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The Tesla Truck: A Solution to Transportation

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Bode Mergler

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The Tesla Truck: A Solution to Transportation

The trucking industry is one the United States’ largest transportation industry. Trucks move roughly 70 percent of the nation’s freight by weight. In 2015, trucks have moved 10.5 billion tons of freight representing 70.1 percent of total domestic tonnage shipped. In terms of revenue, $726.4 billion in gross freight revenues from trucking, represented 81.5 percent of the nation’s freight bill in 2015. Although this seems like a very positive ordeal, there is also a downside to the current trucks on the road. The trucking industry today contributes for around 23 percent of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions, or around 1.475 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. Due to the ongoing struggle of climate change, a solution to this problem needs to be found soon otherwise, we will damage the Earth’s climate even further. Let Tesla introduce you to their newest invention, the Tesla Truck.

    The Tesla Truck, otherwise known as the Tesla Semi, is Elon Musk’s newest battery powered invention. Designed to replace the current trucks on the road, the Semi looks to do a good job based on the current specifications. One of the issues of trying to make an electric truck, or otherwise trying to make a truck that doesn’t run on fossil fuels is the performance of the truck. This means sacrificing performance such as how far the vehicle can travel, and how much load is taken by the truck’s battery. As said before, his revealing of the 2 trucks crushed people’s expectations with companies already trying to pre-order the truck.

    Now, how does the truck do better than a regular, diesel fueled truck? Starting off, take a look at the vehicle’s drag coefficient. Drag coefficient is the amount of drag a vehicle takes on when driving, whether being from wind, the friction of wheels and the road or even having the windows down. Surprisingly, the Semi has a drag coefficient of 0.36, which is unprecedented for a truck, considering many modern cars cannot beat that. This is due to the truck’s “bullet shaped” body, rather than the typical semi-truck body. Another issue of truckers is going uphill. Even the most powerful of trucks, going up a hill of a 5 percent grade with the max gross vehicle weight, or GVW, can only go around 45 MPH. Due to the Tesla Semi having 4 independent motors on the rear axles, the vehicle can achieve a whopping 65 MPH up 5 percent grade under max weight. That is almost 50 percent faster than a normal truck!

    One of the most important things for truck drivers is the range of a truck. A typical semi under maximum GVW of 40 tons, or 80 thousand pounds, fully fueled is around 900 miles going at typical highway speed limits. The bigger model of the semi, otherwise known as the 500-mile model, has a range of 500 miles under max weight going at normal highway speed limits. At first, it may not seem so great, but it is quickly recovered by Tesla’s new “Supercharger V3”. These charging stations would charge 1.6 Megawatts of energy, allowing the semi to have a 400-mile range after charging for 30 minutes. Considering that truckers are required to take a 30-minute break, this is great as you could take your 30-minute break, and have almost a fully charged truck when you are done. Coupled with this are some cool safety features. The truck comes with automatic lane keeping, allowing you to fix something while driving. It also comes with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.



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