Elon Musk is not afraid of grabbing the headlines. Whether he’s smoking weed on a webcast, announcing plans to make Tesla private, accusing someone of being a paedophile, or discussing his plans in outer space, it seems there’s never a dull minute with this guy around.
And then there are his claims about the Tesla Semi – specifically, what this all-electric truck can do.
But speak to anyone in the diesel truck industry (and by that I mean anyone who isn’t after column inches) and one question keeps coming up: where’s the proof, Elon?
Last year, we heard claims of 500-mile range on a single charge and 80,000lb capacity. At prices ranging from €130,000 to €170,000, Tesla is estimating the cost of operation at €1.07 per mile. All of which would mean €170,000 in fuel savings and a two-year payback period.
It’s no wonder the industry is raising a collective eyebrow.
Jon Mills, a spokesman for engine maker Cummins stated: “Right now, we don’t think it’s viable. Electric trucks are more viable where you have shorter routes, less loads and you’re able to recharge.”
And he should know. Cummins, known as a diesel engine manufacturer, is currently working on its own electric trucks.
According to Mills: “Diesel will be the primary option for heavy duty trucking markets, long haul especially, for a decade or more.”
The consensus seems to be that until we see a thorough demonstration of the Tesla Semi the verdict will remain out – on the truck and the man behind it.