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Tesla due to unveil new electric truck

Oct 12, 2017

In summary:

  • New Tesla Semi electric truck due to be launched mid November
  • Functional prototype has been developed and road tested
  • Range is expected to be between 200 and 300 miles
  • Won’t be fully autonomous from day one but expected to have innovative features
  • Full production expected within 2 years
  • Lightweight model planned next

The future is already upon us for those working in fleet management. The transport sector is starting to face up to the very real possibility of the demise of diesel trucks, which have been increasingly criticised for their polluting emissions. They are exploring two new innovations which promise to bring about a seismic shift in the way the transport and logistics sector operates: Driverless technology and electric trucks.

Next month Tesla are due to unveil their new electric haulage truck, called the Tesla Semi. It will be a functional prototype and Tesla have sought input from key customers to ensure it meets all their requirements. It’s expected to be in full production within the next 18 to 24 months.

It will have a range of between 200 and 300 miles, so it will be more suited to local and regional journeys rather than national and European haulage. To start with it will only have a day cab, although plans to develop a version suitable for overnight trips haven’t been ruled out longer term.

However, it has been designed to pull heavy-weight loads and Tesla are confident that its credentials will look impressive even when compared to its diesel cousins.

Morgan Stanley predict that the Tesla Semi could be as much as 70% cheaper to run than its diesel equivalents. They also believe that Tesla will opt for a battery leasing system, effectively selling their trucks without batteries. Instead, drivers will be able to swap their batteries at service stations to avoid lengthy stopovers while batteries are charged and get them back on the road faster.

The new Tesla Semi will not be autonomous to start with, although it is expected to have a number of innovative safety features, while also being “fun to drive”.

A lightweight version of the Tesla Semi is also expected to be launched in the not so distant future.

Anthony Jones are talking to our insurer partners at the moment about the implications on fleet insurance of new electric and autonomous technology. However, at least as far as autonomous driving goes, analysis from PwC suggests innovations reducing reliance on human drivers should be welcomed. Globally, 93% of road traffic accidents are caused by human error and they predict that, as a result of an increasing number of driverless or semi-autonomous vehicles on the roads, we should see a 31% reduction in losses by 2025.

We will keep you updated on our conversations with insurers as they progress.

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