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Tesla Semi Truck, Disruption for Truck Makers and Railroad Industry

by Eva Fox February 01, 2020

Tesla Semi Truck, Disruption for Truck Makers and Railroad Industry

Electric trucks are a great alternative to diesel powered trucks and even trains. In addition to the direct advantage in the form of vehicles that don't pollute the environment, such trucks have a large advantage in cost of ownership.

Rod Case, a partner at Oliver Wyman, who spoke at the RailTrends 2019 conference, concluded that the most immediate threat to railways is electric-powered trucks, which will arrive much earlier and will be significantly cheaper to operate than diesel trucks.

“We would like to reinforce the issue is not the driverless truck,” says Case. “The issue is competing on the energy inputs and the rate this gets adopted.”

When Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduced Semi in 2017, a battery-powered truck was supposed to be 20% less expensive to operate than diesel trucks and more profitable to use than trains.

At the moment, battery technology technology has improved, and energy costs have declined as natural gas and renewable energy sources supplanted coal as a source of generation, says Case.

The facts speak for themselves, as a result of these changes, the cost of energy per mile for an electric battery truck can be 80% lower than for diesel trucks.



Large companies are striving to reduce their carbon footprint, so they pay attention to how they deliver their goods. This forces them to reconsider their views on the use of old diesel trucks and to seriously consider the possibility of buying electric trucks as soon as possible. Also, this step will help them save a significant amount of money on refueling and car maintenance.

For example, the company JK Moving, is expanding and acquiring property in Gainesville. According to JK Moving CEO Chuck Kuhn, in order to reduce the carbon footprint, the company ordered Tesla trucks.

Kuhn said he expects to receive his first delivery of Tesla short-haul moving trucks by the second quarter of 2020. First they plan to get 6 of these trucks. The company also ordered 10 long-haul moving trucks. According to Kuhn, Semi has an autopilot element with “tremendous technology” that will save companies fuel bills.

In addition to JK Moving, Semi were ordered by other large companies, such as: Anheuser-Bush, Bee'ah, DHL Supply Chain, FedEx, Loblaw Companies, PepsiCo, Sysco, United Parcel Service, Walmart etc.

The fate of diesel trucks is clear. Yes, they are cheaper to buy, but this is not something that should be given priority. With high mileage, economy is important, and in this diesel competitors simply will not be able to compete with electric trucks.

In matters of freight transportation, trains also lose to electric trucks and this is what experts say in this matter. “That is an immediate issue that we have to pay attention to,” Case says. “And it’s getting more real.”

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