14th December 2017
Electric cars are becoming a common sight in cityscapes around the world, but the trend has not yet trickled down to the transport industry. However, this could be about to change with Tesla’s newest innovation: The Semi truck, opening new possibilities for sustainable transport.
Earlier this year, Universe of Delivery reported on Tesla “secretmaster plan and their mission to accelerate global conversion to sustainable energy, paving the way for a sustainable fleet of vehicles, infrastructure, energy storage and solar energy ” a mission that, if successful, could have a massive impact on the transport and logistics industries as well.
In November, the company truly underlined the scope of their mission by presenting an upcoming addition to their range of vehicles, that up until now have consisted of private cars, the Tesla Semi truck. The all-electric truck was launched at an event in Hawthorne, California and was live-streamed via the company’s website. CEO of Tesla Elon Musk stated at the reveal, “We want a vehicle that feels incredible and accelerates like no other.” According to Tesla’s website the Semi will be the safest, most comfortable truck ever, with four independent motors providing maximum power and acceleration and requiring the lowest energy cost per mile. All while allegedly being safer for the driver to operate.
Several global giants have pre-ordered
Several global corporations have already announced that they are placing orders for the truck, among them Anheuser-Busch, the brewing company behind Budweiser, Walmart and global foodservice distribution company Sysco Corporation, who placed the order as a part of a commitment to reduce environmental impact for its operations.
In the transport industry, DHL has confirmed that they pre-ordered 10 Semis and the Wall Street Journal reports that DHL will use Tesla’s electric trucks for shuttle routes and also to test the truck for longer runs. Jim Monkmeyer, DHL President of transportation in North America, said to the newspaper: “DHL Supply Chain, which handles logistics operations for retailers and manufacturers, intends to use the heavy-duty Tesla trucks for shuttle runs and same-day customer deliveries in major U.S. cities. DHL also plans to test the electric trucks on longer runs, and to evaluate its impact on driver safety and comfort.”
Potentially disruptive effect
Electric trucks/vehicles have been in use for some time in the transport industry, but mostly smaller versions for inner city distribution and shuttle runs, not for long haul deliveries. Consequently, the Semi could potentially have a disruptive effect on the whole industry and change the way the goods transportation system operates. Especially if the truck will have autonomous driving capabilities as reported, which can theoretically increase productivity and reduce travel/transit time. Only time will tell what happens, when the first Semis hit the roads in 2020.
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