Friday, August 25, 2017

Details Released on New Electric Freight Vehicles under Development

Tesla and VW both Looking at Zero Emission Market
Shipping News Feature
US – GERMANY – We have covered on multiple occasions the competition between the manufacturers of freight vehicles for their concepts to replace fossil fuelled trucks, whether with electric-, alternative- or fuel cells. Now two makers of proposed electric freight vehicles have released details of their soon to be produced offerings; one that is so revolutionary it is raising questions on its viability, and another that seems to harken back to the builder's golden age.

According to a report in Reuters, Tesla’s new heavy truck, scheduled for public demonstration in September, will have a range of between 200 and 300 miles and be intended for short haul heavy haulage. Although this has raised questions as to how suitable the vehicle will be, as most existing diesel powered vehicles in the class have ranges of around a thousand miles between refuelling. There are also some doubts as to how expensive the electric trucks will be, with some experts in the technology pointing out that the current cost of fitting enough batteries to a vehicle of that size and weight to cover that range would be prohibitively expensive.

However, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has a well-established of achieving what others considered impossible in terms of technological development and succeeding. During a meeting with shareholders in June, he stated that Tesla was gathering feedback from the trucking industry so as to ensure that there was a viable market for the new semi, stating that:

“We’re getting them closely involved in the design process, so the biggest customers of the heavy duty Tesla semi are helping ensure that it is specified to their needs, so it’s not a mystery. They already know that it’s going to meet their needs, because they’ve told us what those needs are. So it’ll really just be a question of scaling volume to make as many as we can.”

Reuters also reported that their information came from an Executive at Ryders, one of the biggest truck rental companies in the world. If Ryders are planning to order the new Tesla semi in numbers then the freight industry can expect to see the new models in action in considerable numbers.

The second vehicle that has been announced is the new all-electric powered I.D. Buzz from Volkswagen, which the company says will be available from 2022. The new vehicle combines both cutting edge technology, including proposed self-driving technology, with a look that harkens back to the legendary VW Camper of the 1950’s and 60’s, which VW unabashedly admits is to engender nostalgia in the marketplace. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management for Volkswagen, said:

“Our goal is clear: we want to make the fully electric, fully connected car a bestseller around the world. The iconic car of the electric age must be a Volkswagen. The I.D. Buzz stands for the new Volkswagen. We are fully committed to the future of mobility, and we want to reignite America’s love for VW.”

A dedicated cargo version is planned that will be aimed at the light freight market and the estimated range of the vehicle is about 300 miles.