How Tesla will Electrify the Automobile Industry

This last weekend, Elon Musk announced that the electric Tesla Semi Truck will be unveiled later this week. The Tesla CEO made the announcement via his favorite social media platform, Twitter. The announcement came after there was a delay in the production of its Model 3 sedans. The production plan happens to be going a little more slowing that anticipated and there have been some grumblings from those who ordered the cars. The announcement proves that although Tesla might have a few production line issues, they are still full steam ahead when it comes to diversifying their product offerings.

Musk’s tweet announced that the semi truck unveiling with be live on webcast on Thursday at 8pm. After making vague mentions of a Tesla Semi in the past, the media was excited to report that Musk had announced a formal invite to the official unveiling of the much-anticipated semi. The cheeky tweet said, “Tesla Semi Truck unveil to be webcast live on Thursday at 8pm! This will blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension. Just need to find my portal gun …”

This announcement is not only important for Tesla but will be life changing for the transportation industry.  Elon Musk, in the past, has made the prediction that the Tesla will be the first to produce an electric semi truck before any other company. It remains to be seen how correct this prediction will be in the future, but he did set in motion other companies working just as hard to create their own electric semi. Last April, Musk made the announcement on Twitter that, “Tesla Semi truck unveil set for September. Team has done an amazing job. Seriously next level.”

An electric semi truck would also be life changing for the environment as well. It has been reported by several environmental groups that all the trucks on the road consume about 2.7 million barrels of fuel each day and they emit about 530 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Currently, long haul semi-trucks make up about 7% of vehicles on the road but they consume about 25% of all the fuel. Musk has always been an advocate for more electrical cars on the road and wanting to cut down the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted into the environment. He is passionate about saving the environment and this electric Tesla Semi would change the amount of pollution that is emitted into the environment.

When the news about Tesla’s latest project started to matriculate through the media, it was announced that Jerome Guillen would be heading up the Tesla Semi project.  Guillen, who previously used to helm Daimler’s Cascadia truck program, was a crucial part of the Model S program during  the years of 2010 until 2013. He was the Model S program director during this crucial time and led the program for the Alpha prototype to the release of the Model S in 2012. He was also a very important part of the establishment of the production line and he also was temporarily put in charge of the vehicle engineering group at Tesla as the Acting VP of Vehicle Engineering.

Soon after the production issues were resolved with the Model S, Guillen then was put in charge of all of Tesla’s sale and service operations and his title was Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Service from 2013 until 2015. He took a break for about a year and then eagle-eyed Musk and company fans noticed that Guillen added the title of VP of programs at Tesla to his Linkedin profile but did not add what program he would be VP of at the company. But soon Musk confirmed through his Twitter account that Guillen would be charge of the Tesla Semi truck program.

The concept of the Tesla Semi was first presented in Musk’s “Master Plan, Part Deux” that he published on the Tesla website in July of 2016. His first master plan was written 10 years ago and by the time he wrote the second one, Musk and his companies were in the final stages of completion for most of the projects laid out in the first master plan. According to his Master Plan Part Deux, “In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport. Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year. We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.”

In August, the company released a rendering of what the truck will ultimately look like and a report from Reuters exclusively reported that the truck aims to have a charge that will last anywhere between 200 to 300 miles. This range means that Tesla will be tackling the regional hauling market first. A 200 to 300 mile charge means that right now the Tesla semi will not be a national long haul trucking company.

According to the Reuters exclusive, the first version of the Tesla Semi will feature what the industry calls a “day-cab”. These day-cabs don’t have a sleeper berth and are really only used for inter-state or nearby destinations. Scott Perry, an executive at Miami-based fleet operator Ryder System Inc. told Reuters that he met with Tesla representatives to discuss the semi at their manufacturing facility in California. Perry told Reuters of the meeting he believes that Tesla will focus on the regional market. “I’m not going to count them out for having a strategy for longer distances or ranges, but right out of the gate I think that’s where they’ll start.”

When September came and went and still no further announcements were made about the semi truck, Musk once again took to Twitter to address the delay. The reason behind the delay according to Musk is that the company was working to fix the production issues of the Model 3 and the company is also currently working on helping to bring power back to Puerto Rico. He tweeted “Tesla Semi unveil now Nov. 16. Diverting resources to fix Model 3 bottlenecks & increase battery production for Puerto Rico & other affected areas.”

Even though Musk was off by about a month, it appears that Tesla is finally ready to unveil their self-driving semi truck to the masses. Tesla sent out invitations for the formal unveiling last Thursday. The invites for the yet to be named electric semi showed a teaser of the truck and the only listed information was the date of the unveiling which will be November 16th.  The unveiling is still shrouded in a lot of mystery and the industry is waiting with baited breath to see what the Tesla Semi will look like and how it will perform.

When the news of the Tesla electric semi truck was announced, other truck and car companies decided it was high time they joined the race to diversify their long haul trucks and cars. Soon after the announcement, multiple automobile manufacturers announced that they too would be working to create their own electric semi truck. The good news is that this a positive step towards creating a better environment. Musk many years ago made the proclamation that he wanted there to be more electric cars on the road than cars that use fossil fuels in the next few decades. He meant that he wanted Tesla to replace those cars with their models but inadvertently; many of the major automakers have stepped up and are working on adding electric cars and trucks to their productions lines.

One of the biggest companies out there who just beat Tesla to the punch by unveiling their own version of an electric truck is the Cummins Company.  Cummins is best known for their engines, filtration, and power generation products. They design, manufacture and distribute their products in over 190 countries worldwide. The engine unit of the company consists of aftermarket support, Mid-Range, Heavy-Duty, and High-Horsepower Engines. They manufacture and market a line of diesel and natural gas-powered engines for both on the highway and off the highway use. Now the company will add an electric semi truck to their lineup.

About a month and half before Tesla was able to unveil their version of an electric semi-truck, Cummins unveiled their version at the beginning of September. They debuted their Urban Hauler Tractor concept, a Class 7 semi truck with a 44,000-pound payload.  The company feels confident that the powertrain for the semi will be ready for production by the end of this decade. Currently, Cummins says that the semi will have a 100-mile range. The semi weighs 18,000 pounds and the 140-kilowatt battery pack weighs roughly the same as a 12-liter diesel engine. Although the promised range is not as impressive as the projected range of the Tesla Semi, this is the beginning of a trend that will make a huge environmental impact.

When Musk came on board at Tesla, his goal was to create an electric car that would appeal to all different types of people. First generation electric cars made by other car companies were strictly made to be functional and the design aspect of the car was not the most important part of it.  Musk wanted to rethink the electric by making it sleek and sexy. By doing this, Musk was hoping that more people would be apt to buy an electric car over a gas-powered car. He believed the biggest problem with the lagging electric car market was the lack of design of these types of automobiles.

When he took over at Tesla, he wanted to create a mass produced electric car to help the environment and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. He didn’t want to just stop with making an electric car, he wants all vehicles on the road to be electric hence making the need for fossil fuels obsolete.  When Tesla announced their Master Plan Part Deux, it became known that Musk and Tesla were well on their way to making this dream a reality.

When the unveiling occurs this week, there will be a lot of competition from other companies. Tesla has started a trend of major car companies working to create an environmentally friendly car and adding it to their lineup. They are working to go beyond just making electric cars; there are companies that are making semi trucks, RVs, and trucks that will be all electric.

Fossil fuels will ultimately run out someday. Current estimates state that fossil fuels only have a lifespan of about 50 more years based on the current rate that humans are utilizing them. It has been estimated that there is over 11 billion tons of oil used worldwide every year. Tesla will be the leader in this movement towards all-electric cars and this semi truck is a good move towards a greener future. The unveiling this week will set the tone for the future of long haul trucking.