Is your yard outfitted with enough motorized trailer dollies to manage the upcoming robo-trucking boom? Tesla is so sure that its autonomous semis CEO Elon Musk is already on the record touting the payback on an all-electric Tesla semi is a mere 1.5 years.
True or Tripe?
The payback period, the time it would take to pay off the difference in initial costs compared to a human-driven diesel, is based on energy and lower maintenance cost, according to DHL Supply Chain President of Transportation, Jim Monkmeyer. Given the engine’s simplicity in both complexity and number of parts, maintenance savings are purported to be enormous on the leaner, greener robo-hauler.
Presuming all goes well with the 10 Tesla units in DHL’s pilot testing program, a much larger order is expected from the shipping giant.
Monkmeyer noted the industry has a few potential problems. The largest? How the shipping grid is provided, supported, and the capacity to create a nationwide network, not just across America, but globally. This is referring to the so-called ‘Megacharger’ network foretold by Tesla, which is expected to mirror the firm’s ‘Supercharger’ network for personal vehicles.
Questioning the Math
Musk’s math assumes the fuel economy and costs will remain static, however predictions of advances in diesel technology purported to boost fuel efficiency could limit the savings advantage touted by Tesla. With recent reports of diesel vehicle producers cheating the system, however, eyebrows are raising. Either way, if Tesla comes out on top with its truck, it’s expected to come down to the quality of the product and its support structure, not diesel efficiency.
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