Will We See Electric Semi-Trucks on the Road Soon?








As we’re in the middle of the holiday season, we wanted to take a second and talk about the trucking industry. In particular, we are going to talk about how online shopping has enhanced the role of the trucking industry and perpetuated its change. If you are doing more of your shopping online, you’re not alone. In fact, e-commerce sales are expected to increase by 85% by 2020. Obviously, with more orders going online, retailers and the trucking industry will need to do more to stay on top of demand. Steps taken have included the following:


  • Building more distribution centers to lower shipping time
  • Hiring more truckers and adjusting scheduling to meet order demand
  • Investing in tracking software and onboard telematics
  • Increasing the number of trucks in their fleet


Unfortunately, there is a problem with that last point. The Department of Transportation estimates that there could be as much as 45% more freight traffic on the roads. In order to reduce the obvious environmental concerns with that many more trucks on our nation’s roads, companies will need to consider more fuel-efficient options.


Could Electric Semi-Trucks Be the Future of Freighting?


Last month, Elon Musk and Tesla made big news when they finally unveiled the Tesla Semi. Elon Musk made the announcement while sitting in the cabin of the Class 8 truck. Musk said the cabin was designed so truckers could stand up if needed. The steering wheel is positioned in the middle of the cabin with touchscreens on each side, which Musk says will increase driver visibility and navigability. The Tesla Semi has built-in connectivity to support routing, scheduling, and monitoring.


Regarding performance, Tesla announced that the Tesla Semi will be able to go 0-60 mph in five seconds and 0-60 mph with an 80,000 lb. load. They note that this is a marked improvement over diesel trucks. There will be no shifting or clutching needed to operate the semi-truck either, and onboard sensors may prevent jackknifing. In addition to that, the Tesla Semi can automatically join a convoy with other Tesla Semis if needed. Tesla also suggested that maintenance and repairs would be much less expensive as there were far fewer systems than its diesel counterpart.


However, there are still some concerns critics have with the idea of an electric semi-truck. The Tesla Semi will be able to go up to 500 miles on the highway before its battery needs to be charged. Critics argue that nobody knows how well the battery will do with heavy use. Trucks can go up to 50,000 miles a year freighting goods in all kinds of different environments. Critics are concerned that batteries may not be able to handle this load for the long-term. Only time will tell although Walmart and DHL have already announced they are willing to test out the new electric semi-truck.


In the meantime, Rebling will continue to produce high-quality truck battery switches and other components to power the trucks that get your goods from the distribution center to your home.

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