In announcing the Tesla Semi, Elon Musk made no secret of the fact that it will be much quicker than any diesel alternatives.
However, do long-haul truck drivers even care about performance? According to the UK’s Road Haulage Association (RHA), they don’t.
Speaking to Autocar earlier this week, RHA policy advisor Rod McKenzie said performance figures aren’t relevant to truck drivers and the lack of charging points and minimal range of the Tesla are huge concerns.
“Hauliers don’t care about these claimed figures. They’re not relevant to us. We’re not looking for performance, not least because lorries’ speed is limited to 56mph.
“The Tesla Semi has a reported range of 500 miles. That’s quite a lot less than a diesel lorry. It means charging. First of all, where are the charging points? There aren’t many around. And lorries can be filled up with diesel very quickly.
“Musk said there would be quick-charging in 30 minutes but I think we need to see charging times in real terms. Any loss of time greatly reduces our operational efficiency,” McKenzie said.
According to Musk, the Tesla Semi will accelerate to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 20 seconds with an 80,000 lbs payload. Without a trailer, it’ll complete the sprint in five seconds. While truck drivers may not care about this straight-line performance, many car drivers will, particularly if it means they won’t get stuck behind a slow-moving truck when pulling away from traffic lights.
Interestingly, McKenzie went on to suggest that most hauliers are conservative and not willing to take risks, and that includes ditching a reliable diesel vehicle for an unproven semi from a company that can’t make any money.