Category Archives: Tesla Semi

Tesla’s Master Plan contains dark matter

In a couple months, while everyone fusses about the Model III ramp, the Tesla Semi will rush from the shadows and shock us. Tesla’s vast commercial applications will suddenly tickle the brain more than the bland ol’ Model III ramp.

It’s tempting to say the Semi kicks off the second part of Tesla’s master plan, but the plan never mentions big rigs at all*. It never mentions the Roadster either. Yet we know both are coming. This means the master plan is like Loch Ness. It’s vast and inky. Big things could lurk within. Things as big as a city bus, or a school bus. BYD currently builds the former, and now Blue Bird has a contract for the latter.

What creatures lurk in Tesla’s Loch Ness Master Plan? Paging Mr. Nimoy . . .

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 12.43.11 AM

*Bullshit. Read comments below.

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Copy and paste. Another Tesla first.

Gas engines aren’t known for their connectivity to each other. Sure, Bugatti managed to hook up two ICEs for the Veyron. But overall, ICEs aren’t easily linked. They’re not modular. They’re not Legos.

But Tesla’s products are indeed Legos. Note the company’s E.Z. copy-and-paste stationary battery installations. This simple modularity will underpin the Tesla Semi (and the pickup). It’s just a multiplication of the existing Tesla powertrain. Take your basic quarter pounder, stack a few of them, and you’ve got an instant heart attack for Big Oil.

It’s funny how sophisticated stuff can be so simple. Isn’t that right, Steve Jobs, wherever you are?

Supercharging a semi with solar

Is it possible? With Musk saying the Supercharging network will eventually go solar, and with the semi on the way, it’s time to close our eyes and picture a semi pulling into a  solar charging station. It’s a splendid vision. But what does the charger look like? A new generation we haven’t seen yet, probably, as a reader commented yesterday. What does the solar array look like? Where is it located? How quickly could it juice up a semi?

This is shaping up to be a weekend of dandruff in the blogosphere as everyone scratches their scalps and ponders this tweet by Flash Gordon, King of the Impossible. How will he make this work?

solar supercharger

One of these is dandruff. One is aspartame, a sweetener. One is pollen.

 

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Master of suspense? It ain’t Hitchcock.

Here’s the shareholder meeting video. Skip to 28:28 for comments about the Tesla semi. And skip to 31:14 for a shifty-eyed hint: “There’s a few other things I haven’t mentioned here. I’d just really recommend showing up for the semi trunk unveiling. Maybe there’s  a little more than we’re saying here.”

Musk made that comment immediately after talking about Model Y, but TeslaMondo predicts this “one more thing” will be a Tesla pickup. It would fit the truck theme of the day and generate a flood of useful feedback. But it’s nowhere near production, you say? Since when does Tesla shy away from super-early sneak peeks? No other major automaker is making an electric truck anytime soon, so Tesla has nothing to lose by showing such a concept. Also, there’s minimal risk of a pickup stealing thunder from existing Tesla products.

Anyway, back to the semi:

Tesla’s big rig customers are helping Tesla develop the big rig. It’s amazing that we haven’t seen any leaked images yet. Does Tesla frisk the participants to make sure they’re not packing cell phones? Apparently. But what happens when Neuralink gives us the ability to take snapshots with our eyes, or even “periscope” live video? You can’t ask people to check their brains at the door. Then again, the audience at last year’s Mars colonization event managed to do just that. Remember the Q/A session? Yeek!

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Tesla semi, while totally novel, brings deja vu

We’ve been here before. The chatter about Tesla’s move into trucking echoes the chatter from Tesla’s early years almost verbatim. People are asking the same old questions: Where’s the market for this? How can Tesla build this, never mind scale this? How will people use this? How will Tesla service this? Where’s the infrastructure for this? How does the math work for this? What about the physics? Why hasn’t anyone else done this?

And, just like years ago, journalists and stock analysts and industry insiders have their arms folded and their heads a’ waggin’ back and forth. But not quite as much, you may have noticed.

That’s because the world is a different place now. Crazy stuff happens nowadays. Rockets make repeat launches. All wheel drive vehicles are more efficient than rear wheel drive. Electric cars are the fastest-accelerating production cars of any stripe. Giant factories are energy-neutral. Davey Inc. is worth more than Goliath Inc. In a kooky world like this, anything is possible, even a hot-selling electric semi.

Regarding a Tesla pickup, apparently warming up in the bullpen, here are two observations:

  • Tesla referred to this as a “different kind of pickup,” but that doesn’t mean anything. After all, Musk said Model III wouldn’t look like other cars, but it looks quite a bit like the Model S. So a “different” pickup might not be radically different. The Roadster, Model S, Model X and Model III are pretty conservative on the outside, despite the totally novel innards, and wisely so.
  • By the time a Tesla pickup hits the streets, Tesla will have much more brand equity or, in a nightmare scenario, the girth to withstand a sales disappointment– just barely. This was TeslaMondo’s biggest misgiving about a Tesla pickup in years past. What if Tesla is shunned by this segment and its locker room mentality? The truck market is irrational, emotional and fickle. It’s steeped in a romantic idea of rugged adventurism. Blue collar guys with stubble and baseball hats, guys that look out of place in Tesla stores, must somehow leave behind Bob Seger and hay bales and move into a new automotive era. This will test Tesla’s marketing talents. Here’s a free assist from TeslaMondo:

like a roc TeslaMondo

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