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Tesla Semi (tesla.com)
922 points by runesoerensen on Nov 17, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 554 comments



Ok as a mechanic a few million questions:

* What happens when a wheel seal goes? Do I have to remove all that ridiculous plastic on #2,3 axels??

* What happens when a tire blows? Is it going to destroy all that plastic and take out a few more tires in the process?

* Why all the glass? I've spend entire days replacing windshields for a 12 or so truck shop which generally come in two (drivers and passengers), the Tesla semi would require a crane and expensive replacements.

* Why is there no bumper or frame attachment points? Bumpers save the truck from damage, no one wants to buy $xxxxx front end, lights, etc when a deer in the bushes jumps into the middle of the road.

Honestly from my point of view it seems Tesla tried to apply personal EV to a semi. Did they do any research from tractor shops or mechanics? There is a HUGE reason tractor/trailers are easy to service.


"Well, it's a fraction of the cost to operate, but if a tire blows, the mechanic will have to detach a piece of plastic. So I think we'll pass."


It's way beyond that.

1. it makes changing a tire more complicated, and time is money, the longer it takes to change a blown tire the higher the penalties

2. when a semi tire goes, it goes hard, as GP noted with this arrangement the cowling will probably shatter, requiring a replacement (not just a replacement tire) and the pieces taking out other tire. If the cowling does not break, it will funnel bits of tire straight into the next tires, blowing all of them.


If a truck tire blows, it sometimes hits nearby cars and causes accidents, or just hits a motorcycle driver, cyclist or pedestrian and causes an instant death.

These covers could be useful, if they were made for containment. Requires something like kevlar that can stretch and absorb the impact.



From what I've seen tires don't really blow as in pieces everywhere but tear then slap around, retreads when they blow tend to remove all the tread which is why you see half a tread on the side of the road sometimes. Containment isn't really too much of an issue IMO. Even thick (3/8) aluminum fenders get destroyed.


When a rear tire blew on my campervan, in addition to having to replace the tire, the blowout caused many thousands of Euros worth of damage to the bodywork.


I would think mechanics are going to become fewer and fewer as less mechanical bits exist on the electric vehicles. Tires, alignment, electrical. Those will be you're bread+butter services.


Have you seen (2) happen with the existing aftermarket products like this?


when a semi tire goes...

... it's usually because the company was too cheap to buy anything but retreads.


Retreads don't fail appreciably more often than new tires. Being in the boring part of the bathtub curve makes up for their age.

DOT HS 811 060 is the study you should Google.


So any given tire carcass I'm likely to see on the road -- hopefully in time to dodge it -- is just as likely to be from a new tire as from a retread?

Sorry, not buying it.


This dismissive attitude of a domain expert's opinion while taking Musk's/Tesla's word on revolutionary claims that they don't even have a working prototype of yet is a perfect example of why the court of public opinion is slowly starting to turn on Silicon Valley


The "domain expert" is doubting that Tesla consulted with any domain experts, after Tesla showed domain experts and waved at a bunch of launch customers sitting in the audience at the event. No one's looking insightful at the moment.


They do have a working prototype; it's in the video.

Also, your comment is ironically pretty dismissive.

As an expert, do you think that the sporadic time/money cost of changing a tire could offset a significant reduction in fuel cost or trip time? How expensive would a tire change have to be to outweigh, say, a (conservative) 30% reduction in fuel cost?


Why do you say it is a fraction of the cost to operate? Because the advert says so? I'll wait for concerns like the parent's to be weighed in before reaching any conclusion.


He's a software developer which makes his opinion on any topic worth a lot more than regular people, for example mechanics who fix trucks for a living. Is this your first day on HN?


Combustion engines need lots and lots and lots of little extra bits to hit the (still very bad) efficiency numbers they have. Every extra moving part is another thing you're paying the mechanic to check, repair or replace. Good for the mechanic, bad for your trucking operation.

Electric motors are brutally simple. So first that means they break down less often, second it means they're less complicated for the mechanic to figure out what the problem is.

And that's before the straight to technical advantages. Take braking. In a normal truck you turn speed into heat by rubbing brake pads. This gradually destroys the pads, so they're a consumable. But an electric truck turns much of the speed back into electricity instead. The pads get much less wear, you replace them less often.


Unless the conversion from speed to electricity is more efficient than to heat, shouldn't the degradation rate be the same? Or is the heat causing most of the degrading?


Braking force in EV is from magnetic fields in the engine pushing electricity back into the battery. Magnets and copper wires do not degrade when used. Pad brakes in EVs are only used when braking HARD, as in emergency stop. They degrade less because they are not used much.


Don’t worry, when the tire blows it’ll take that fiddly piece of plastic with it. Which I think is at least part of parent’s point.


And the 99.9% of time when the truck is running with all tires intact, that fiddly piece of plastic gives, say, extra 5% of fuel efficiency. Even if it requires a complete replacement every time a tire blows, it may be worth having.


He states that they have spent a lot of time talking to truckers and truck companies. I would guess they believe that with an electric drive train repairs and maintenance will be an order of magnitude lower (not sure how that works for tires and wheels). Body damage should also be much lower with automatic breaking and other features of enhanced autopilot. As Musk said, broken glass is a big cost for trucking as you can drive with a broken windshield. They think they have a super glass that is "nuclear blast" proof.


Over the last centuries there were a number of truck and bus manufacturers who tried the single/middle seat design. It was never a seller for any of those.

If you take someone with you, you don't want to sit him/her to sit behind you. You want them to sit next to you. If you are on the road in the city, you have often colleagues with you, like in a moving company and alike. Such trucks are used in construction work where things damage easily because someone else crashes in your truck. No assistant in your truck will prevent that.

Honestly, it seems they may have talked to some friends or their delivery companies, but not with companies from the industry.


Could it be that this semi just isn't meant for those in-city hauls, but more for the longer-range highway hauls?


I would say no because they currently have no sleeper cabin in their design


And I don't see where they can hang the traditional playboy calendar.


On one of those big screens of course, even that calendar has to go with the times after all.


Because of economics of scale, you design one versatile truck chassis. That can then be easily modified like longer vs. shorter for the super structure, the driver cabin is modified in size so that you have a sleeping possibility or not and all those things.

Just take a look, the very same long haul truck is also used by the construction workers. Only the the cabin is a little bit shorter.


That's true when you're big already like Iveco or Caterpillar, but when you're trying to enter a new market it makes sense to cater to a specific subset of the market.


I wouldn't be surprised if the next version included more seats (rearranged towards the cabin center because the driver no longer has to drive), or zero seats (because the driver* no longer has to drive).

Definitely feels like an intentional step towards "don't worry, Tesla will be driving these for you soon anyway".


Don't forget the OTR truckers who frequently like to bring a large companion pet with them, too.


Tires, wheels, suspension, bearings, steering, brakes and drive axles (one from each electric motor to its wheel) will be the same as a regular truck, maintenance-wise.

The maintenance reduction basically only related to the motor itself. And, supposedly the "nuclear blast proof" windshield. A collision with a deer probably be much, much more expensive compared to a truck with a safari grill or plow mounted for safety.


Are you sure brakes go on the list? Regenerative braking uses the motor, not brake pads. The track record of this approach is already proven in cars.


Brakes in trucks are already using regenerative braking for about 20 years right now and its called retarder. Because conventional braking is too expansive.


I took an interest in this and looked up "retarder" on Wikipedia and it mentions engine braking (and exhaust braking), hydraulic retarders and electric retarders which are eddy current brakes more commonly used in the railways. Which one are you referring to?

According to the article, most commonly these are not used for regenerative braking, the energy is wasted as heat instead.

Eddy current brakes can be used for regenerative braking if there's an electric drive train (and high power electronics to handle it) but more typically the energy is just wasted as heat in a cooled resistor grid.

Mechanical/hydraulic braking can be used to spool up a flywheel and this was used in Formula 1 in late 2000's (now they use electrical regenerative braking instead).

Which of these techniques is commonly used in trucks?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retarder_(mechanical_engineeri...


Sorry, for not checking Wikipedia. Because I work in the industry as an electrical engineer defining standards, and owning a historic truck myself just for fun, because I can.

Originally, it is right that retarders were introduced to just having a non-destructive brake by just wasting the energy. That was around the 1980s. This was just to save maintenance cost as brakes were a big part of that costs.

The trucking industry is about costs and every little penny you can safe. So, years ago it started: Why do we waste that energy and do not re-charge the battery with that, because that reduces load from the generator and that will reduces fuel consumption?

Retarders have a huge impact in costs when your are counting miles. Retarders are having the disadvantage you can't brake to full stop with them. That's why they never worked in cars, because they are always additional to conventional brakes. So they add complexity and weight, both of which you want to reduce in cars.


What fraction of the energy recovered by braking is actually stored? I would have thought the battery on a non-electric or non-hybrid truck would be far too small. Surely the battery gets topped off and then the extra power is dumped as heat right?

Is the energy from braking really so small that it can't even fully charge the starter battery?

Honest questions. I figured that since regenerative braking in cars seems to double fuel efficiency, that order of half the power used to accelerate was recovered and I would have thought that was a very large amount of power to store.

Or is it because of the nature of long-haul trips? I know hybrids have much less advantage on the highway, maybe for long-haul trips the ratio of energy lost as air friction to energy lost in braking is vastly different.


> What fraction of the energy recovered by braking is actually stored? I would have thought the battery on a non-electric or non-hybrid truck would be far too small. Surely the battery gets topped off and then the extra power is dumped as heat right?

It is always the question of what type of truck you are running. Do you just have storage goods, or do you have goods that need refrigeration? In the later you need energy to power that. As your truck does not know in advance what kind of trailer will be towed (connected, what is the right word?) the truck needs to be prepared.

Yes, extra power is dumped. But that is true for any kind of vehicle.

> Or is it because of the nature of long-haul trips? I know hybrids have much less advantage on the highway, maybe for long-haul trips the ratio of energy lost as air friction to energy lost in braking is vastly different.

Actually, Hybrid is very good concept for long-haul. Because on highways you can do coasting (sailing as we say in German) very efficient when you are in cruise control. Because with all the little hills up and down at the same speed, hybrid takes its full advantage.


There will always be situations where you can no longer recover energy, fully electric or hybrid. Your battery could be full, or overheating. At that point, you have to waste the energy.

I believe the normal way to handle this scenario is to just fall back to mechanical braking.


Why do most/all electric and hybrid cars have regenerative braking while ICE cars don't? It's because, as the GP said, the battery would be quickly topped up and extra energy wasted. Only electric vehicles doing frequent stops/downhills can make productive use of regenerative braking.

Potential energy lost by a truck going 10 m (vertically) downhill: 40 000 kg * g * 10 m = 4e6 J.

Capacity of car starter battery: 40 Ah * 12V = 400 Wh = 1e6 J. Let's guess a truck battery has 4 times the capacity of a car battery, so 4e6 J to full charge.

That's just down one small hill and all subsequent braking energy for the entire trip is wasted.


To drive the point home, a Swiss company is working on a mining truck that will be a net generator of electricity - it goes up the mountain empty, but when it goes down it is full of heavy ore, and regenerative breaking charges the batteries more than was used to climb the mountain. The extra 10kWh can then be fed back into the grid.

https://arstechnica.com/cars/2017/09/this-cement-quarry-dump...


... Also because electric regenerative braking requires a battery and electric motor (for propulsion, the starter is useless for this). Once you fit regenerative braking into an ICE vehicle it becomes a hybrid vehicle, leaving no ICE vehicles with regenerative braking. :)

(I don't think you would call a vehicle with mechanical KERS system a "hybrid", although it technically is as there are multiple propulsion systems in the vehicle.)


Do note though that engine braking is banned in many population areas because it is so damn loud!


My 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has regenerative braking. Seems to work ok but I'm not sure how much it actually helps.


Regenerative brakes in an electric car use the engine, and add no weight and no complexity.


*motor. Engines are a type of motor that convert heat into mechanical energy (like, say, an internal combustion engine).

(Just being pedantic)


Thank you. I always wondered what was the difference.


Ah, sorry, brakes see less wear. I forgot.

Design and maintenance procedure remains the same, maintenance interval drastically increased.


Technically nothing is preventing toy from installing the grille or a plow. Other than range of course and perhaps added cost on top.


It all hinges on the accessibility of a sturdy frame that can absurd large impacts.

We won't know until it ships, but the front looks plasticky/crumble-zone-ey, and I'm not sure if Tesla would settle for a simple ladder frame.


I often experience absurd impacts when I crash into reality.


Need to get yourself a bigger reality catcher on your grill.


Since installing airbags the problem has been lessened, but a reality catcher sounds like a great augmentation to my vehicle.


I wonder about accidents. Will the driver be trapped, because the glass cannot be broken?


Firefighter here. I wouldn't be especially worried about the glass. Hitting it with a hammer isn't all that impressive (take a hammer to your driver's side window... I bet you'll be surprised how ineffective it is).


But flick a broken spark plug ceramic piece at it, and it falls apart.


Maybe the side windows are not that strong? Interesting question nonetheless.


Strong glass doesn't necessary has to be hard to remove glass. Those are two different things.

Pressing a mechanical button or two should easily disassemble the glass gracefully. At the same while the glass is fixed it should ideally be immune to damage.


Is there a danger that the metal could crumple over the edge of the glass, preventing the removal?


Mechanical buttons have a tendency not to work after big impacts/accidents.


> "nuclear blast" proof

That seems like a meaningless claim without size and distance from the blast.


I just noticed the windows on my car are "nuclear blast proof" too. They survived every nuclear blast that happened since I got this car!


Doesn't really matter, it is just marketing. I guess somewhere through the design phase they did some calculations on how much force it can take and checked it against silly things for Musk to say.

The only point is that it's stronger than normal glass, which is backed up with the video comparing the two different types of glass in a more realistic scenario.


It’s the new “bioweapons-grade cabin air filter”


What does "nuclear blast" mean?

5m to the explosion?

10km to the explosion?

What warhead? 10kt, 10Mt?


It means exactly nothing, and I think that's the point.


I assumed it meant "nonspecifically, but impressively, tough."


Like my fist has the power of a supernova explosion?


Is your fist's energy not a derivative of the big bang itself? Where did you think your fist got its energy from?

Supernova would be underestimating the power of your fist. Truly think about the history of the energy of your system!


YES!


Probably a certain amount of over-pressure. Marketing nonsense, though.


You should probably watch the actual reveal, it's already on YouTube. The glass was already addressed and he gave it a specific focus. Even claiming it can withstand an atomic blast.


Yeah that is just classic "what sounds really impressive but actually isn't that bad" marketing nonsense.

It might be able to withstand an atomic glass but it's still going to crack if a big enough stone his it at 70mph.


Big enough, yes, but there was footage of hitting it with a pretty big hammer.


Tempered glass is particularly vulnerable from sharp, hard objects. This is the idea behind "ninja rocks" : pieces of broken spark plug ceramic that are used by criminals to break side windows of cars.

I'm not saying that Tesla windshields are vulnerable from that, in fact, most windshields aren't. However it shows that resisting a blow from a hammer that is neither sharp nor hard is not a conclusive test.


Worth noting that while side and back windows are tempered, windshields are typically laminated.

The difference is in how they break. Laminated glass will generally crack, but otherwise stick together, while tempered glass will shatter, but into less-sharp pieces (to minimize the hazard of broken glass).

I don't know how much of this matters, but it stands to reason that what works on a side window might not be the same as what works on a windshield.


I've tried smashing a windscreen with a hammer. The first few blows didn't do anything at all. All windscreens are very strong.


The iPhoneX has the strongest glass.

… but actually breaks easier than the iPhone 8 glass.


Are you sure? I saw a YouTube drop test video and the iPhone X survived multiple drops from head height (~66") onto concrete without breaking, but the iPhone 8 shattered.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vHCBwJVeO4

I've dropped my case-less iPhone X 5 feet onto bathroom tile and not even a noticeable scratch afterwards.


https://www.test.de/Apple-iPhone-X-Das-zerbrechlichste-iPhon...

(German Consumer report: iPhone X is most brittle of all iPhones)


It looks like they dropped a single phone, and you didn't even get to see how it fell. Hard to say that's definitive.


Not at all scientifically done.


I think that's because you have multiple factors with thin smartphone glass. The harder it gets, the more brittle it becomes. You probably won't be able to cut into it even with a pretty sharp knife, but if you were to drop it at the right angle it'd shard into a billion tiny pieces.

I have no idea how automotive glass differs, but I imagine the difference in weight and thickness requirements does impact things a lot.

This reminds me of the unfolding problem of sun roof explosions.


the iPhone 8 and iPhone X use the same glass


Maybe it's not the glass but the frame and components. Maybe the notch can pressure the glass when stress occurs ..


lets not compare iphonex to Elon Musk's glass. I know nothing about glass, but, I trust the guy with a company called spaceX on his portfolio to make my glass right.


It’s glass - it’a not pixie dust doped adamantium.

Metals arent particularly strong. Glass, plastics, etc are all stronger (yield strength). But boy are they ductile, and very tough. Iron can take, literally, an infinite number of loading cycle.

You can make ceramics, glass, etc better but the overall performance package of iron is very hard to beat.

If I were to dismiss SpaceX as 1950s technology with modern electronics and engine technology the soviets mastered in the 60s would you be annoyed?

So why dismiss the truck manufacturing industry? Semis are very thought out solutions for their domain.


My problem was comparing the iphone that has a $1,000 price point to the new glass of the semi. I'm not comparing anything to truck manufacturing industry. I presume that that it also costs more than an iPhone. So what's your point?


It's this kind of ridiculous bootlicking that makes me dislike the Musk cult with a passion.


It's not bootlicking. It's just common sense when you factor in cost, thickness and experience with durability. You know, re-entering the atmosphere and not burning up. I don't trust apple's marketing about iphone durability because I have broken several. This is a new product, and already you're comparing it to a smartphone that costs $1,000 and $250 to manufacture? The iphone: 1. lower price point than the truck 2. has to be slim, and lightweight. Many restrictions.

the semi: 1. costs much more than an iphone, which we're to assume accounts for the expensive windshield. 2. the windshield can be as thick as your attitude.


Bow before your your betters, prole. Also, be sure to protest Thanksgiving and Columbus Day as racist by working - nothing says antiestablishment like free labor.


If it is sarcasm I don't understand it.


A few other people have also referenced the "reveal". Does anyone know what is meant by this, and have a link ?


Here's a summary from The Verge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5n9xafjynJA

The full stream is only on YouTube in pirate form so far, so I don't expect links to last. The Tesla channel itself doesn't feature it yet.



Well, the glass is "thermonuclear explosionproof," whatever that's supposed to mean. They are claiming it will never need replacing. Musk did dwell on that for quite a while in his talk.


When the last nuke went off in North Korea, my car window didn't break either. Amazing!


Indestructible materials solve the problems with the wheel shrouds too.


Right, the only problem being that they don't exist.


If you check out the reveal, you'll see that it doesn't have those ridiculous covers, nor does it have near zero clearance between the cab and trailer which would prevent articulation, and nor does it have near zero ground clearance.


> If you check out the reveal, you'll see that it doesn't have those rediculous covers

https://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/tesla-s... ? I'm not sure what you mean. Looks about the same as the linked page to me.

> nor does it have near zero clearance between the cab and trailer which would prevent articulation, and nor does it have near zero ground clearance.

https://i.imgur.com/cECtzId.png https://i.imgur.com/EPIchQz.png

Ground clearance seems smaller because of how huge it is.


> If you check out the reveal, you'll see that it doesn't have those rediculous covers

In the reveal the first truck does have the covers over the wheels, the second one doesn't. Check the livestream at about 3:00 [0]

[0]: https://livestream.tesla.com/


Odd, the article I read had this image: https://c1cleantechnicacom-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/files/201... (or one like it), and looking at the video, it seems they had both on stage? Are there two models? It didn't seem to be discussed.


In the middle of the presentation, Elon mentioned that people were asking for a Pickup truck so they built a smaller version of a pickup truck. The one you linked to is that. They aren't taking orders for it.


The page does say "300 or 500 miles" for the range. Sounds like there's multiple models to me.


They had two on stage. One tall, one less-tall. That's the latter.


Re: Glass: Elon Musk demonstrated that the glass is armored (it's unclear, but that might mean it just won't break under normal trucking conditions)


He showed a video of it in action. Note that Tesla is already pretty good at glass due to their huge glass windshield-roofs on the X and 3, and the solar roof.


Trucks already exist[0][1] that would seem to go contra your last two points (full-width windshield, no bumper/frame, flush lights).

[0]: http://www.renault-trucks.co.uk/media/image/nouvelles-gammes...

[1]: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/wp-content/uploads/2011/0...


Right - I was going to ask if I took an American truck mechanic to Europe and stood him by a highway, he’d look at all the trucks and say ‘those will never work, the windshields are too big and the engine’s inaccessible and all those fairing panels look fragile.’


I believe the main reason for why European trucks look soi different is regulations. European trucks have a length limit that covers the tractor as well as the trailer. Because you want to maximize the cargo space, the tractor is made as short as possible and gets this very un-aerodynamic shape. The truck in essence gets the shape that best fills in all permitted space. In addition they don't have plows or similar that make them take less damage in collisions because Europeans instead minimize the damage to people hit by the truck. Given the US doesn't have those regulations you really need different trucks and one truck won't work in the other market.


A lot of truck mechanics hate cabover trucks because it's so much harder to get to the engine.


Huh, how do American trucks look?


Just to clarify, cab-over trucks are still being used today in the US, though most new ones are smaller cargo-sized. From time to time, I've seen existing COE trucks used; but mostly for private farm use (as they're not nearly as popular as they once were here, and are getting long in the tooth).

https://www.reddit.com/r/cars/comments/16vmzp/why_are_americ...



The engine sticks out in front the driver cabin. They also don't have barriers on the side that keep passage cars from getting under and being hit at head height


Exactly like Optimum Prime in truck form.


A lot of this is probably in order to get a 0.36 Cd Drag coefficient! Also having a lot of glass probably increases the view which in turn increases the security!


I feel like the drag coefficient bit was sort of gimmicky since the projection of the front face is so large on a semi. At 0.36, it's somewhere between a Nissan Cube and Ford Transit


A typical truck has a Cd of 0.7-0.9


Because likely in a few years (less than 5 maybe?) these things will be driving themselves and if they get non-operational damage they'll just drive themselves to the nearest tesla maintenance center to get repaired.


Then it's dead out of the gate, almost every trucking company in existence does in house repairs due to cost.


Call me a fanboy, but something tells me that the guy who built a revolutionary space program from scratch while successfully running a revolutionary auto company, probably has some ability to think things through pretty comprehensively from all angles and plan effectively for what's needed.

Do you think you've just pointed out something that never occurred to him? Do you think if you could share your comments with him, he would stop and stare at you blankly and say "Shit. You're right."

You haven't just deflated the plan behind this entire, multi-year undertaking with your 5-minute analysis, as if you know more than all the engineers working at Tesla. The tone you're taking is just ridiculous.


You're a fanboy. Being good in one industry doesn't mean you can plan for entire other industries and magically determine their domain knowledge or change the way that industry does its business.

I generally like what Musk is doing and think that Tesla is doing pretty great work, but he's not perfect and the pain points people are discussing in these threads are in no way unfounded. It's better to listen to the feedback and concerns in order to improve, rather than just fellating God-Engineer Musk and proclaiming his infallibility.


>think things through pretty comprehensively from all angles and plan effectively for what's needed.

Is that why model 3 production is going so well?


Pretty sure Model 3 production is going amazingly well, yeah. Astoundingly well. But the media's portrayal of it has people convinced otherwise.

Let's try this perspective instead:

"Decade-old electric car company moves up plan for mass production of new affordable long-range sedan by 2 years"

And then ask ourselves, after moving it up by 2 years, does a 3-month delay mean "things are going badly"?

If I say I'm going to leap 500 feet, and then I leap 450 feet, do you say I failed?


> If I say I'm going to leap 500 feet, and then I leap 450 feet, do you say I failed?

Yes, that's what the word failed means.


Considering the long jump record is 30ft, I'd say he technically failed his lofty goal, but was still more successful at jumping than anyone else.

I think that's the point the OP above is trying to get at.


and if your leap is 1 foot instead?


If I owe you $500, and I give you $450, does that mean I paid back the loan?

The consequence of not living up to an expectation depends on what's riding on that expectation. For a company trying to live up to a valuation higher than companies producing orders of magnitude more vehicles, I think it matters.


you over-promised and under-delivered, in that sense you failed.

does it matter though?


I'd say someone who buys robots and operates them manually by men and claims "air resistance" is the biggest challenge in robotics because they should move so fast you can't see them, looks to me as not very sophisticated. But I don't operate robots.


"It's like if you can see the robot move, it's too slow. We should be caring about air friction like things moving so fast. You should need a strobe light to see it"

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4122890-tesla-approaches-te...


He wasn't saying that air resistance is currently a problem. The current problem is that the robots don't move fast enough for air resistance to be a problem. He's basically pushing the question 'Going faster is obviously good. What happens if we go really really fast?'


> Is that why model 3 production is going so well?

I think OP is talking about the big picture, there will always be issues like the on with the production.


I've seen dozens of them around LA. Give it a few months and if it doesn't ramp then there might be a problem.


Additionally, these trucks come with a one million mile warranty. I don't know how many millions of miles a conventional truck is expected to last, but with a Tesla truck, the maintenance costs should be fairly low, at least the first million miles.


I call you a fanboy.


No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.


its a cult of one man and a pity that the man in question still wants to take all the credit i wonder who will take the blame when time comes


You’re a fanboy


It wasn't really from scratch though was it, he hired out people who had already worked with space projects. None of the tech is really new (yet). We used to have the same types of rockets in the past.

Amongst Model 3 fiasco Solarcity too currently has issues.


It's incredible how you trivialize SpaceX achievements. I get it that you probably hate Elon Musk for whatever reason. But you should really calibrate your bias filter.


I love some of his other achievements with Tesla and with solar roofing tiles, but SpaceX has a lot of hype surrounding it.


I think you've got this totally back-to-front.

Tesla makes cars. We've known how to make cars for a while now - even electric cars. What was critical for Tesla was the vision: to see that we were approaching a tipping point where battery technology and cost would make a fully- (and only-) electric car feasible, and the strength of mind and purpose to ignore and/or out-think peoples' legacy objections and misgivings - e.g. with the Supercharger network. There are some Musk-ian details that are advances, such as the single integrated computer system, but that's a relatively small part of the whole.

In contrast, yes, SpaceX (just!) makes rockets, and yes, we've known how to make rockets for a long time. But they have done some things that the rest of the rocket industry haven't even got close to. Firstly, they've revolutionised the process and cost of producing a rocket in this class, by insourcing so much of it, and rethinking the necessary components and technology. Secondly, they've taken the concept of re-use and made it orders of magnitude cheaper (versus, what, the Shuttle?) than before, to the extent that it has/will completely turn the industry on its head. And the techniques and technology they've pioneered to facilitate this --not least the ability to land a 70m rocket upright on a robot barge floating out at sea-- are genuinely, truly revolutionary.


You are totally wrong about SpaceX. SpaceX is totally revolutionary and they have already achieved a huge amount of remarkable stuff that most people did not think was possible.

Lots of stuff has been test or tried before, but bringing things from idea to production ready with the efficiency required and cheap production is fantastically impressive.

You can claim 'it is not basic research' or whatever, but the reality is that they are pushing the envelop on so many topics at the same time that they are leafing all competition in the dust.


Private spaceflight has a long history of pretty computer graphics, small scale prototypes and broke millionaires. Musk made it happen, and made it pay. Also, nobody at all before them, and nobody else even now can land the boosters on orbital-class spacecraft intact.


"None of the tech is really new"? Lol? Could you tell me about the old re-usable rockets from before?


This isn't an agreement with the parents comment about Tesla but re-usable rockets weren't invented by SpaceX. The idea existed for a while and various projects got to different stages. Including a functional 'McDonnell_Douglas_DC-X'.

The project got taken over by NASA and the budget cut before being axed. You really do sound a bit too fanatical and should probably question more instead of accepting companies as entirely revolutionary.


To be clear, the DC-X was not capable of reaching orbital velocity.


"The idea existed for awhile"

Yep, SpaceX has barely innovated at all. Their contributions to space flight are not really of note.


The entire reusability thing was not really a thing before spacex


Wasn't the space shuttle and it's SRBs reusable?


In the sense that both were effectively rebuilt from almost-but-not-quite-scratch for each launch, yes.


Despite claims about the future, doesn't SpaceX also refurbish their SRBs between flights?


SpaceX's rockets are all-liquid fueled. SRB = solid rocket booster.


So they don't refurbish the liquid fuel engines?


Not significantly. And they've re-flown a bunch of them.


There was already a working program that had their funding axed: Here's a video from 1995: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wv9n9Casp1o. There were others too.


Yes, because it is incredibly hard to bring reusable rockets from concept to full execution.

The idea has been arouns for a long time and there have ben dozens of attempts of course, just as flying cars, autonomous cars, real A.I, space elevators.

Concept an execution are vastly different animals, it is at least 1000 times more difficult to achieve resuable rockets than to have the idea and at least 100 times more difficult than to try it.


It really isn't a working program if it's never going to have enough payload capacity to lift its own fuel to orbit. It's a shiny prototype of computer controlled autonomous stabilized flight, like SpaceX Grasshopper. But that's about it.


To answer your deleted question, there would be no point in listing their achievements for you because you're obviously determined to ignore them, and having them listed for you won't change that.


The majority of trucking companies aren't big enough to be able to have in house shops.


Not source checked but it appears that 96% of trucking companies have 28 trucks or less and 82% operate with less than 6 trucks.

http://www.truckingoffice.com/2012/interesting-trucking-indu...


Would be interesting to know how large proportion of trucks were in the 4% largest trucking companies. If that turns out to be a large quantity, then the 96% figure no longer seems that big.


Vast majority have far fewer than 10 trucks.


Define big enough, even owner/operators generally do their own servicing and repairs.


Tesla's gonna be the trucking company before too long.


Mercedes has shown that it is not incompatible with a luxury car brand.


Trucking companies own and operate trucks, Mercedes builds and sells them.


Tesla is promising massive cost savings over traditional diesel trucks, so that might change the service equation.


I suspect trucking companies will get massively disrupted if trucks are driving themselves. Little reason for Google/Apple/Tesla to have them around.


Why wouldn't the side skirt simply hinge up to allow access?


> all that ridiculous plastic

I'd bet those fairings are needed to get the low cD, and that without them the economics are nearly as competitive. I'd give them the benefit of the doubt on having designed for blow outs as that seems rather basic.


This alleged photo shows no cover over the wheels. You can probably just not use it if you don't like it.

http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/future-cars/a12771645/t...


I get the concern, I know a truck driver, damage occurs very often and is difficult to prevent even by the best of drivers. But perhaps bumpers are less necessary when the thing is full of sensors and stops the truck before something is hit? Doesn't prevent damage from thirds of course.


The windshield is a lot more like a modern Class A RV windshield. You don't necessarily need a crane to replace, just a couple guys.

Having some tough glass though as they promoted would be really nice on an RV, I'm jealous.


>* What happens when a wheel seal goes? Do I have to remove all that ridiculous plastic on #2,3 axels??

Seeing as you still need to do a pre-trip inspection, I assume they swing out of the way pretty easily.


Watch the actual reveal before commenting. The glass was addressed.


Why do you worry - only Tesla authorized service will be allowed to repair the truck


Anyone else find it odd they don't talk about the battery?

500 miles of range at 2kwh a mile is a 1000kwh battery which is 10 model S batteries.

Model S battery weighs 1,200 lbs lets assume they somehow improved on that by 20-30% so this is a 10,000 lb battery. Not sure how much the motors weigh, the Tesla motor and inverter are about 350lbs so lets say another 1000lbs.

A Diesel engine, transmission and fuel for 500 miles is about 5,000 lbs.

So I guess they made up 6,000 lbs in lightwieght materials? Or does it have less carry capacity since the trucks can't weigh more than 80k total?

Then there is the cost of the battery. Tesla is currently saying thier cost are below $190/kwh. At $180 that battery is $180,000 dollars cost! They must be counting on the Gigafactory getting it down to $100 kwh, still $100k cost just for the battery. The battery cost is as much as a new Semi's price.

The Megacharger is 400 miles in 30 minutes, that would be a 1.6 megawatt charger. They have to be built out across the country.

I am pretty impressed, I honestly didn't think they would do a megawatt battery. 500 miles is what you need minimum for "long haul" or a solid days driving even though most diesel semis have 1000 mile+ ranges.

Just not sure how the economics work out, but I hope it does.


> A Diesel engine, transmission and fuel for 500 miles is about 5,000 lbs.

You often end up carrying more fuel than you need so you can buy it in cheaper places. And then there’s the whole art of timing your fuel stops around the weigh stations...

> still $100k cost just for the battery. The battery cost is as much as a new Semi's price.

That’s not that crazy if they can actually deliver on the operating cost savings they’re claiming. Big if though.


At 7 lbs a gallon for diesel most semis can carry 200 gallons so add an extra 1000lbs if you like, the Tesla still has to make up 5000 lbs while having 1/3rd the range.

Timing stops for megachargers will be a whole lot more difficult than truck stops until they are as ubiquitous. If you have to use a plain old supercharger your talking 8-10 hours for a charge, don't even bother with a normal plug of any kind.


Elon says that the truck will be charged by the end of the 30 minute DOT required break (14:06 into the livestream: https://livestream.tesla.com/).


That's with a megacharger not a supercharger, there are no megachargers deployed anywhere yet. Megachargers are 1600 kilowatts vs 120 kilwoatts for a supercharger.

A charging station with 10 megachargers going at the same time will draw as much power as a small city of say 10,000 homes.


A municipality with only 10,000 homes isn't even approaching city status, more like a small town... but I get your point.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Settlement_hierarchy


Is that possible? Assuming 500 miles of range at 2kwh a mile is a 1000kwh battery, charged over 30 minutes, is 2 megawatts, if the voltage is the same as the supercharger (480V) requires 4000 amps...


Google says your average powerline carries 10k amps.. so it seems within reason, but it would require some power upgrades ;)


Power = amps × voltage . So no. They are 10kA × 3kV (well, depends on the line), so that gives us 30MW.


Yeah no doubt, there are a ton of unanswered questions here. If they can't retrofit their existing chargers to "mega" status that would pretty severely limit the usefulness of this product.


At least the weight will be (measurably) consistent no matter how much charge is in the battery. That said, they still weigh more than diesel so I assume they'll pay more at the scales.


> they still weigh more than diesel so I assume they'll pay more at the scales

I'm not sure what you mean here. In the US, scales are used to ensure compliance with axle load limits, not to determine any costs.

In any case, since they don't need the weight of a diesel engine, transmission, fuel tanks, or emissions systems I'm not sure how the weight balance will work out.


It would be a slow rollout anyway. First customers would be people with ~200 mile routes, just charge at home base.

Then people with ~500 mile routes that can charge at both ends. grow from there.


It looks like the first big buyer is using them for those short-haul trips.

Does the Semi have a sleeper cab? If not, it won't be used on long-haul routes regardless of battery.


What's required for a sleeper cab? We got some shots of the interior and it looked easily big enough to add a bed or the like. With a battery that big heating overnight should be practically free.


Just the space to put a bed, storage, and possibly a small fridge and microwave.


If you take the Model S and scale it up then people have said the battery is half the cost of the car, and therefore the battery alone is roughly the cost of a normal car. I don't think it would be suprising if the same is true for the semi.

There's at least one rural delivery man who bought a Tesla Model S and paid for it by using the mileage payments he gets for his job. So as long as your route fits, the same kind of high up front cost being amortised over time applies. The more miles you drive the better the economics works due to lower fuel/maintenance costs.

Non-Tesla companies are making pretty much the same pitch in regards to battery busses, again targetting fleet managers who have the spreadsheets in place already to plan and manage this kind of expenditure.


Urban buses are very different and a more obvious target. Stop and go slower avg speed regular short routes with a home base to charge.

Much smaller batteries and taking advantage of regenerative braking.

It is an obvious use case for batteries right now.


A relative is super gung ho for electric buses. The evangelist / champion at an energy company. His vacations are scheduled around various unveiling events, so he can get pics. Kinda reminds me of train enthusiasts.

Any way. Per what cousin tells me, I think short haul urban centric anything is ripe for electric vehicles. Delivery trucks, buses big and small, service vehicles. Maybe even tow trucks (wreckers).


And what's the cost of those busses plus charging infrastructure and the risk of new technology versus overhead power lines like what's deployed throughout much of San Francisco, for example?


How effective is regenerative breaking?


Oddly good.

My commute is ~25 miles one way. In my Leaf, going 65+ mph, I usually burn 25-35 miles off the charge. If I'm in stop-and-go traffic half the way I usually burn 10-15 miles for the same trip.

I've taken quite a few trips where I arrived at my destination with the same amount of battery as when I left. I've yet to arrive with more charge but maybe one day...


That’s probably due more to the aerodynamic drag of doing >65mph than it is the regen braking in stop-and-go traffic. Mileage efficiency takes a big drop in our Leaf above 60mph.

EDIT: as a side note, efficiency takes a big drop in your ICE vehicle, too, I just notice it more in the Leaf with its gee-whiz telemetry.


For buses it is very effective, since they stop every few blocks, whether the stop signal is red or not. It also makes for a huge saving on brake repair and replacement, which you can imagine is a big expense for buses.

Also city buses usually drive under 200 miles a day and then sit overnight so you can have relatively small batteries. All in all, it is hard to think of a type of vehicle where battery power makes more economic sense, and gives you more advantages over ICE.


It depends a lot on how you're driving. Numbers as high as 70% have been published, but I believe that requires the deceleration profile to be ideal, and that might not be the most comfortable one for passengers.


There's at least one rural delivery man who bought a Tesla Model S and paid for it by using the mileage payments he gets for his job.

There's a specific tax deduction for commercial vehicles that cost more than $50000.


I think your price estimate for the battery isn't too far off. If you scoll down on the page they estimate annual fuel savings to be $200,000. They then mention a two year payback period. This seems to imply a sticker price of around $400K.


I am trying to figure out how they get 2 year payback.

"On a 100-mile route, the Tesla Semi will average $1.26 per mile when operating costs are factored in to $1.51 for diesel trucks."

That 25 cents a mile savings, average trucker does 45,000 miles a year, 100,000 on the top end for long haul. Even at 100k a year that's an 8 year payback right?


No, the "payback period" isn't the time to pay off the total cost of the vehicle. It's the time to pay off the difference between the Tesla and the competition.

Here's how you do the calculation:

- Diesel semi: $125k

- Tesla semi: $200k ($75k more expensive)

- Miles driven per year: 150,000 (~8 hours per day at 50mph. Rotating shifts mean these trucks don't take weekends.)

- Net savings per mile: $0.25

- Savings per year: $0.25 * 150,000 = $37,500

- Break-even vs. cost of diesel: $75,000 / $37,500 = 2 years

So after two years you have more money than if you'd bought a diesel semi. That's what it means.


The 500 mile version is 250k which is what I was looking at for long haul.

So if your doing short haul with the 300 mile range version and rotating shifts you can get 2 year payback, ok.


Based on the "With fewer systems to maintain..." precursor to that factoid, I imagine they're also factoring in repairs and maintenance. In the reveal event, Musk said e.g. you'd never have to replace brake pads, a drive train, the windshield, etc.

Also, I'm totally out of my element here (family does trucking but I don't) but 45K miles/year seems like a super low estimate for someone who drives full time. Taking a look at this thread [1], it seems unreliable per month, but people seem to be talking about doing 3K/week or 10-12K/month like it's nothing (as long as your employers have the hours to give).

http://www.truckingtruth.com/truckers-forum/Topic-1229/Page-...


I assumed their cost per mile included maintenance which is pretty standard to do.

To do 2 year payback would be 400k miles a year, which is impossible without nearly 24/7 driving, which could be possible with automation but unlikely they are figuring that.

Those truckers you linked are saying 10,000 a month is realistic without pushing it for long haul OTR so that 120k a year still at least 7 year payback.


The TCO includes the cost of the lease, so it already includes payback of the upfront cost. If you're not leasing it, your cost per mile without considering upfront cost is much better than even the TCO calculation shows, so you can "payback" relatively quickly. If you lease it, you can take advantage of the lower cost of operations immediately.


Your estimations are probably very far off.

The Roadster was announced with a 200kwh battery, which is twice the capacity of the best Model S. Yet the Roadster is much smaller, and the 0-60/quarter mile times indicate that it is much lighter.

So, we can conclude that Tesla is accounting for some real technology optimization in their batteries over the next 4 years, which I'm sure the Semi will see as well.


The Roadster is probably all battery, no reason to think its not 2000 lbs of battery and 1000-1500 lbs of car.

Is there anything to indicate lithium batteries will somehow get 60-70% lighter in 2 years?


Not sure how realistic the whole Tesla releases are. They are definitely inspirational. One thing we know for sure is they have a great prototyping/photoshop/After effects team


I have been wanting to know this as well. With both the roadster and the truck, the battery seems to be quite a bit more advanced than what we have seen previously. The car is smaller than a model 3 but has a battery that is more than twice the capacity of what they said was possible before.

It will be fascinating to find out what is actually behind these vehicles. On a pure specs basis, it sounds incredible.


Diesel trucks with sleepers are not cheap, brand new they cost upwards of $150,000. If Tesla's price point is $250-300k I think it would be fair.


What about the Supercharger network? Fewer highways make it logistically easier to plan for well-positioned charging stations so they can produce smaller batteries that have to be charged more frequently. And the Semi could always hook on a battery trailer for longer hauls.


I'm guessing a battery pack of 2019 will weigh about 60-70% what the old battery pack of Model S weighted per kWh.

See for instance Roadster's 200 kWh, which I'm pretty sure is not twice as heavy as that of the Model S.


I doubt this semi is intended for long-haul trucking. The range however is very tempting for short-haul operations like JIT hubs.


How do you deliver 1.6 MW, is the plan the same voltage as the supercharger (480V) or some HV system?


It's bizarre that the Semi has way less attention than the Roadster on HN.

The Roadster is a $250k car for people with money to burn. It doesn't seem to drastically change the equation from a Rimac Concept One with six-year newer battery and motor tech and savings from volume and automation. The Roadster is the shiny thing that sells less sexy vehicles.

The Semi has the potential to change an entire industry if executed right. They don't need to be perfect if the cost savings are real and reliability is high. We'll see if they get practical details correct and whether production models arrive within 2-3 years of target-- a common Tesla worry. But I feel this has more margin potential than the Model 3 at this stage in Tesla's development.


It may possibly be because the Roadster was a surprise reveal, while the Semi was expected to arrive this year anyways.

Regardless, I am really looking forward to seeing the Semi's on Highways, although I believe that a main roadblock to it will be the lack of Tesla charging stations across the country. Semi trucks drive throughout the US on all major highways, and they have to coordinate their routes according to where the Weighing stations are in each state. Having to add super-charging stations to their routes will certainly complicate their routes, so it should be a bigger priority for Tesla to address those first.


> $250k

Correction: It is a $200k car. The $250k is for a "Founder's Series" which is really just one of the first 1,000 cars out of the factory.

Still a car for people with money to burn, though. I was hoping to be able to get one, but the price is slightly over my budget. I might be settling with a Nissan GT-R.


Sex(y) sells.


Unlike their cars, if they want to be successful they will need to release factory service manuals and sell parts to repair them. It's not going to be acceptable to send it to some far away service center to be repaired, at least for small outfits that heavily use all their equipment. When a critical piece of equipment is down, the mechanic is going to be working through the night hacking it together, possibly waiting on parts that are being overnighted. Diesel mechanics tend to be ridiculously intelligent and very resourceful.


I have read the same comment (slightly modified) on HN since telsa announced their first vehicle.

Tell me, have you actually worked on a new model truck? Because the days of a service manual and a backyard shed are over


> Because the days of a service manual and a backyard shed are over

They really aren't, as much as the manufacturers like to tell you they are.

Sure, the sheer amount of sensors/vacuum systems/electronics/etc make it look too complex for the layman, but as long as you've got an OBD scanner and a laptop, you can make quick work of most things. The biggest issue is manufacturers currently having an obsession with inverse torx head bolts in unusual and frustrating places (i.e. pull the top end off the engine using only a 10mm, 14mm and 17mm, and then juuuust at the last step, there's a sudden 6.5mm inverse torx bit needed to be fetched from Narnia.). But you can always get parts.

Electric cars will be just the same - in fact, I think they'll be easier for the home electrician to work on. Most of the modular manufacturer-specific parts can be interchanged for other components (inverters, batteries, etc). It won't look as neat and clean, but considering that electric cars are fundamentally less complex than internal combustion engines I don't think people will struggle.


Security screws on purchasable goods really need to be banned for anything that doesn't pose an immediate and extreme health and safety hazard.


And I don't think anything sold in the US today, not to the Department of Defense, has anything that poses "an immediate and extreme health and safety hazard".


Smoke detectors contain highly toxic Americum 241 isotope. It's not that hard to remove it from the ionization chamber.


Most modern domestic smoke detectors are now photoelectric, rather than ionization based.

Not only do they not contain toxic Americum 241, photoelectric smoke detectors are also both more sensitive to real fires and less prone to false alarms.

(The later is actually really important, as people will often disable smoke detectors in response to a false alarm - and then forget about them)


We had a kitchen smoke detector in college that was kept swaddled in plastic wrap at all times because it went off every. time. we tried to cook something. Absolutely a safety hazard, yeah.


…while it remains sealed in a layer of gold. It's not easy to get the Americium out.


I'm mostly thinking of high-voltage capacitors. Basically, if sticking a screwdriver in the wrong place could maim or kill you, I'm okay with having security screws there. Otherwise, no.


I’d say cars to belong to that category. Oh, and guns sold to private citizens maybe?


I don't know, an electric car seems like it would contain a few items you don't want to be poking at if you don't know what you're doing. Security screws could a pretty good job of keeping the casual DIYer from electrocuting himself, essentially a "can't open this? Maybe you shouldn't."


Microwaves have high voltage capacitors the size of your hand, which you should absolutely discharge during maintenance.


Airbag assemblies/controllers tend to have these.


Particularly in the era of self driving cars, wouldn't vehicle parts qualify for that?


Sure - I don't disagree, but in reference to

> possibly waiting on parts that are being overnighted.

I can not manufacture at home the parts I need for my 2003 petrol engine, my 1986 - I can.


I don't think they're talking about a backyard shed. More like a distribution business with a fleet of 50 trucks, a well-equipped garage and a full-time mechanic.


fair point, I'd love to hear more from that perspective.

I didn't mean a literal backyard shed :), but a more general mechanic.


You could have a team from Tesla sitting there for service alone. That solves the problem.

A lot of things are this way today.


I have a journeyman in mechanics, tractor/trailers are much easier to work on than most personal vehicles due to the amount of room there is. They are also quite easy to repair, very similar to a computer as in hard drive is bad, replace it, injectors bad, replace it.


Tesla will be selling into a very complicated industry. You think enterprise sales of software are hard, just wait.

Tesla say their system includes all the functions necessary. I haven't seen a list but I doubt it. Even if they do it will literally take enterprise integration projects to hook them up to the largely bespoke systems used by existing trucking company backends.

(E.g. 20 year old ADP systems)


I don't know if the timing is right, but I think what you have to understand here is that all of this is the beginning of the end for the trucking company as you know it.


Sure, but that end was coming before Tesla was a brand name. The trucking industry is surprisingly innovative, despite overall conservative practices.

Go look at Volvo concept trucks over the last few years.


So if Tesla has trucks, and is developing self-driving capability, and the trucking industry is a mishmash of legacy systems, what pieces does Musk need to just go into the trucking business direct?


This is a huge question. It depends on so many things. We can make assumptions on viable strategies given Tesla's finances and past behavior. But that still leaves us with a lot of solution space.

First you have to accept that the trucking industry is conservative. The mom and pop distributors, the big guys, everyone. The people who own, lease and operate the trucks. There are all sorts of legislative hurdles to deal with.

I think a winning strategy is to start with city or county distributors. Lease out trucks at _very_ competitive rates. Do this with an agreement that your backend (accounting, maintenance, inventory) systems will replace _everything_ at the distributor. At first you'll probably have to compromise on this and integrate some things.

On top of that you pretty much have to integrate your onboard sensors/telematics with consumable manufacturers. Unless you're going to manufacture your own tires and such too.


I was thinking more along the lines of Musk setting up a trucking company with a fleet consisting of autonomous Tesla trucks. Obviously not something that can be done right now, but given the push towards self-driving vehicles, and things like Amazon's delivery drones, I'm wondering if the current trucking industry is really Tesla's target market in the long term.


A more complicated industry than SpaceX sells into?


Because of its ubiquity, I would put them on par. However, there are many, many more players in trucking than in aerospace which complicates things.


Indeed. It’s like that for all vehicles. The SM for my car is a windows app. I need a laptop and a cable to debug the car if anything goes wrong.


> It's not going to be acceptable to send it to some far away service center to be repaired, at least for small outfits that heavily use all their equipment.

Hmmm. Doesn't Tesla usually offer a loaner car while a Tesla is in for repairs? If they did the same thing with semis, would shipping companies accept it?


So sort of a subscription model for trucks? You buy (or more likely rent) "a truck" and Tesla supplies you with "a truck" but it's not necessarily always the same truck?


Musk talked about people leasing these trucks, not buying them, so maybe that is the current plan.


If the math works there — could now or over time — then once L5 hits imagine the possibilities. L5 trucks towing broken L5 trucks with a third taking the cargo. I missed the video, but I’d bet huge that needed tech is probably prototyped already, at least in the elonoggin. Well done Elon!


"at least in the elonoggin. Well done Elon!"

You got a little doo doo on your nose.

elonoggin? Really??!


Still kinda giddy about the Roadster, too. Guilty — can’t get enough of Elon’s disruption (personal life aside) —- sue me or grab the pitchforks.. i’ll serve you lemonade. :)


This is true only if your product is designed to tinker. Or you generally have to replace plug and play parts.

When desktops came along many people wondered if they could be serviced as easily as TVs. The answer turns out to be simple, they don't have to be. If the repair + component costs turn out to be in the same ball park as replacing the plug and play part, you don't have to service individual PCBs. To give you a example, recently I had a broken Dell Monitor. Got it fixed in 20 mins at a local service store. Apparently the technician simply removed the whole PCB and put a new one in its place. And there were only 3-4 such PCBs.

You only need to be as intelligent as the abstract interface allows you to be.


You might be pleased to learn that much of the sparsely-populated area of the US does its Tesla car repairs -- including minor stuff like replacing the engine -- with teams of 2 workers and a van -- and 4 hours for that engine swap.

Now imagine how that might work out for the truck industry.


> Diesel mechanics tend to be ridiculously intelligent and very resourceful

Cooool! Can we have a story about this?


Don't have any particularly good story. They are just really good at understanding and fixing anything mechanical using the most basic of tools. I actually think that the type of brain that makes you good at programming is similar to being a good mechanic.


Yep. I've found that my troubleshooting methodology and being able to break down complex systems is equally transferable in between software and mechanics. I think that systems and software people are the "modern" mechanics of the world. It explains a lot as to why my father and grandfather were both mechanics and tradesmen, and I'm now a systems guy.


Absolutely, trouble shooting requires abstract thought and following long logical chains as to why something is failing. Cars are complex systems just like software can be, good knowledge of many different domains inside your main discipline is required to put the pieces together. I have always found good mechanics to be really switched on individuals.


I mean, with Semi's isn't a big thing going to be about self driving, therefore not needing such experienced drivers?

I'm not saying have a kid on there, but what angle do they have if not for self-driving? Poor range, unrepairability?


The comment you are replying to is about repair, not about the drivers. Did you maybe mean to reply to a different comment?


>Diesel mechanics tend to be ridiculously intelligent and very resourceful.

I was just saying about maybe the driver being in the picture isn't something Tesla is going for. A prime argument Tesla has was about eventually eliminating the need for so many drivers. "If not that, then what else?" was what I wanted to say.

EDIT: They seem to have a range of 500 miles. Which is 1/3 the range of normal diesel semi's.


A mechanic isn't a driver

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