tesla semi reduces costs

Electric trucks have been released by every truck manufacturer, but reviewing the Tesla Semi compelling economics indicates update of electric trucks will be faster than most appreciate.

The Tesla Semi – a series 8 large truck in the USA, was announced in 2017, but only prototypes have been made. and seen in use. A large number of companies have placed orders with production due to start in 2023.

Tesla announced it would enter the market as just 1.5% of vehicles are large Class 8 size, but contribute to 18% of vehicle emissions. EV trucks can be 0.9 t heavier.

Elon Musk has stated that the payback period for an increased purchase price will be recouped in less than 2 years.

Tesla Semi Compelling Economics

  • See also Twitter for a discussion on these compelling economics. https://twitter.com/alex_gayer/status/1557828064347693057
AssumptionTesla Semi TruckTypical Class 8 Truck
Energy Used Per Mile0.5 to 2kWh/mile5.9mpg
Energy for 200 mile journey200 kWh34 gal
Energy costElectricity=$0.07c kW*Diesel = $4.99 / gal
Cost per mile14c per mile85c per mile
Cost 200 Mile Journey$28.00$169.76
Emissions tonnes CO2/10,000m0.315.8 
Other emissionsNilNOX, soot, SO2, tetraethyl lead
Annual Fuel (60,000 miles)$9,000$51,000
Purchase Cost (May 2022)$US180,000 (A$261,526) (500 mile, 800km range)$182,000 Freightliner Cascadia

Requirement for Large Fast Chargers

For this to work then vehicles will need rapid charging. Tesla new superchargers have been installed in various places in the USA, and are termed “Superchargers” (Electrek 2021). If using grid elelectric then the cost would be not 7c but more likely 24 cents per kWh. Batteries will needed to enable charging within 20 to 30 minutes.

Cost Imperative for large Solar and Battery Installations

The cost of energy used in this comparison is using utility-grade solar and battery storage to provide enough energy to charge quickly. The cost is taken from Lazards LCOE

Other Considerations

  1. Quiet
  2. Reduced maintenance
  3. Full regenerative braking saving on brakes
  4. More torque – enabling constant speed even up 5% grades.
  5. Powered by four electric motors which drive the rear wheels, Tesla claims the Semi can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in five seconds when it is unladen.
  6. With a full payload of 36,287kg, the Tesla Semi can allegedly achieve a zero to 100km/h time of 20 seconds
  7. Reaching 60mph (97km/h) up a 5% grade.

Other Commentary

A Global Traffic Article says

  • Yearly spending on those expenses runs $35,676 for diesel truck.
  • The electric truck would cost less than half, $14,306.
  • At that rate, electric trucks would recoup their extra costs over diesels and begin saving money in about 2 years
  • The Semi would have operational costs of $1.26 per mile vs. $1.51 for a typical diesel. or a 16.6 % savings.
  • A big part of savings is fuel savings – an extra dollar per five miles or, as Tesla put it, $200,000 over a million miles.

Will it Be Available in Australia?

Probably not as it is over the normal legal limit. However many of the existing manufacturers already have EV trucks.

Update Jan 2023

The Semi was officially launched with the first deliveries to Pepsico in Dec 2022. Various commentators have dug deep into the technical specs and the batteries. At the Q4 investor presentation, the tesla semi will get its own manufacturing plant at Giga Nevada.

The battery image was revealed in Jan 2023

Details from Inside EV at https://insideevs.com/news/633133/photo-tesla-semi-battery-system/

Impact on Tesla Financials

A preliminary analysis says it is a compelling case for Tesla

Tesla Semi Compelling economics