Electric Semi Trucks Currently in the Trucking Industry

Tuesday, Aug 7 2018 admin

tesla semi truckThe battle for the 21st-century version of Henry Ford’s Model T is heading down the lines for production soon. So far the race includes three electric vehicle manufacturers. One is rather obscure while the other two are hitting the news headlines hard with their rivalry for first place in the e-semi market. Maybe you are interested in being one of the first to operate one of these electric trucks. Perhaps you are purely curious about whether these electric trucks are all they claim to be. Either way here’s a breakdown of the specs and price tags that these trucks feature.

Tesla Semi

Tesla is the most popular, partially due to the public interest with CEO Elon Musk, company that is producing all-electric vehicles. This is the only company on the market that is already mass producing all-electric cars as well as semi trucks. Tesla is also only selling one version of their fully electric semi, fittingly called Semi.

Tesla Semi Specs

  • Goes zero to 60 in 20 seconds while pulling a full load of 80,000 pounds
  • Range of 300 or 500 miles
  • Uses less than 2 kilowatt-hours per mile
  • Comes fully loaded with automated truck safety features including automatic lane control and self-driving Enhanced Autopilot
  • Features instant traction control

What does the price tag and cost savings look like for the Tesla Semi? Here are some figures pertaining to the all-electric big rig:

  • Projected fuel savings of at least $200,000
  • The truck pays for itself—Tesla proclaims you will recoup your cost in diesel fuel savings in two years of purchase
  • Price tag of $150,000 to $200,000 for base model versus founders series models
  • Price ranges from $150,000 to $180,000 for the 300 and 500-mile ranges respectively
  • Cost to reserve $20,000 for the base model or the full cost of $200,000 for the founder series model

The Tesla Semi is set to start production in 2019, following production runs as early as March 2018. However, once production commences, it looks like it will be 2020 before the company starts delivering the Semi.

As of July 2018, several companies have announced their reservations for Tesla Semi trucks including Pepsi, Walmart, Anheuser-Busch, City Furniture, FedEx, UPS, JB Hunt, Ryder, DHL, TCI Transportation, Best Transportation, JK Moving, Flexport, Meijer, Sysco, and Mecca and Sons Trucking.

Nikola Motor Company

The Nikola One by Nikola Motor Company is one in a line of electric semi-trucks. This company is putting out the Nikola One, which is a sleeper bed Class 8 tractor for OTR truck drivers and intrastate haulers. The Nikola Two is the other option; it is a day cab.

Nikola One Specs

  • Zero to 60 in 30 seconds with a full load
  • Gets between 13 and 15 miles per gallon
  • Range of 500 to 1,000 miles
  • Max speed up hills is 65 mph at a 6 percent grade, compared to the 20 to 40 mph that diesel trucks reach
  • Has a lighter weight than diesel trucks at only 18,000 to 21,000 pounds, compared to up to 23,000 pounds for diesel semis
  • Features up to 2,-000 ft-lbs of torque and has up to 1,000 horsepower
  • Comes standard with Active Descent Control as a safety feature
  • Uses eco-friendly biodegradable coolant

The price tag for the Nikola One features a $0 reservation fee. However, at this time the company is not releasing a current price for lease or purchase. Both options will be available when the Nikola One goes into production.

According to the Nikola Motor Company, “We plan to begin delivering the first Nikola™ trucks in 2020 based on our current timeline, which includes completing all U.S. Department of Transportation testing and regulatory compliance. This could change, but we will keep everyone updated on any changes to the timeline.”

Companies that have announced orders for the Nikola One are less prominent than those backing the Tesla version. However, Anheuser-Busch announced in May 2018 that they have reserved 800 of the semis. Remember this company also reserved 40 of the Tesla Semis. It will be interesting to see which electric truck maker pulls out on top among carriers nationwide after these companies start producing the trucks.

Also, according to the Nikola Motor Company, the R&D plant for the Nikola electric semi trucks started hiring people in June 2018. That gives you some idea of where the company is at in terms of production and manufacturing, aka it looks like it’s going to be a while.

Thor Trucks ET-One

Another contender in the all-electric truck race is Thor Trucks. Haven’t heard of this company? Laying low, this Los Angeles, California based company is less prominent than Tesla and the Nikola Motor Company. However, that doesn’t mean they should be discounted. In fact, the ET-One offers a good compromise from those trucking companies, fleet owners, and independent contractors interested in diesel-free trucking.

Thor Trucks ET-One Specs

  • Range of up to 300 miles
  • Ideal for regional truck driving jobs and short hauling freight
  • 300 to 700 horsepower
  • Full torque at 0 RPM
  • Battery fully charged in 90 minutes
  • Proclaims to be 60 percent cheaper for truck maintenance and 70 percent cheaper for fuel cost per mile

So exactly how much does this all-electric semi cost? According to Thor Trucks, the cost ranges from $150,000 to $250,000 based on configuration. And like the Nikola One, you will be able to lease or buy this semi. Plus, you will be able to buy this electric Class 8 truck online, unlike the other brands.

Right now the Thor Trucks ET-One is only available as a demo. Companies and truckers interested in testing driving the big rig can do so by contacting Thor Trucks. The company hopes to start taking preorders in 2019, which puts the truck in line with the Nikola One for production. As such, no companies have reported orders or reservations for this truck.

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