tesla semi versus diesel truck

In the USA 1.5% of the vehicles are heavy vehicle trucks but emitt 18% of all vehicle emissions, and in a comparison of the Tesla Semi versus diesel truck it appears as well as zero emissions the Tesla semi saves over 84% of fuel costs or over $40,000 per year of average truck distance of 60,000 miles. The Semi has already gone on sale and available in late 2022. With these savings it can be seen why Tesla has now focused on heavy trucks as they ramp up vehicle production.

In a twitter conversation, Al≡x Gay≡r with @alex_gayer lays out why the Tesla Semi versus diesel truck is over 5 times cheaper for the fuel costs. As Alex says, the jaw-dropping economics of electric trucking are shown up but in that discussion the efficiency is probably understated. The retail price of a semi-truck is often discussed when comparing diesel vs. electric. However the potential disparity becomes far less relevant when the economics of operation are concerned. Electric trucks are more generally discussed at EV Trucks

Tesla Fuel Savings of over 84% Per Year

DetailTesla Semi TruckTypical Large Class 6 Truck
Energy Used Per Mile0.5 to 2kWh/mile5.9 mpg
Energy used in 200 mile journey400 kWh34 Gallon
Energy costElectricity=$0.07c kWh*Diesel = $4.99 per gallon inc Taxes
Cost per mile14c per mile85.0 cents per mile
Cost for 200 Mile Journey$28.00$169.76
CO2 Emissions0.3 TCO2 / 10,000 miles15.8 CO2 / 10,000 miles
Other emissionsNilNOX, soot, sulfur dioxide, tetraethyl lead
Cost of Fuel for annual 60,000 miles$9,000$51,000
Indicative Torque 6000 Nm (4425 lb-ft)
Indicative Capital Cost (May 2022)$US180,000 (A$261,526) (500 mile, 800km range)$182,000 for Freightliner Cascadia
Based on average 190 mile journey * Power cost with installed Tesla Megachargers, Megapacks, and on-site solar generation

Other Benefits of Tesla Semi versus Diesel Truck

  • A study Switch My Fleet in NZ on a hill road from Christchurch to Akaroa, with a climb of about 500m showed an electric truck would have similar range due to the regenerative braking down the hill that would extend the range.
  • Improvement of the driver’s quality of life with smooth, clean acceleration, ample torque, and the ability to keep up with much smaller vehicles in traffic.
  • Tesla claim a 2 year payback in energy savings.
tesla semi versus diesel truck
Tesla Semi in prototype phase

Average Distrance of Travel in USA

Source:Federal Highway Administration. Highway Statistics 2018, Table VM-1. This chart shows average annual vehicle miles traveled (per vehicle) by major vehicle categories in the United States. Class 8 trucks, or semi-trailer trucks, typically travel much further than any other vehicle type. Transit buses, paratransit shuttles, and refuse trucks also log high numbers of miles on average. Motorcycle miles continue to drop. See also Average Annual Fuel Use by Vehicle Type and Average Fuel Economy by Major Vehicle Category.