The news is out, and Tesla’s line of electric semis are about to hit the road. However, what signaled growth in the private car market is being approached with much more caution by truckers.
Tesla’s Electric Semis
Tesla’s electric semis are are supposed to as efficient, if note more so, than traditional Class 8 vehicles. The electric semis are boasting a range of about 500 miles when fully loaded and traveling at highway speeds. Of course, being able to reduce a carbon footprint, as well as the reliance on petroleum, which is only slated to rise in price, has spurred some major corporations to purchase electric semis. Wal-Mart and J.B. Hunt, for example, have already purchased fleets from Tesla, and plan to have their new trucks on the road by 2019.
What About Truckers?
Truckers are still a bit anxious about making the switch to electric semis. Questions still loom about how the new trucks will actually performs on the road. No one has seen what happens to an electric truck outside of controlled conditions. No one understands the maintenance and repair processes, which have become standard and familiar with regular diesel tricks. What’s more, no one has laid out plans for charging stations and repair shops, nor have they mentioned where they will be located. Durability is also a big question. Tesla trucks boast a battery life of around seven years. Most regular trucks have a longer lifespan before they need to be traded in, and if the functionality of an electric semi is centered around the battery, then making a switch now may not be a cost effective decision.
With heavy hitters like Wal-Mart making the first move to adopt electric semis, this could signal a big change for large carriers. As more companies convert to electric trucks, the cost of the vehicles will drop. Additionally, the technology will not stagnate. Tesla’s competitors will will want to carve out their own share of the market, and that means lowering the cost while improving the lifespan of the battery.
What Happens Now?
Electric vehicle are nothing new, and for the trucking industry, they were an inevitability. However, to get smaller companies and owners operators on board, two things need to happen. First, everyone needs to see how Tesla’s trucks perform for multiple trips, for at least a year, to see if and how maintenance needs to be performed. Second, manufacturers need to figure out a way to lower the cost while improving the lifespan of electric semis.