Tesla Electric Truck

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Tesla Electric Truck
Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, November 26, 2017 3:11 PM

I don't understand why someone as intelligent as Elon Musk would state publicly that an Electric Truck is going to eat the rails freight business for lunch.     Such a remarkably stupid claim.      An electric truck is still going to expend more energy moving freight vs. rail just by the use of rubber tires.     Not to mention that tonnage is still restricted by state laws along with current length of the truck.

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, November 26, 2017 3:28 PM

Musk has always been about the BIG STATEMENT, no matter if it is fact or fantasy.

         

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Sunday, November 26, 2017 4:38 PM

Cost of electricity per HP-Hr at the wheel is a fraction of the same for diesel fuel, so that would be an advantage for the electric truck.  I'll leave it up to someone else to do the research and math to quantify that.  Also, presuming the electric truck would still have the usual driver.  

Power supply would be an issue, though.  If batteries, there's likely to be significant - even prohibitive - economics effects from the resulting tare weight for any long-haul.  Alternatively, if a catenary or other in-motion power replenishment system is utilized, someone is going to have to pay the massive capital costs to install it.  May as well do that for the railroad first.

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Posted by ORNHOO on Sunday, November 26, 2017 8:05 PM

Paul_D_North_Jr

Cost of electricity per HP-Hr at the wheel is a fraction of the same for diesel fuel, so that would be an advantage for the electric truck.  I'll leave it up to someone else to do the research and math to quantify that.  Also, presuming the electric truck would still have the usual driver.  

Power supply would be an issue, though.  If batteries, there's likely to be significant - even prohibitive - economics effects from the resulting tare weight for any long-haul.  Alternatively, if a catenary or other in-motion power replenishment system is utilized, someone is going to have to pay the massive capital costs to install it.  May as well do that for the railroad first.

- PDN. 

 

 

It also occurs to me that Tesla recently merged with SolarCity (solar photovoltaic panels and energy storage) and that the average truck trailer has almost 400 square feet of "acreage" on the roof alone for mounting solar panels.

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Posted by 466lex on Sunday, November 26, 2017 8:37 PM

Read this comment on an EV site right after the Tesla truck announcement:

“Some simple (simplistic? I’m not a mechanical/electrical engineer) math:  The Model S weighs 4,600 lbs., with 1,200 of those being the battery.  Similar power- to-weight ratio for loaded 80,000 semi would require a 21,000 lb. battery pack.  A typical diesel-powered tractor weighs 18,000 lbs, with engine and transmission weighing 5,000 lbs.  Thus, the shell and battery combination for a Tesla tractor would be 34,000 pounds. (Did Tesla give any specs?).

“The Tesla weight penalty would be 13,000 pounds, versus diesel.  Competitively intolerable, when the typical truckload is 40,000 lbs.”

Sounds order-of-magnitude correct to me.  

 

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Posted by erikem on Monday, November 27, 2017 1:06 AM

Paul_D_North_Jr

Cost of electricity per HP-Hr at the wheel is a fraction of the same for diesel fuel, so that would be an advantage for the electric truck.

Spot price for #2 fuel oil is currently just under $2/gal - figure something on the order of 15 kwhr/gal equivalent mechanical energy. This works out to an equivalent of $0.13/kwhr. Wholesale prices were quoted instead of pump prices as there will almost certainly be a road use fee of some sort to make up for the lost fuel tax.

Estimates for electricity cost from PV and stored in batteries is around $0.40/kwhr, spot prices for wholesale electricity can run from a few cents per kwhr to over a dollar - charging at 7PM is likely to be extremely expensive. Musk is claiming $0.07/kwhr, but... Charging stations will almost certainly need large stationary batteries to meet demand.

Estimate for battery weight is 12,000 lb based on assumption of 1 MWhr for a 500 mile range. This means ther tractor will weigh more than a diesel rig.

Costs lower than rail assume truck convoying, which I don't see happening in urban areas without a dedicated roadway - which will be expensive.

Big market I see for electric semi's would be from Long Beach/San Pedro to the Inland Empire logistics warehouses. One issue is that there won't be much time to recharge.

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Posted by WM7471 on Monday, November 27, 2017 7:02 AM

If you listened to the entire presentation, the requirement to be more efficient than rail was to have a truck with a driver that would be followed by two or three drone trucks.   Never mentioned what the addition of million or so extra trucks daily would do to the already clogged Interstate Highways.  Should make I-95, and the other interstates just a stroll in the park at rush hour, and bankrupt most state highway funds.

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Posted by Ulrich on Monday, November 27, 2017 10:31 AM

He stated that the cost of running three or more "platooned" electric trucks would approach the cost of shipping rail. Without knowing the cost of the electric trucks.. the cost of building the infratructure nationwide and internationally to support such trucks as well as other costs, I wouldn't want to speculate as to how accurate or how far off the mark such a statement is. But, from a competitive standpoint railroads would do well to assume the worst i.e. that such trucks will be much more competitive than current diesel trucks, especially on short to medium hauls. 

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, November 27, 2017 10:49 AM

WM7471
Never mentioned what the addition of million or so extra trucks daily would do to the already clogged Interstate Highways.

A very significant amount of the 'clogging' is explicitly due to the longer following distance and 'reserve' for braking required by OTR drivers in general traffic.  Minimizing the number of drivers who have to react and respond, especially in stop-and-go or broken traffic, is a very meaningful first step to fixing, not enhancing, traffic problems.  Under conditions where substantial traffic in some lanes is at least semi-autonomous, the contribution of intelligent and predictive truck operation will be even more substantial.

Of course the thing we all realize is that the economics of trucks with hybrid transmissions and sustainer engines is far better than idiot proposals to make them 'all-electric'.  In case anyone has not noticed, the case for hybrid locomotives is still waiting better and lighter battery chemistry, even with much of the weight of the battery array constituting ballast rather than an explicit operational 'drawback'. 

I confess that sometimes I have funny ideas about what constitutes 'trolling' a community.  Musk advocating straight electric transmission as a 'cure' for situations largely involving intelligent or autonomous infrastructure ... is flirting with some of the lines in the sand involved.

A much better dismal scenario is the counterpart of truck stops for all-electric Class 8 vehicles, but we don't need to go there yet; just look at the fun involved even at this early date with 'Supercharger' and other EV recharge points on the road as the 'take rate' for Tesla and other plug-in cars and light vehicles increases...

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Monday, November 27, 2017 12:02 PM

 Electric Battery Transit Buses have not worked out because of the weight and the costs of maintance. However Trolley wire buses have worked for the last 100 years so installing miles of Catanary on our freeway system might work. That being said Dayton Ohios new Nextgen bus that can run on and off had been delayed by Federal Regulaters.

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Posted by Ulrich on Monday, November 27, 2017 1:06 PM

We went from the Wright Brothers' experiments on the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk to commercial production of the DC3 in only 33 years.. just something to keep in mind about the pace of change sometimes. Electric semi autonomous trucks will imho be here sooner than later. The status quo from an environmental and economic perspective is simply untenable.. thus big changes coming soon to roads and highways near you.  

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Posted by azrail on Monday, November 27, 2017 1:28 PM

Stalled at the side of the road in a blizzard

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, November 27, 2017 1:44 PM

Ulrich
We went from the Wright Brothers' experiments on the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk to commercial production of the DC3 in only 33 years.. just something to keep in mind about the pace of change sometimes.

Yes, but... where are our SSTs?  Where are our flying cars?  Where is commercial V/STOL?  Sometimes possible technology is not expedient technology, or can be converted into successfully implemented technology.  The straight electric truck (as opposed to the battery-centric EV car) is one place that I expect to see demonstrated ... and supplanted by vehicles with onboard charging and emergency-power capability. 

I would also make no more long-term bet on investing now in autonomous technology than I would on Nikola Tesla's broadcast power plans from Wardenclyffe a century ago.  Even if the current craze for teradata system fusion pans out (and I suspect it will be tried with deterministic logic first, and harebrained 'fuzzy logic' second) it won't take very many opportunistic lawyers to get any practice of the idea crippled if not shut down.  I expect the same thing to affect real-world platooning of fully autonomous vehicles sooner rather than later.  Regardless of the actual cause of an accident, you can bet it will become the company'$ re$pon$ibility pretty quickly.

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Posted by Ulrich on Monday, November 27, 2017 2:08 PM

There was no commercial demand for the SST or flying cars.. or even c/stol.. In contrast there's huge pent up demand for a cheaper, cleaner, easier to use alternative to the trucking status quo. So much so that some well known brands have already pre ordered the Tesla truck.. You can be sure that the traditonal name brands like Peterbilt and International are working full tilt to come up with their own version of the electric tractor trailer... they're not going to let Tesla walk away with marketshare. They all know now that's it's all about being first out of the gate with a production model.. the race is on! 

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Monday, November 27, 2017 2:30 PM

Why the big boys are ordering Teslas is simple TAX CREDITS.  If your willing to run any alternative fuels like LNG CNG electric drives the DOT will give an OTR company a 60K credit per vechile ordered.  Now those trucks are great in captive service say between terminal runs like they are going to get used.  However in OTR service they will not be worth it.  Why to short of range.  Even my single tank tanker fleet can outrange a any alternative fuel truck right now.  

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Monday, November 27, 2017 8:24 PM

Thanks, erikem!  Good analysis, as always.

- PDN. 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 6:24 AM

Ulrich
You can be sure that the traditional name brands like Peterbilt and International are working full tilt to come up with their own version of the electric tractor trailer... they're not going to let Tesla walk away with marketshare.

The electric truck is well advanced in development, and the more traditional manufacturers are not only better aware of the appropriate 'niches' for all-electric power, but also the infrastructure needed to sustain them.  Mercedes, not Tesla, had the first workable 'ready-for-production' BEV heavy truck prototype, and Cummins among others is working out the correct version of hybrid-electric technology for North American service.  If you look in the truck-technology magazines you will find many examples in testing or prototype stage, and you can be sure there are more in development.

The Europeans have started up a program to research and then presumably implement better charging systems:

http://www.uitp.org/assured

At least some of the results would be applicable here, but again the major uses of BEV without at least small sustainer engines would be in urban areas or restricted-route service, where a multiplicity of capable charge points and the electricity-fairy capacity to supply them economically on demand can cost-effectively exist.  

Remember the situation in Europe is a bit different in that they consider CO2 a primary pollutant and are willing to leverage alternative and renewable generation to achieve absolute reduction in its emissions.  We in the United States are still fumbling with feel-good green credits and often misplaced systems of subsidies for equipment purchases; whether this will lead to practical use of all-electric vehicles for more than local or yard service or dedicated lanes is something only time and dedication will tell.  As I said before, I think a truck without at least enough sustainer capacity to run at legal road speed loaded is a non-starter (perhaps I should say, a bit wickedly, more of a non-finisher) in most long-distance service.

 

 

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Posted by erikem on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 11:00 PM

Paul,

You're welcome!

The $0.40/kwhr was from an on-line magazine article and may be somewhat on the high side if we're projecting out to 2020. I work out a couple of somewhat lower estimates which shouldn't be lowballing too much.

Best case, figure a $1.00/watt for installed PV, 2,000 hours per year of sunshine, and 10 years lifetime. With these assumptions, the price of raw PV power would be $0.05/kwhr. Since charging will often be taking place when the sun don't shine, let's assume about 6 hours of battery storage minimum, and assume $166/kwhr for the cost of battery and support, along with a 10 year lifetime. With these additional assumptions, storage will kick in another $0.05/kwhr, so we're looking at $0.10/kwhr, which is more than the $0.07/kwhr that Musk was promising. Note that these costs don't include maintenance, property taxes, land costs or road use taxes.

One unstated assumption for the previous paragraph was that the charging station would be able to sell all of the electricity generated that day, where a real world station would either need to overbuild on charging and batteries, or make use of commercial power for peak demand/ low generation days. Once all these costs are added in, the $0.40/kwhr doesn't seem outrageously high.

Very little has been said about how road use fees would be charged to electric semi's, which makes me wonder if electric semis would make sense. Hybrids semi's may be another story, as energy from regenerative braking can be put to good use.

As for platooning, I don't see that as being practical in urban Southern California much after 5AM or before 11PM.

 - Erik

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 6:49 PM

Analysts doubt Tesla’s claim that its Semi would be a rail killer

Trains (Online)

By Bill Stephens

November 21, 2017

 

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk says his company’s battery-powered big rig, unveiled last week, will be 20 percent cheaper to operate than diesel trucks and represents “economic suicide for rail.”

 

But reports of rail’s impending death may be exaggerated.

 

“Is this going to be a game-changer? No, not yet anyway,” says Larry Gross, an intermodal analyst at Gross Transportation Consulting.

 

Industry analysts say the Tesla Semi does not appear to match the hype surrounding its debut. The truck can go 500 miles on a single charge, and 400 miles after spending just 30 minutes in a Tesla charging station. Production is scheduled to begin in 2019.

 

Tesla’s announcement left out key details, such as price of the Semi and the weight of its battery.

 

Musk said the Semi would be expensive. Trucking companies will need to know whether a battery-powered rig’s lower operating costs are offset or even negated by the higher purchase price.

 

And if the Semi’s battery pack weighs more than a traditional diesel engine and related components, then it will eat into the truck’s carrying capacity.

 

“These guys are not going to be sold on sizzle,” Gross says of truckers. “Hard numbers are the only thing that counts.”

 

One of those hard numbers is the battery weight.

 

Trucks can weigh a total of 80,000 pounds, a figure that includes the rig and its payload. Some analysts estimate that the Tesla battery may weigh 10,000 pounds, or roughly twice the weight of a diesel engine, fuel, and transmission.

 

If Semi’s battery weighs more than the equivalent diesel truck’s powertrain, its use would likely be severely limited, Gross says, because truckers operate general purpose fleets that are one size fits all.

 

They are not going to try to manage which rigs can handle full loads and which are payload-constrained by the Semi’s battery weight, he explains.

 

Tesla faces additional obstacles to wide deployment of its Semi. Chief among them may be the limited availability of charging stations, says Anthony Hatch, an analyst with ABH Consulting.

 

Where the trucks can roam will depend entirely on the network of charging stations.

 

“Right now I see it as a help for drayage, possibly,” Hatch says of moves between intermodal terminals and shippers’ docks. “Rails aren’t really focused on the sub-500-mile market.”

 

The Tesla Semi aside, intermodal is under the looming threat of continued advances in truck technology.

 

Big rigs are becoming more fuel efficient. Platooning — or running a convoy of trucks closely together to save fuel — may be common in a couple of years. And autonomous vehicles have been tested in the U.S. and abroad.

 

All of these advances would reduce the cost of trucking and erode the cost advantage intermodal has, except in very long hauls, analysts say.

 

“The combination of autonomous operations, electric traction power, peloton, or long combination vehicle operation is an intermodal killer,” says John Larkin, an analyst with Stifel. “Getting to that point, however, will likely take decades. Other elements of the supply chain will be automated first.”

 

Walmart and trucking company J.B. Hunt have said they would reserve a few Tesla Semis to test the technology.

 

“Reserving Tesla trucks marks an important step in our efforts to implement industry-changing technology,” said John Roberts, president and chief executive officer at J.B. Hunt. “We believe electric trucks will be most beneficial on local and dray routes, and we look forward to utilizing this new, sustainable technology.”

 

In the absence of details about the trucks, the purchase reservations are more symbolic than anything else, Gross says. Any company that is among Tesla Semi’s first customers will be seen as being technologically advanced and green, he says.

 

None of the Class I railroads would comment on the potential impact of the Tesla Semi.

         

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Posted by chicagorails on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 7:56 PM

stack trains cheepest way  to  ship freight so  muskrats trucks  wont make a big dent till newer  tech comes  along if then.  merry  christmas 

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Posted by Euclid on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 8:55 PM

BaltACD

Analysts doubt Tesla’s claim that its Semi would be a rail killer

Trains (Online)

 
By Bill Stephens

November 21, 2017

 

 

 

In the absence of details about the trucks, the purchase reservations are more symbolic than anything else, Gross says. Any company that is among Tesla Semi’s first customers will be seen as being technologically advanced and green, he says.

 

 

 

 

Being green and sustainable would be enough if the government were to subsidize those attributes.

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 9:12 PM

Euclid
 
BaltACD

Analysts doubt Tesla’s claim that its Semi would be a rail killer

Trains (Online) 

By Bill Stephens

November 21, 2017 

 

In the absence of details about the trucks, the purchase reservations are more symbolic than anything else, Gross says. Any company that is among Tesla Semi’s first customers will be seen as being technologically advanced and green, he says. 

Being green and sustainable would be enough if the government were to subsidize those attributes.

Of course we have seen how governmental subsidy has affected railroads over they centuries - the subsidies of highways, the subsidies of air line, terminals and traffic control.  Without the governments 'heavy lifting' in subsidies neither industry would have become what we recognize today.  But then the question becomes, how many subsidies can our taxes afford - along with all the other things our taxes must support for the USA to be a world power?

         

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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 10:43 PM

BaltACD

 But then the question becomes, how many subsidies can our taxes afford - along with all the other things our taxes must support for the USA to be a world power?

The nation is already $20 Trillion in the hole, why not make it $40 Trillion.  How much is too much, and where does it end (if anywhere)?

The view from Canada keeps getting bleaker and bleaker.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, November 30, 2017 7:33 PM

SD70M-2Dude
The nation is already $20 Trillion in the hole, why not make it $40 Trillion.  How much is too much, and where does it end (if anywhere)? The view from Canada keeps getting bleaker and bleaker.

It is finally starting to turn the corner.   Quanitative Easing finally being unraveled and undone.     The recent rise in interest rates savings are becomming more attractive again and real money will start to be made by large banks with loan portfolios, the Economy is getting back to normal finally.

If they can maintain a growth strategy above 3% for at least 3-4 years, lower the trade deficits without hugely impacting the national debt.........debt will start to shrink relative to GDP.  

Time will tell if all those IF's fall into place.    It's a LOT for the Feds to balance.

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Posted by JoeBlow on Thursday, November 30, 2017 9:02 PM

 

I hear all of this talk that the electric vehicle is poised to take over world but I don't see it.

 

EV sales plummet when tax subsidies are cut. Look at what happened in Hong Kong and Georgia after tax payer funded subsidies were cut.

 

I work with a lot of millennials and every one of them (7 total) who has bought a new car in the past few years has chosen an ICE (Internal Combustion) car. This is the next generation of car buyers and purchasing managers.

 

Finally, trucking is an industry largely made up of owner operators chasing business in always changing geographic locals. Each driver a business of one who wants to get the most return on their investment. Remember, this is an industry that transitioned from employees (company drivers) to contractors (owner operators) decades before it became popular.

 

If there was such a demand for EVs would subsidies matter? Would not every millennial be desperately seeking an electric or hybrid car regardless of make? If I am an owner operator, do I want to invest in a technology that is still not as good as the established standard?

 

The story of the EV frenzy is the story of Elon Musk. If you don’t believe me then look at the other EV startups (Faraday, Lucid) or the mainstream competition (Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf). Want further proof? At the end of the Tesla truck/roadster rollout everyone was fawning over the roadster and ignoring the trucks.

 

The much maligned ICE car succeeded because it was more user friendly than the established standards of the day (train, horse and foot).

 

By the way, I live in Los Angeles, a city considered one of the trendsetting centers of the world.

 

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Posted by erikem on Thursday, November 30, 2017 11:21 PM

JoeBlow

 The story of the EV frenzy is the story of Elon Musk. If you don’t believe me then look at the other EV startups (Faraday, Lucid) or the mainstream competition (Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf).

 The funny thing is that Chevy has sold a lot more Bolts to customers than Tesla has with thier Model 3. It will be a few months before the sales of the Model 3 catch up with the Bolt.

The much maligned ICE car succeeded because it was more user friendly than the established standards of the day (train, horse and foot).

 

In the first decade of the 20th century, it wasn't clear whether the ICE was going to be the standard power source for cars. The big advantage of the ICE powered car was the quickness in refueling versus recharging. It also helped that petroleum was widely available and cheap.

Electric cars are still pretty much niche vehicles, but the likes of the Bolt and Model 3 with 200+ mile range make for a much larger niche than a car good for 60 to 80 miles. The most extreme of a small niche in electric cars was the electric Scion IQ with about a 40 mile range - good for getting to work from the train station. OTOH, it could be fully recharged in about 7-8 hours from a 120V/15A outlet.

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Posted by rdamon on Friday, December 01, 2017 5:38 AM

Allowing a single rider in a Hybrid/EV in the HOV lanes in CA has helped sales along with the new $0.12/Gallon gas tax.

 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, December 01, 2017 7:17 AM

Charging times seem to be an issue that everybody is dancing around and never actually answering. The current range of my own car is 275-320 miles on a full tank of gasoline.  It takes about 10 minutes to refill the tank, which is not a major issue if I'm on the road.  Recharging a battery with similar range will take appreciably longer than that, meaning that most electric vehicles are limited to local use.

It will also be interesting to see what happens after those who have installed re-charging stations in their garage receive their electric bills.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Miningman on Friday, December 01, 2017 7:57 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH--Thanks, finally a posting that makes sense. Anyone using electric furnace or baseboard heat at home is paying through the nose in winter.

May I add how are you going to defrost windows and provide heat in -30,-40. Seperate gas heater like in the old VW's?

 

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, December 01, 2017 8:31 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH
It will also be interesting to see what happens after those who have installed re-charging stations in their garage receive their electric bills.

Indeed it has been... but sensible people compare their electricity bill to their gasoline bill and, for all modern BEVs or plug-ins, the result is highly 'net positive' - in favor of the superior economy inherent in the electricity-fairy cycle.  An unintended consequence Musk has chosen to deprecate (I think to his ultimate despair) is that capex to handle the predictable transportation demand will have to be larger than cutbacks in utilization elsewhere... I see the seeds of this in a number of otherwise-unrelated places.

The old story about straight electric heat being massively expensive referred to resistance heating, something only an idiot or massive first-cost cutter would use.  It is somewhat applicable to poorly designed heat pumps with reversing-valve compromise in achievable COP and lousy source/sink efficiencies right at the normal climatic extremes their operation is most expected ... the answer on the 'cold' end usually being gas or propane/LPG dual fuel.  The right answer is ground-source heat pumps, which incidentally are all-electric even when run on distributed power.

As noted before, the markets for true straight-electric trucks really mirror those for straight BEVs: highly local operations on plannable schedules with comparatively little allowance for unanticipated delays or changes.  The very extensive work in hybrid trucks by less wacky companies clearly trends the other way, even in the extreme case where the combustion device is only sized for emergency limp-home; as noted, very, very few O/Os are likely to buy a Class 8 with straight electric, and about the only use larger fleet users would have, other than local ops in air-quality-management districts, would be for 'green' publicity or the dubious long-term benefits of government-supported rebates or subsidies... which I expect will go the way of the dodo when the effective take rate or cumulative consequences get significant.

The great BMW lesson on practical fuel-cell use should be remembered in this context: the first best use of the technology is to run all the auxiliaries, and by extension a unit sized for 'non-idling' truck amenities would double quite nicely as an emergency range extender.  

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