Tesla Semi order run extends into new year


US firm Ruan reserves five as total publicly reported is estimated to pass 300 and test video emerges

Tesla Semi order run extends into new year
A still from the clip of a Tesla Semi on the road

 

Ruan Transportation Management Systems says it has reserved five Tesla Semi electric prime movers, just as video emerges of one unit driving bobtail on a public road in California.

Based on public company announcements in North America and elsewhere and UPS’s 125-unit order reported in late December, orders for the prime movers are now thought to have passed 300, with the mark said to have reached that milestone with PepsiCo’s order.

However, US environmental driving website Green Car Reports posted an Instragram screenshot last month from landscaping firm Elemental Landscapes with a reservation number for its three units of E0000001230, leading to speculation that the actual number was more than 1,200.

Now Ruan – a privately held transportation company providing dedicated fleet management, logistics management, warehousing – has put its hand up, with the units expected to be delivered next year.

Noting that Tesla CEO Elon Musk states a 400 mile (644km) range will be attainable with just a 30-minute charge from one of Tesla’s planned MegaCharger stations, Ruan vice president of fleet services James Cade says: "These new trucks stand to revolutionise interstate transport and change the way we do business.

"Ruan has always been a leader in efficient transport and logistics, so it makes perfect sense to explore what these trucks could do for us and our customers."

Ruan plans to test vehicle prototypes in California before they are delivered and the firm says it and Tesla have been in "frequent communication throughout the development process", with Tesla inviting Ruan representatives to take part in numerous on-site meetings and discussions in the six months before the November unveiling.

The price-per-vehicle for the company is expected to be US$180,000 (A$224,000), as against a diesel prime mover of around US$100,000 but claimed by Tesla to more expensive to run in its life-span.

Most diesel-powered tractors cost around $100,000, but Tesla predicts that the electric vehicle will pay for itself within two years due to savings in aerodynamics, reliability and fuel. Some specifics, such as the targeted weight, total operating cost and charging method are still unavailable.

"We have many questions as the trucks continue to be developed," Cade says.

"But we are excited for the potential they hold and are working directly with Tesla to get the answers we need before putting this technology to use.

 "It is our hope that using the Tesla tractor-trailers will eventually reduce our costs, keep our drivers and cargo safer and help us continue our tradition of industry-leading service and reliability."

The Tesla Semi’s range continues to be a source of mystery and doubt, with truck rental and fleet management company Ryder Systems reportedly having initial doubts about that aspect of its specifications before revising them to place its own order.

Not that it’s too late for Ryder to be dealing with conventional vehicles, with the firm announcing yesterday is supplying 10 new DAF box trucks to Metalweb, a metals stockholder and processor.

The vehicles comprise five CF230 18-tonne box trucks with 8.5-metre body length, three LF180 12-tonne box trucks with 7.3-metre body length, both models having a 4x2 axle configuration, plus two CF330 26-tonne box trucks, with 9.1-metre body length and 6x2 axle configuration.

But the expectation that the Semi will need a hugely heavy battery pack to make the promised 500 mile total range persists without proven performance.

Meanwhile, an alert motorist has released a YouTube clip of a Semi prototype undergoing testing on a public road near San Francisco between Tesla’s factory and headquarters.  

 

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