Unless you’ve been sleeping in your cab for the last few weeks, (hey, maybe it was a long drive) you’ve probably heard that Tesla revealed its Semi truck, which will be the first major player in the automated and electric trucking industry. While reactions ranged from skepticism to sheer panic, there are still a lot of questions to be answered. Tesla CEO Elon Musk promises that his new fleet of vehicles will eventually become the sole option when it comes to trucking. However, many trucking professionals are apprehensive about the new technology. Musk has now opened up the floodgates to what could be the next “space race” with his slick rollout and the unveiling of the Tesla Semi. Yet, there are more than a few Tesla Semi questions that need to be answered before we can put faith into this new product.
Tesla Semi Questions We Need the Answers to
What About the Long Hauls?
One of the biggest misconceptions that many people have about the Tesla Semi is that we’ll be seeing them crisscross the country in no time. This is not an over-the-road truck. This truck suits line-haul, or routes that run between a company’s terminals. For example, a route from one regional Wal-Mart distribution center to another. When Musk made the case for a 20-percent savings over a diesel truck, he based the numbers on a 100-mile trip – fifty miles out, fifty miles back. The Semi would be perfect for port work, which involves lots of waiting, idling, stop-and-go traffic, and local out-and-back trips. This first version of the Semi will not replace the thousands of trucks on huge regional or coast-to-coast runs, clocking 2,000 to 5,000 miles per week. Whether or not they unveil a trucking semi for longer trips adds to the other Tesla Semi questions that Tesla has to answer.
Why the Central Steering Wheel?
The location of the steering wheel is another major question that needs to be answered. “Placing the driver in the center of a bullet-shaped nose makes aerodynamic sense. It gives the driver better visibility and control,” said Musk. However, the worst blind spot in a tractor is next to the doors. In the Tesla Semi, drivers will have an even harder time trying to cover blind spots. In addition, despite promising cameras and sensors around the rig that will help drivers monitor his or her surroundings, many truckers feel like the centralized steering wheel is merely a nuisance. This location will also be a difficulty when it comes to paying for tolls and handing paperwork back and forth through the cab.
What’s the Actual Price?
One of the most obvious Tesla Semi questions that we need answered deals with the main price point. The sleek design and all the fancy technology are appealing to the mainstream audience. However, it’s all for nothing if they can’t get truckers interested in making a purchase. Trucking giant J.B. Hunt and retailer Walmart both announced Friday that they had placed orders for the Tesla Semi. Yet, these are companies that can afford to perhaps swap a few million dollars for the public relations boost that comes with being on the cutting edge of green-vehicle tech. What about the average trucker who is still trying to pay off his current rig? What about the local trucking companies who already have an established fleet? Will the price point be worth the investment when it comes to transitioning into the new Tesla Semi?
We’ll continue to wait until we get some answers to these questions before we can form a full opinion of the Tesla Semi. We do want to hear your opinions! Feel free to find us on Facebook or Twitter and tell us what you think of these new Tesla Semi trucks!