The recent announcement from Mercedes-Benz has shown they have no counter move against Tesla's Semi truck. Karin Rådström, the head of the truck manufacturer, said, "But we are still a long way from reaching the cost level of a diesel truck with an electric truck." She further lamented the challenges of the logistics industry in Europe and the enormous cost pressure. "Our customers buy trucks because they want to make money with them," she emphasized.
The key takeaway from her statement? Mercedes believes electric trucks aren't yet financially viable. She went on to suggest possible solutions like government subsidies for e-trucks and a specialized charging infrastructure to bridge the gap.
However, while Mercedes is struggling to find its footing in the electric trucking space, Tesla is already on the move. Tesla's Semi trucks recently finished the "Run on Less" event, impressing many with their capabilities. To be more specific, the Tesla Semis showcased the potential of megawatt charging, enabling slip-seat, continuous transportation capacities with an electric vehicle. The event demonstrated that the Tesla Semi truck is, even today, a cost-efficient choice, debunking Mercedes’ claims.
The Tesla Semi truck clocked over 1000 miles in a single day during the event. Over 18 days, it covered an impressive 19,122 miles. To put this into context, the truck was operating at over 70,000 pounds for approximately 65% of miles driven in the first two weeks.
A key point to note is the cost. The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District paid for 18 of the 21 Tesla Semi units used by PepsiCo, amounting to roughly $250,000 each. However, with incentives, this price could drop to a mere $75,000 per truck. This makes the Tesla Semi truck a steal when considering its lifetime savings in fuel and maintenance.
To delve deeper into the numbers, class 8 trucks in the US typically travel an average of 62,000 miles a year. With diesel prices averaging $5 per gallon and a fuel efficiency of 6.5 miles per gallon, these trucks spend approximately $48,000 annually on fuel. On the other hand, the Tesla Semi, with an estimated 850 KWH battery, would cost roughly $20,000 to cover the same distance. This equates to a saving of $18,000 on fuel alone. When factoring in the reduced maintenance costs of electric trucks, the yearly savings could go up to $33,000. Over 16 years, which is a conservative lifespan estimate for the Tesla Semi, savings could amount to a whopping $528,000.
This brings us to a crucial question: Why is Mercedes, a titan in the automobile industry, lagging? One possible explanation is the company's focus on hydrogen-powered trucks. Although Mercedes abandoned hydrogen cars due to high costs, it still believes in hydrogen trucks. This contrasts sharply with companies like Scania, which have already discarded the idea of hydrogen trucks in favor of electric ones.
So if Mercedes should ever become competitive in the zero emission trucking industry of the future. They have to abandon the too expensive and inefficient technologies of Hydrogen for their trucks as well, as they did for their cars. And put all their effort into trying to build an electric truck that can get close to Tesla’s specs. Or they will lose to Tesla in this game!
Tesla’s edge is not just in the product but also in the infrastructure. They have a ready-to-deploy charging infrastructure and are planning to set up mega chargers for their customers based on their regular routes. This full-package approach, which includes safety assist features, charging speed, and infrastructure, makes Tesla a formidable player in the trucking space.
In conclusion, the trucking industry is evolving rapidly. While companies like Mercedes are grappling with the transition, Tesla is already setting the pace. The Tesla Semi truck is poised to revolutionize the industry, and it's only a matter of time before it becomes the preferred choice for trucking companies across the US.
Thanks for reading. Lars Strandridder, BestInTESLA
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