Here is why the Tesla Semi is NOT a savings

Discussion in 'Trucks [ Eighteen Wheelers ]' started by Lucastookis, Jan 23, 2022.

  1. Lucastookis

    Lucastookis Bobtail Member

    Jul 23, 2021
    If you want the Tesla 500 mile range truck, it's going to go for 200,000. Here's why it's not cost effective.

    I drive a Cascadia Ev 1 that is exactly spec't out to get 10 mpg, and I get this. Let's say I buy a new Cascadia tomorrow versus a Tesla 500 mile range semi. Follow carefully why the Tesla is not more cost effective.

    I pay 175K for the brand new Cascadia and driving 100,000 miles per year for 5 years is 500,000 miles and let's say diesel is 3.30 per gallon. For the Cascadia, that is 165,000 for fuel over 5 years. So, over a 5 year period, the cost to purchase the Cascadia and fuel total for 5 years is 340,000 total. I pay a 15,000 per year all inclusive maintenance and warranty which is 75,000 for 5 years, so add all of this up for the Cascadia for 5 years, and the cost of the truck, the maintenance, and the gas equals 415,000.

    Now, let's do the Tesla. The 500 mile range semi with the supercharger will go for 200,000 brand new. Driving 100,000 miles per year, the KW energy cost/electricity will cost 12,500 dollars per year. Even though there's no diesel cost, the energy/electricity is not free. So that's 62,500 dollars for the fuel/electricity cost for 5 years so when adding this with the cost to purchase the truck and the fuel/electricity energy for 5 years, it's a total of 262,500 dollars. Now, the all inclusive maintenance plan for the Tesla will cost 10,000 per year, so over 5 years, that's 50,000 dollars. Add all of these up, and for a 5 year period, the Tesla truck cost, maintenance, and fuel/electricity cost totals 312,500 bucks. That is 100,000 less than the Cascadia and sounds great, but....... Here is the kicker, the battery pack in the Tesla has a maximum range of 500,000 miles before it has to be completely replaced,, and the cost of the 500 mile range battery pack and charger is 105,000 dollars! Add all of this up for the Tesla for 5 years and you get a total of 417, 500.

    So, the Cascadia Ev for 5 years of ownership is 415,000. The Tesla Semi with 500 mile range is 417,500. Now, let's talk about convenience. Yes, the Tesla has auto driver, so when on the interstate, you can set there and chill, and that absolutely is worth a lot. But, can you imagine your wait time pulling into a Flying J and the amount of trucks utilitizing the electrical chargers? You think there is a wait at fuel island? Charging time for the Tesla is 30 minutes, but you know and I know, it will take Years to have an adequate amount of chargers. I promise you, it will not be a quick 30 minute stop to recharge at the Flying J. That could be a 2 hour stop.. Additionally, you get can fuel anywhere. The Tesla Chargers will have to be perfectly planned at specific locations, so you can see the level of inconvenience here.

    Maybe in the future, the Tesla will be more cost effective, but in the near term, it's nowhere close when you consider convenience, even with the auto driver on the interstate for the Tesla, by law, you still have to be in that front seat ready to takeover, and you know and I know State Troopers will be ALL over this and begging for someone to not be in the front driver's seat, and that is the kind of mistake that could end your driving career when caught, and think about getting your Tesla battery services and those wait times.

    P.S. Why did I do a 5 year estimate? Because as an owner operator, I rinse and repeat every 5 years. I buy the all inclusive maintenance/warranty that expires at the 500,000 mile/5 year mark which is roughly 15,000 per year. It's piece of mind. Pay the 15,000 per year knowing everything else is covered, and I trade the truck in and get a new one at the 5 year/500,00 mark. That's the most cost effective way to do it as an O/O with own authority. You save literally 10s of thousands in maintenance costs over the years by doing it this way.

    The above is only my opinion on the Tesla and you know what they say about opinions. I'm not saying this is gospel. I'm just giving my take guys. I do think that in 10 years, when the infrastructure for electric trucks is there, from service to maintenance to chargers, and surely the cost to purchase likely coming down, the Tesla will 100 percent be well worth it, but not in the near term. It will take a decade and then, if you buy a diesel instead of an electric Semi, you will be actually losing money, but we aren't close to being there yet. Having the electric truck already built is one thing, but having the infrastructure in place to support it is a whole other ballgame.
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  3. AModelCat

    AModelCat Road Train Member

    Jul 7, 2015
    Look at BC a couple months ago when they flooded. Lots of vehicles trapped, waiting for roads to be cleared. All the folks with electric cars had to be towed after they depleted the battery staying warm. All the gas/diesel cars just drove away.

    Now imagine you're trapped on the Coquihalla for 3 days because its closed (its happened before). How long will that battery charge run the heater? At least a bunk heater/APU will run for days on very little fuel and you can still drive back into town afterwards.

    Electric looks good on paper but in the real world I just don't see it being practical outside of certain regions.
  4. rbrtwbstr

    rbrtwbstr Road Train Member

    Jul 11, 2012
    in the bush somewhere
    Without doubting what you're saying, I'm curious how you've arrived at $12500 per year for the electric. Just seems a bit high to me. But, I've never looked into it, either.

    While it's obviously a very different scenario, I got a neighbor that has a Tesla model 3. He puts around 6000 miles a month on his cars. I asked how much his electric bill went up, he claims $80 a month. He does charge it when he's away also but I didn't ask what the cost is.
    Deezl Smoke Thanks this.
  5. Six9GS

    Six9GS Road Train Member

    Dec 3, 2012
    Yuma, AZ
    Your estimates are obviously swags due to variability with fuel and electricity costs. But, they're probably about the best estimates you can make without being able to accurately know what's going to happen to these costs in the future, which no one can actually predict.
    That said, for more local or small regional areas where charging station infrastructure somewhat exists, a company may get by with the Tesla option as a workable solution. Maybe not actually cheaper, but workable if you are somewhere a charging infrastructure is developed enough to work things out.
    But, for OTR, where freight origins and destinations can be almost anywhere, I presently don't see having a Tesla or any electric truck as a workable solution. Perhaps the existing truck charging infrastructure is more developed than I am aware of, but I'm in the Western states, including much of CA and I just don't see charging stations for trucks. They may be there and I don't see them, but kinda think it'd be something noticeable, as I do notice Tesla auto charging stations commonly.
    Regardless, thanks for the breakout on this. Interesting and informative!!
    Bean Jr. and haycarter Thank this.
  6. DUNE-T

    DUNE-T Road Train Member

    May 10, 2015
    Detroit, MI
    I have never heard of 15k all inclusive maintenance and warranty, sounds way too cheap. Do you have a link where I can read more about it?
    LoneRanger, Bean Jr. and ZVar Thank this.
  7. Arctic_fox

    Arctic_fox Road Train Member

    Sep 16, 2016
    Im still sad the nikola hydro truck was a scam. I actully thought they looked like something out of tron and a realistic hydrogen fuel cell would eliminate most of the def and electric issues we have today. Pity.
  8. Brandt

    Brandt Road Train Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    Tesla was claiming at 1,000,000 mile warranty I think that's on drivetrain system. I was reading they will use solar power to run their
  9. Rubber duck kw

    Rubber duck kw Road Train Member

    Dec 9, 2017
    I was bored one day and trying to calculate as close as I could how much electricity we're talking about with electric trucks, I came up with one truck running 3,500 to 4,000 miles in 10 days would use the same amount of electricity as the average house uses in a year. Granted it's pretty difficult to come up with a more than maybe ballpark figure because there's not a whole lot information out there about how long you can actually go on a charge in real world application or even exactly how many kilowatts a full charge would be. An all around lack of real world data on them, maybe I just don't know where to look though.
    Bean Jr. and rbrtwbstr Thank this.
  10. Kenworth6969

    Kenworth6969 Medium Load Member

    Jul 3, 2020
    10 mpg eh? What kind of freight you haul in your bobtail truck?

    That's the only way you'll average that
    12 ga, LoneRanger, ZVar and 1 other person Thank this.
  11. goga

    goga Medium Load Member

    Nov 11, 2021
    It is not just the bobtail freight, it is terrain, wind, road surface, traffic stalls, idling.. blah blah blah)
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