A great news for global trucking industries. The innovation of electric vehicle is set to transform trucking business after cars and public buses. Tesla, a leader in electric vehicle segment recently showcased its Semi truck. The zero-emission noiseless technology with an easily available electricity source could cut down the prices of movements of goods to half by next generations. The technology is tested but key challenges like availability of excess electricity are common for many emerging nations. To fill the gap, India has planned to auction renewable parks consisting of both solar and wind energy which would produce 175 Gigawatts of clean energy by 2022. With the launch of Tesla’s Semi, established commercial truck manufacturers namely Tata, Mahindra, Eicher, MAN etc. also expected to showcase their linings.
The Tesla Semi will deliver a far better experience for truck drivers while increasing safety and significantly reducing the cost of cargo transport. Without a trailer, the Tesla Semi achieves 0-100 kph in six seconds, compared to 15 seconds in a comparable diesel truck. It does 0-100 kph in 21 seconds with a full 80,000-pound load, a task that takes a diesel truck about a minute. On mountain roads, the Semi could easily climb steep 5% grade at the speed of 50kph with a full load. Tesla’s Semi is impressively better in every performance index than a conventional diesel truck.
Unlike other trucks, the Semi’s cabin is designed specifically around the driver, featuring unobstructed stairs for easier entry and exit, full standing room inside, and a centered driver position for optimal visibility. Two touchscreen displays positioned symmetrically on both sides of the driver provide easy access to navigation, blind spot monitoring, and electronic data logging. Built-in connectivity integrates directly with a fleet’s management system to support routing and scheduling, and remote monitoring. The manager of the cargo services could remotely detect the location of the truck and be well informed about the arrival of the consignments.
In USA, Tesla has more than 1,00,000 supercharging stations across the highway system. In India, at the current situation, there are no charging stations on National Highways. This could change will Oil Companies and Electric Distribution companies join hands to provide superfast charging stations for commercial e-trucks, electric cars and electric state transport buses in future. According to the company, Tesla’s Semi can travel up to 650km in a 40 minute charging time. To make it efficient, all stakeholders on India’s National Highway (Oil Company, Electric Distribution companies, Dhabas, Hotel chains, parking providers) should join hands for this win-win opportunity.
The Tesla Semi’s all-electric architecture is designed to have a higher safety standard than any other heavy-duty truck on the market, with a reinforced battery that shields the Semi from impact and gives it an exceptionally low center of gravity. Its windshield is made of impact resistant glass. Jackknifing is prevented due to the Semi’s onboard sensors that detect instability and react with positive or negative torque to each wheel while independently actuating all brakes. The surround cameras aid object detection and minimize blind spots, automatically alerting the driver to safety hazards and obstacles. With Enhanced Autopilot, the Tesla Semi features Automatic Emergency Braking, Automatic Lane Keeping, Lane Departure Warning, and event recording. Tesla Semi can also travel in a convoy, where one or several Semi trucks will be able to autonomously follow a lead Semi.
World’s leading economies and manufacturers to the world like China and India would have to convert its entire diesel based highway economy to a greener and cheaper fuel, the electricity. Key challenges also lie ahead for Tesla as market experts raise doubts on company’s production capabilities. Tesla has been successful in disrupting the automotive segment. It’s next frontier, the collaboration is full of challenges. In low-growth global economy, many nations will shy away to adapt this costly change.
– Chaitanya Kulkarni