You probably remember the buzz around Tesla last autumn, which is when the company announced its prototype electric heavy goods vehicle that would make delivery work more environmentally friendly.
With production beginning in 2019 and many UK haulage companies pre-ordering these vehicles, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of Tesla’s battery-powered trucks. You might be behind the wheel of one of these lorries sooner than you think!
How Well Does It Perform?
When carrying out delivery work, one of the biggest concerns is staying on schedule. With that in mind, Tesla has tried to make its truck as fast and as aerodynamic as possible. It will be fitted with four electric motors, the same ones that are currently used in the Tesla Model 3 car. Reaching 60mph in 20 seconds when carrying a 36-tonne load, the lorry can also maintain a speed of 65mph on a 5% gradient. Tesla claims that it is much faster than equivalent diesel trucks, and that it generates less drag than a Bugatti Veyron. If that doesn’t make you want to try it, I don’t know what will!
How and When Does It Need Recharging?
Delivery workusually requires long journeys, and the last thing you want is to run out of battery when on the job. In the past, haulage companies have avoided electric trucks because of their restricted range and expensive replacement batteries. But Tesla’s truck is predicted to travel anywhere between 300 and 500 miles. The batteries have also been strategically placed under the cab to lower the truck’s centre of gravity and limit the battery weight’s impact on payload.
Solar-powered ‘megachargers’ are also being developed. Though some are sceptical about the project’s achievability, Tesla announced plans to create a global network of these chargers that will revive truck batteries by 80% in just half an hour.
What About Servicing?
Like most other electric vehicles, Tesla’s truck boasts gear-free power transmission. It also features regenerative brakes that will extend their lives. Because this truck doesn’t have a strenuous internal combustion engine, maintenance costs should be relatively low. There is no engine, transmission, after-treatment system or differentials to worry about. With reduced servicing fees, hauliers will be able to carry out delivery work at a lower cost for the company.
What Position is the Driver In?
Based on the prototype, the driver’s seat will be in the middle of the day cab. There will then be a touch screen on either side. As standard practice, the trucks will also be fitted with Tesla Autopilot systems. This will prevent drivers from drifting out of their lane, assist with braking and provide semi-autonomous driving on motorways.
Tesla’s electric heavy goods vehicle is an exciting innovation that will allow hauliers to efficiently carry out delivery workin a fast and aerodynamic vehicle. With a great high speed, minimal drag and fast acceleration time, it also boasts a low-energy consumption and extensive mile range. Environmentally friendly and comfortable to drive, it might just be the vehicle of the future for hauliers across the UK.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching delivery work with available drivers. Over 5,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.