Many commenters who have issues with the Tesla Semi complain that it is not suitable for Long Haul trucking.
How big a market is short haul trucking?
What are the problems and issues to address long haul trucking.
The following are currently Tesla Semi problems:
* current 500 mile range is less than the 800+ mile range of long haul trucks.
* there is no sleeper cab version and other cab configuration problems
* Electric vehicle charging infrastructure currently takes 4 hours or more to charge a 900 kWh pack to 70% or more
Range Now and Soon
The 500 mile range is double the range of competing electric semi trucks. The Freightliner eCascadia claims a 230 mile range. There will be a follow up Tesla Semis with better batteries with 800 mile range. Increasing the silicon content can add 20-40% to battery energy density.
Silicon has long been appealing for use as a material in lithium-ion battery anodes, because its energy capacity is up to 10 times that of the commonly used material, graphite—leading to lithium-ion batteries with 20 to 40 percent higher energy density. Many of the proposed silicon anodes that hope to tolerate the flow of lithium will require expensive starting materials and complex synthesis processes that use specialized equipment, making it challenging to produce at commercially relevant scales and costs. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has developed several complementary technologies that include a silicon-carbon composite that is formed into a high-performing anode, a ready-to-scale process for commercial production of the key porous silicon starting material, and an electrolyte that enhances performance of the silicon anodes.
Carbon-coated porous silicon composite anode retains 88 percent capacity after 950 cycles. Low-cost, scalable, and drop-in technology, with much higher energy density but comparable cost to that of graphite. Combination of micron-sized porous silicon and novel electrolyte can lead to a Li-ion battery with 80 percent capacity retention in 2,000 cycles.
Tesla Supercharger stalls have a connector to supply electrical power at maximums of 72 kW, 150 kW or 250 kW. Tesla is installing Megachargers (four 750 kW per hour chargers at Pepsi and megacharges coming to various existing and new Supercharger stations starting in 2023. Most existing superchargers locations are not suited for the physical size of a Semi. A Semi could block access to multiple charging connectors and could use two of the 250 kW chargers at the same time (one on each side).
Cab Design Changes And Versions Are Trivial for Tesla
Changing the cab design and adding a sleeper cab version is trivial. There is no bed technology barrier.
Long Haul Trucking Growing but Short Haul is Growing Faster
Regional and Local trucking is about 66% of the US Market. The Tesla Semi addresses 40% of the market very well with their current versions of the Semi.
Capstone Logistics and Fleet Owner describe the shift away from long-haul trucking.
The continued growth of e-commerce sales is leading to an increase in the use of single-unit trucks, and a decline in the average length of haul, according to new research by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).
Intra-regional and last-mile truck trips are increasing, pushing down overall average trip lengths by 37% since 2000. Today, the average length-of-haul is just 62 percent of what it was in 2005, decreasing from 800 miles to 500 (Fleet Owner). And the rate of decline appears to be accelerating. Since 2012, average miles driven between pickup and delivery have declined by 26 percent in reefers, 10 percent in flatbed trucks, and 9 percent in dry vans.
US Trucking is roughly 34% long haul, 66% Regional and local. Tesla Semi is strongly addressing about 40% of the US market.
US truck drivers allowed to drive up to 12 hours every 24 hours, whereas European truckers can only drive 9 hours.
US drivers have a 14-hour on-duty clock and an 11-hour driving clock, and each driver is required to take a 30-minute break during their shift. Each driver also is limited to 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days, just like solo drivers.
There are husband and wife driving couples described at overdriveonline. They do not use the full driving time so that they can have flexibility and more overlapping couple time. There is maximizing revenue balanced with actually living a long term life.
EU regulation demands that truck drivers must take a 45 min break after at most 412 h of driving and an 11 h rest after at most 9 h of driving.
Short-haul trucking involves transporting shipments within a 150-mile radius. Unlike long-haul or “over the road” (OTR) trucking, which involves driving hundreds of miles, short-haul truckers stay closer to home. Short-haul trucking is often subdivided into regional and local trucking. Local truckers stick to smaller shipments traveling less than 100 miles, and regional truckers take trips usually around 100-250 miles. Owner-operators can spend up to 70% of their pay on expenses like fuel and insurance.
* Trucking represented 80.4% of the U.S.’s freight cost in 2019, totaling a gross freight revenue of $792 billion.
* The market size, measured by revenue, of the Long-Distance Freight Trucking industry is $262.9bn in 2022. The “not long distance” trucking industry is about $530 billion.
* The global long-distance general freight trucking market is expected to grow from $537 billion in 2020 to $602 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.2%. Global long-distance trucking should reach $827 billion in 2025.
* Trucks moved 68% of ground freight between the U.S. and Canada and 83.1% of trade with Mexico, for a total value of goods at $772 billion;
* Employment is up 140,000 from the previous year with 7.95 million people employed in trucking-related jobs. This includes 3.6 million professional drivers;
* 91.3% of fleets operate six or fewer trucks and 97.4% operate 20 or fewer, meaning most carriers are small companies.
* Insurance premiums for trucking companies have seen a huge spike in the last few years, totaling around $12,000 to $14,000 today.
* Of the $700b in trucking related revenue, $350b came from FTL For-hire fleets, $250b from FTL private fleets, $60b from courier & parcel, and $40b from LTL.
* 33.8 million trucks across all classes, 1 through 8 (i.e., light-, medium-, and heavy-trucks)
* Owner-Operators logged nearly 121,500 miles in 2018, of which 26,000 was deadhead.
* The average annual wage for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers is $46,370.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.