Electric Trucks!

Discussion in 'Other EVs' started by Rob Lay, Oct 12, 2017.

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  1. Rob Lay

    Rob Lay Administrator Staff Member

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  3. Marcel_g

    Marcel_g Member

    The push to develop e-trucking is a great thing I'm glad to see it's starting to happen. There's so much potential for big emissions reductions in this area. Add to that the probably very large health care savings by reducing the particulates and other air pollution people will be exposed to.

    Another important bonus to e-trucking is the how much it'll reduce the power (and $) of big oil. It won't take much of a drop in oil demand to make financial markets move away from oil companies, driving up their cost of capital, while at the same time the price of oil won't go up as much. This will be happening at the same time as they'll start to run out of easy oil and will need massive capital investments to get at the harder oil like deep water reserves. So supply will get constrained at the same time as demand starts to drop, so oil prices might go up but oil co. profitability won't. Any rise in oil prices will drive even more people towards EVs.

    Early EV adopters (with help from government regulations and incentives) -> proves the technology, drives down battery prices -> mass market evs and e-trucking become viable -> explosion in battery production, more drops in EV prices, reduction in oil demand, grid storage becomes viable, renewables take over grids. And all that will go a long way towards decarbonizing our economies. Yay.
    Domenick likes this.
  4. Daimler Unveils New Vision One Electric Semi Truck

    "The E-FUSO Vision One can accommodate battery packs of up to 300 kWh, good for up to 350 km (218 miles) of range"

    This sounds like a decent rig for a lot of applications. I know everyone wants to see a 1,000-mile semi tractor, but there are tons of these types of trucks around, and since they operate mostly in cities, all that diesel soot affects people directly.

  5. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Certainly it should be much easier to make a practical, cost-effective BEV truck for local deliveries than one for long-distance, over-the-road freight hauling.

    But speaking as a resident of Kansas City, and seeing our Smith Electric Trucks company fail to sell enough BEV delivery trucks to keep them in production, I'm rather skeptical that at present, anybody can accomplish what Smith failed to do.

    Of course, as battery prices continue to fall, the cost/benefit analysis will keep shifting in favor of such trucks. But I have yet to see any evidence that the tipping point has been reached. Are Wal*Mart, UPS, and/or FedEx moving to replace their local delivery trucks with BEV trucks? How about the U.S. Postal Service?

    No, all of them have only a small number of test vehicles; nobody is moving to replace their ICE powered local delivery trucks en masse.

    If and when that happens, I'm sure we'll read about it in multiple InsideEVs news articles!
  6. Not sure what the exact barriers are for implementation of electrics into fleets, but I know there are a number of hurdles that are slightly different for each company.

    Charging is one, though. It's expensive to set up the the kind of high-voltage charging needed for a number of trucks to charge at the same time.
    It's been said that car companies need to be involved with charging network development like Tesla is. The same thing is doubly important for fleets. If you're trying to sell trucks to fleets, you have to have a charging solution ready to go for your customers as well.
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  8. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    But the only people saying that are very firmly ignoring the lesson of history. Ford didn't need to build a nationwide network of gas stations to sell the Model T, and I don't see auto makers other than Tesla thinking they need to, either. Telsa's cost/benefit for building the Supercharger network quite clearly favors doing so, but only because 100% of the cars Tesla sells are BEVs. For legacy auto makers, only a small percentage of their sales are BEVs, so the cost/benefit analysis simply doesn't favor it.

    Yes, the situation with trucking fleets is very different. Every fleet operator will have to ensure that any BEV trucks they buy have a place to recharge at night. It's absolutely mandatory; otherwise the trucks become stranded and useless until they're towed back to a place they can recharge.

    I'm guessing that Tesla will offer to install a BEV semi charger any place a fleet operator wants one installed. Of course, the fleet operator will have to pay for it, and it will be the property of the fleet operator. I don't see Tesla installing BEV semi chargers for public use, nor paying for the electricity as it does with Superchargers. The economic model would be pretty close to Tesla destination chargers, and not Tesla Superchargers.
  9. F U Bigoil

    F U Bigoil New Member

    Tesla should start building a BEV mini commercial work van so it's other company - Solarcity - can practice what it preaches. Currently Solarcity employees drive around in ICE vehicles.
    Domenick likes this.
  10. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Thor's semi truck is just a conversion vehicle. I don't regard this as a serious effort, and there is no reason to believe any specs or performance data from the vehicle would have any relevance to a production truck.

    I don't want to belittle the company. Every company starts small; that's how things work in the real world. I wish them success, but let's be realistic and recognize that about 90% of startups fail. Will Thor be one of the 10%? Well, let's hope so for their sake.

    But I'm far more interested in a startup EV maker like Rivian (a wannabe EV automobile maker, not a truck maker), one which quietly works to create a prototype, and then buys an abandoned auto assembly plant, rather than one which tries to dazzle everyone with a slick video like this one from Thor; a video which obviously uses a lot of CGI (computer renders), rather than showing a real vehicle. Computer renders of trucks don't haul freight; only real trucks do. And trucking fleet buyers are not going to be dazzled by slick videos nor boastful claims from startups. They are only interested in real data on the costs vs. benefits of running such trucks.

    If it's hard to enter the competitive market for EV passenger cars, I think it's even harder to enter the EV heavy freight truck market. Smith Electric Vehicles tried and failed (not with BEV semi tractors, but with slightly smaller BEV freight trucks); will Thor be any more successful? Again, let's hope so, but I think the odds are long against them.
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  12. The video here was shot and edited by Bloomberg, and I'm pretty sure there's no CGI. Some drone work, and good lighting, but no CGI.

    *Edit to add, the reporter here, btw, is Ashlee Vance, who wrote "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future."
  13. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I'm not suggesting Bloomberg created CGI for Thor; I'm suggesting Thor hired a computer animation company to produce or "sweeten" its video. Bloomberg certainly may have used some footage provided by Thor in its video coverage; it's pretty typical for TV news coverage to use promotional footage provided by a company it's reporting on. I'm particularly referring to the short "beauty shots" of the truck traveling down the road in the first 30 seconds of the video.

    Admittedly these days it's getting hard to tell, but it certainly looks to me like there was some CGI overlaid atop the actual truck in some shots where the truck is moving. In other shots, where the truck is sitting still, it's pretty clearly the real truck and not CGI. I think at least some of the longer shots of the truck moving down the road are real photography; as you say, Domenick, perhaps Bloomberg shot those using a drone.

    However, I suppose it's possible I am being fooled by the settings of the video camera, possibly settings which makes video look like CGI work when it's not. So I won't claim it's fact that some of those shots are CGI; it's just my opinion, but it's an informed opinion based on decades of being a film buff with a special interest in special effects and computer animation.

    P.S. -- Why is it still "footage", as in "film footage", when it's digital video and there's no actual film involved? ;)
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
  14. Simply because I try to avoid reusing the word "video" more than once in a paragraph, and "footage" is a crutch I'm happy to lean on.
  15. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Actually, Domenick, I was referring to my own use of the term "footage", and the fact that it's still a current term despite referring to an obsolete technology.

    But then, we still refer to "dialing" a phone...
  16. Oops, I assumed I'd used it, as I often do.
  17. Apexerman

    Apexerman Member

    Of course music artists still refer to making a new "record," but hey, we know it means new songs. ;-)

    I work in the world of computer 3D and design. The video segment shows the real thing. There are too many subtle movements and light reflections to generate for 3D animation.
  18. JeffD

    JeffD New Member

    Speaking of Rivian, I surfed over to their website to see if there was any new information. They are planning to release in 2020 a five passenger pickup and a seven passenger SUV. By some of the things mentioned about the SUV, it could give Range Rover some competition.
  19. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Domenick likes this.
  20. This (small trucks, SUV's, up through heavy duty personal trucks) is something I'm very interested in as well.

    Rivian is generating a lot of excitement, but a PHEV like the Workhorse W-15 seems to suit my needs far better. What I look for in a truck is:
    - ability to carry a motorcycle fairly frequently and stuff like a half a yard of gravel infrequently
    - ability to tow a camper trailer in the 2000-3500 pound range, occasionally with the motorcycle in the bed.
    - camping scenario sometimes involves RV parks (which seem like excellent places to recharge a battery) but more often far from electricity.

    The unfortunate reality is that my ICE truck, while not used for commuting, does get used for errands when our Clarity is away from home.

    The W-15 seems like it meets all of my needs, but most of what I read about Workhorse gives me the impression that they lack a clear single direction... not every company can attempt multiple "Tesla level ambitious" projects without going bankrupt.

    I was really excited about VIA 6 years ago, but that pretty much evaporated... A PHEV truck that can also power electric tools at a work site seems like such an obvious and symbiotic solution that it really surprises me that this niche has not yet been filled. Owning the Clarity PHEV has just reinforced my opinion that a PHEV pickup is inevitable.
  21. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I've read a comment or two that production of the Workhorse W-15 has been delayed, but as far as any news article I can find, it's still headed for production, and fairly soon. I hope so!

    From Trucks.com: "Workhorse Teases Production W-15 Electric Pickup Truck"

    Remarksman likes this.

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