurate, lithium and cobalt production will have to roughly double relative to 2014. The cumulative consumption of lithium from 2014-2025 will be equivalent to 69% of 2015 proved reserves. Cobalt consumption will be equivalent to 47% of proved reserves. This sort of production is not impossible; but it will be highly disruptive, particularly since most cobalt production is a byproduct of copper and nickel mining. According to the IEA…

          “In order to limit temperature increases to below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, the number of electric cars will need to reach 600 million by 2040”.

          600 million EV’s would consume 907% of the 2015 proved lithium reserves and 615% of the 2015 proved cobalt reserves. That’s a lot. That’s disruptive.
          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/10/...ve-innovation/

          Regarding Tesla's "big rig"...
          A 140 kWh battery pack, which weighs as much “as the engine, gearbox, emissions treatment system and fuel tank in a conventional tractor,” yields a 100-mile range… presumably hauling a 75,000 lb load. At $200/kWh, that works out to $28,000 worth of battery. Triple that price tag and weight for a 300-mile range ($28,000), sextuple it for a 600-mile range and you get a semi with a $168,000 worth of batteries that can’t haul much more than its own battery packs… Brilliant! A new diesel tractor trailer runs “anywhere from $110,000 to $125,000 for a new tractor and $30,000 to $50,000 for a new trailer.” A tractor trailer averages around 6 mpg and has a total fuel tank capacity generally between 100 and 300 gallons. This yields an unrefueled range of 600 to 1,800 miles.

          If we use an average fuel capacity or 240 gallons (2 x 120-gallon tanks), a typical tractor trailer can haul a heavy load 1,440 miles. If a 140 kWh battery yields 100 miles of range, it would take 14.4 140 kWh battery packs to yield a 1,440-mile range. Even if the cost of batteries falls to $73/kWh and the energy efficiency doubles by 2030, the 1,440-mile battery pack would cost $146,765 (2,016 kWh @ $73/kWh) and it would weigh 7.2 times as much as “the engine, gearbox, emissions treatment system and fuel tank in a conventional tractor.”
          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/09/...-fantasy-land/

          A tractor trailer, barely capable of hauling its own batteries... priceless.
          Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by The Doctor View Post





            Regarding Tesla's "big rig"...
            [INDENT]A 140 kWh battery pack, which weighs as much “as the engine, gearbox, emissions treatment system and fuel tank in a conventional tractor,” yields a 100-mile range…
            A tractor trailer, barely capable of hauling its own batteries... priceless.
            Nothing beats the energy density inherent in petroleum based(petrol/LPG/diesel) fuels.

            It's just pure physics and chemistry.

            Nothing more, nothing less, no matter what "spin" greentards try to impart on this fact.

            Lithium/Ion has it's places.

            It's great for my 32 volt Worx weed whacker(whipper snipper to us Aussies) that I imported direct from the USA which is lighter and more agile(for less dense growth) than a petrol version and lasts for 30-40 minutes.

            By that time it needs a recharge(4 hours).....and me a cold drink.

            So that 30 or so minutes is enough.

            But it couldn't replace a petrol version for heavy duty work.
            Last edited by At ease; 25 Dec 17, 12:09.
            "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
            "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

            "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
            — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by At ease View Post
              Nothing beats the energy density inherent in petroleum based(petrol/LPG/diesel) fuels.

              It's just pure physics and chemistry.

              Nothing more, nothing less, no matter what "spin" greentards try to impart on this fact.

              Lithium/Ion has it's places.

              It's great for my 32 volt Worx weed whacker(whipper snipper to us Aussies) that I imported direct from the USA which is lighter and more agile(for less dense growth) than a petrol version and lasts for 30-40 minutes.

              By that time it needs a recharge(4 hours).....and me a cold drink.

              So that 30 or so minutes is enough.

              But it couldn't replace a petrol version for heavy duty work.
              Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

              Comment


              • #8
                The total irony of a "green" vehicle that needs massive amounts of electrical energy to recharge every 500 miles seems to be lost on most Americans.

                Tesla is too far ahead of the technology to survive.
                Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by At ease View Post
                  Nothing beats the energy density inherent in petroleum based(petrol/LPG/diesel) fuels.

                  It's just pure physics and chemistry.

                  Nothing more, nothing less, no matter what "spin" greentards try to impart on this fact.
                  Exactly. You simply can't get around the periodic table and the chemistry of batteries. You'll never get more than about 2 point something volts per cell from a battery. That's just the difference in voltage potential any two elements have. That's set by nature, and nobody's going to change that. The chemistry of batteries is fixed and they'll simply never have the energy density necessary to be anything other than massive and expensive for big power needs.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    “In order to limit temperature increases to below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, the number of electric cars will need to reach 600 million by 2040”.

                    People who make statements like this cannot be reasoned with. People who believe statements like this are a burden on modern society.

                    Despite a lack of energy density etc, Tesla has demonstrated that electric vehicles can do the job that fossil fuel vehicles do. I'll give Elon that. The problem is the reason we are given to change over is to save the world. And it's the only reason. And it's bullshit.

                    Like all green nonsense it would be a total waste of resources and achieve the opposite of what was intended.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jazsa View Post
                      “In order to limit temperature increases to below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, the number of electric cars will need to reach 600 million by 2040”.

                      People who make statements like this cannot be reasoned with. People who believe statements like this are a burden on modern society.

                      Despite a lack of energy density etc, Tesla has demonstrated that electric vehicles can do the job that fossil fuel vehicles do. I'll give Elon that. The problem is the reason we are given to change over is to save the world. And it's the only reason. And it's bullshit.

                      Like all green nonsense it would be a total waste of resources and achieve the opposite of what was intended.
                      Teslas are extremely cool from a tech perspective. If I had $150k to drop on a toy, a Model S P100D might make it onto my top 10 list.

                      However, anyone who thinks that EV's will save the planet from Gorebal Warming is even more delusional than the people who think that Gorebal Warming is a serious problem that humans can fix. And anyone who thinks that EV's will replace, or even seriously challenge, ICE vehicles before 2100 is
                      Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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                      • #12
                        Tesla has always seemed like a bubble to me. No doubt electric cars will come sooner or later, but they need to get the tech right before that...right now the "green movement" is a prime example of a road paved with good intentions.
                        Wisdom is personal

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Karri View Post
                          Tesla has always seemed like a bubble to me. No doubt electric cars will come sooner or later, but they need to get the tech right before that...right now the "green movement" is a prime example of a road paved with good intentions.
                          The problem with getting the tech right, is the fact that there's no Moore's Law for batteries. Many, if not most, EV aficionados think that EV tech can progress like PC's, cell phones and other electronics.
                          Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Karri View Post
                            Tesla has always seemed like a bubble to me. No doubt electric cars will come sooner or later, but they need to get the tech right before that...right now the "green movement" is a prime example of a road paved with good intentions.
                            Read up on the Davis three wheel car company. Tesla is just a much bigger, better funded, example of the same thing.

                            Davis opened a factory to build the "Californian" model. Planned production was 50 cars a day ramping up to 1000.

                            Tesla opened a factory to build their vehicles. Planned production was thousands a week ramping up to tens of thousands.

                            Davis franchised hundreds of locations to sell his car even though few were produced when he did. Davis raked in several million.

                            Tesla franchised hundreds of locations to sell their car even though few were produced when they did. Tesla racked in upwards of a billion +

                            Davis hyped his vehicle and got hundreds to invest in the company.

                            Tesla hyped their vehicle and got tens of thousands to invest in the company.

                            Davis never turned a profit.

                            Tesla has never turned a profit.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                              Read up on the Davis three wheel car company. Tesla is just a much bigger, better funded, example of the same thing.

                              Davis opened a factory to build the "Californian" model. Planned production was 50 cars a day ramping up to 1000.

                              Tesla opened a factory to build their vehicles. Planned production was thousands a week ramping up to tens of thousands.

                              Davis franchised hundreds of locations to sell his car even though few were produced when he did. Davis raked in several million.

                              Tesla franchised hundreds of locations to sell their car even though few were produced when they did. Tesla racked in upwards of a billion +

                              Davis hyped his vehicle and got hundreds to invest in the company.

                              Tesla hyped their vehicle and got tens of thousands to invest in the company.

                              Davis never turned a profit.

                              Tesla has never turned a profit.
                              Add Tucker and DeLorean to the mix. No car company can survive relying on only the luxury car market. The money is not there. Look at the best selling vehicles in the country and not a one is a luxury automobile. In fact the best selling, and most profitable, are the Ford F-Series trucks, and primarily because they are mostly utilitarian. Everyone, private, small business, big business, uses them.

                              As for the Semis one big test is coming up. Walmart purchased 16 Tesla Semis, and are sending them to Canada (12) and Alaska (4) to see if they really are as good as the brochures claim.

                              Currently GM is building 3000 Chevy Bolts at a far more affordable price, and that will certainly eat into Tesla's market share. Ford is hard on producing their own EV (who the hell knows what Fiat Chryser is up to these days). Eventually, there will probably will be a small market for EVs, but not enough to support a company all by their lonesome, and certainly not enough or in time enough to save Tesla.

                              Tuebor

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