lorenfb wrote:Daimler is not “asleep-at-the-wheel” when it comes to R&D for battery powered trucks.
I agree that they are not. But it appears they are playing catch-up when it comes to the Class 8 trucks. I'm not sure where I read it, but I saw that they have eleven (!) batteries in their Class 8 truck. I've predicted four in the Tesla Semi and I will be very shocked if they have more than eight. Is that important? I think so. I think it shows that Daimler is trying to retrofit batteries into their old truck chassis while Tesla is doing a ground-up design. This is probably one reason why Tesla is able to offer much more range.
lorenfb wrote:Tesla has no “key rent” when it comes to battery powered trucks as it does for BEVs, i.e. the SC network.
Actually, I believe they really do. In fact, they may have more of an advantage here than in the cars.
Why do I say this? Because a BEV truck has a very fast payback time while BEV cars have no way to pay for themselves. But only if you can achieve a level of performance above some minimum threshold. All Teslas to date are luxury items. But a truck is used to generate revenues. And several things will win when it comes to trucks:
I don't really believe that Tesla will sell trucks for just a little more than a Model X P100D, but I do think they can probably sell them for $250,000 and make a profit. Maybe. And at that price the Tesla Semi should have high value to customers.
Tesla has invested in finding ways to make their batteries last longer. They also have done an excellent job with their electronics. I believe this is what will "separate the men from the boys" in the area of Class 8 trucks. Those batteries and electronics will take a major beating, day in and day out. I think many players will have real problems with batteries not holding up, but I expect Tesla will be at the top of the class in this regard.
Range in a Class 8 battery-electric trick is limited by weight. Weight comes down to two things: weight of the rolling stock and specific energy of the battery pack. Since Tesla is designing the truck from the ground up, their rolling stock should be lighter. This should allow them to install a heavier battery than their competitors. Since they are a leader in LI-ion battery technology, they have a very good chance to be able to deliver a durable battery pack with a very high specific energy.
4) Charging Infrastructure:
Tesla is light-years ahead of everyone else in this arena. Do they have a built-out UltraCharger network in place? No. Do they need one? Yes, eventually. So what do they offer today? They have the best high-power charging technology in the world. It is modular, scalable and reliable. They can provide chargers to their truck customers to install on-site at key locations to allow them to deploy immediately on the routes these trucks can handle today. Frankly, refueling may turn out to be a benefit for Tesla Semis versus diesels, at least on the point-to-point routes they can handle today.
Does Daimler have benefits over Tesla? Of course they do:
Unlike Tesla, Daimler is not constantly teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. They can weather a lot more adversity than Tesla can.
2) Experience & Reputation:
Daimler is already established and known in this industry. They have an existing customer base which will be patient with them as they develop their technology. Tesla will not be afforded nearly as much leeway.
So will Tesla "win" the battery-electric truck market? I don't know, but I predict that if Tesla can stay in business they will offer the product to beat in this space. Everyone will be playing catch-up for a long time to come. In any case, this is an interesting space to watch.