By Hugh Finlay
The electric car makers, Tesla is planning to bring out an electric truck. It is expected that it will be able to travel 250 miles, on a single charge of electricity. This is what scientists say is possible with the present technology. However, Tesla has not publically said, how far the truck will be able to travel, or how much it could carry, or how much the truck would cost.
The short distance truck is known as a ‘day cab’, and is used for local delivery services, such as from warehouses to stores, or from ports to nearby cities. Scott Perry, technology official for a large hauling company, commented on the expected new Tesla truck “I’m not going to count them (Tesla) out for having a strategy for longer distances or ranges, but right out of the gate I think that’s where (day cab truck) they’ll start.” But Tesla is also aiming to build a longer range truck. The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk said at the company’s annual meeting, “A lot of people don’t think you can do a heavy-duty, long range truck that’s electric, but we are confident that this can be done.”
If the new electric truck from Tesla has a range of 250 miles, this will make it eligible for 30% of the US trucking market.
The attraction of electric vehicles is that electric fuel is cheaper than diesel, and electric motors need less maintenance than combustion engines. The other big attraction is that electric vehicles do not pollute the environment like diesel vehicles do. With growing awareness of environmental problems, it looks like electric vehicles will be favored over combustion engine vehicles.
Tesla has competition. Other companies such as Daimler AG and United Parcel Service Inc are also developing electric trucks. Their aim is to develop a short range truck, as a truck with a longer distance range than this would require a battery too big to be economical, according to present technology. Daimler is the largest producer of trucks in the world, and will soon start production of an electric truck with a range of 100 miles. The truck will be able to carry 9,400 pounds, almost as much as a conventional diesel truck.
Chanje is among a number of other smaller companies that are planning to produce electric trucks. Their aim is also to build a delivery truck with a 100 mile range.
Electric trucks will probably be cheaper to maintain than diesel trucks. Also, the cost of electricity is much more predictable than the cost of diesel. The trend is for batteries to become cheaper, as battery technology improves. And the trend is for environmental regulation to increase, as the environment becomes more of a burning issue with people. As the chief technology officer for a large hauling company put it “This tech is being seen as a major potential differentiator. Everyone wants to understand how real it is.”