Tesla is expected to finally unveil its semi truck on Nov. 16. The vehicle will be Tesla’s first venture into commercial trucks, and is also being considered a test for the electric vehicle technology.
Commercial deployment of large batteries needed to support such trucks will mark a paradigm shift for fuel guzzling vehicles with large carbon footprints. It will also make way for autonomous electric vehicles.
While Tesla is bringing its range of technology to the trucking segment, it also has competitors in waiting. Its biggest competitor is the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, Daimler, which launched its own electric truck in June.
The leading feature of the Tesla semi truck is expected to be autonomous driving technology. If the company reveals a truck with self-driving capabilities, it could change how trucks operate. Such trucks could travel in a convoy formation, led by either a human driven or autonomous truck and would be able to transport large loads without the need for many human drivers.
The Daimler truck, called the eCanter, is not expected to have any such feature.
This feature could easily differentiate Tesla from its rivals in the industry.
Another factor that will determine the performance of the segment is the range of such trucks. The Daimler truck has a limited range of 62 miles. The range of the Tesla semi truck is not yet known, but is expected to be much less than the company’s Model 3 sedan, which has a range of 215 miles on a full charge.
Electric trucks are expected to have limited range at the start and then this range could be extended depending on the evolution of battery tech. Currently, these trucks are expected to have limited range due the need for more power to pull heavy loads. This is due to size limits on such vehicles — a battery needs to be accommodated within a truck’s frame and this is plainly the reason that electric trucks will be useful only for short distance hauls.
Where both the Tesla and Daimler electric trucks can compete with regular trucks is in terms of the loads that they can carry. The Daimler truck can carry 57,320 pounds of cargo.
Both the Tesla and Daimler trucks are expected to come equipped with onboard monitoring systems that will provide the user information on the range left and the need for charging. Both trucks are also expected to have different modes of driving. While Tesla semi truck is expected to have different modes for autonomous or regular driving, the Daimler truck lets a user switch between different battery modes.
While Daimler has beaten Tesla and launched its semi truck early, the Tesla semi truck is expected to be more advanced in terms of the features it offers.