By now we’ve all heard about how UPS reserved 125 electric trucks by Tesla, as well as the reservations by Ruan Transportation, JB Hunt, and Walmart fleets. Yet while the Tesla Semi is considered the first all-electric Class 8 truck, it is not the only one—not by a long shot. Remember that Daimler Vision One we all saw cruise through Nevada in 2015 on its first test run? That was actually the first all-electric semi, and in fact, in Europe Daimler has been testing the straight truck Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck since 2016. Learn more about all of the other all-electric semis that are transforming the trucking industry right alongside the Tesla Semi.
Electric Truck Brands to Note
In addition to Tesla, there are several other trucking manufacturers and tech innovators that are in the fully electric truck market:
- Thor Trucks
- Daimler Trucks
- Nikola Motor Company
Each of these brands is pushing to put out the first all-electric semi on the open road just as soon as possible.
Timeline for Electric Trucks
Three of the companies are currently taking deposits aka reservations for their trucks—Tesla, Nikola Motor Company, and Thor Trucks. By the way, a reservation ranges from $1,500 for a Nikola One electric semi to $5,000 for a Tesla Semi. As such, these companies are all in the running to put their electric trucks into production within the next couple of years. Tesla states the Tesla Semi will be released for public purchase by 2019.
Cummins Aeos Urban Hauler EV, which will be available for short hauls, is also expected to go to the market in 2019. The Thor Trucks ET-One is also set for production in 2019. What about the Nikola One? That all-electric truck is expected to be ready by 2020. And that Daimler E-FUSO Vision One we heard about first—it will be available in “upcoming years.”
Types of Electric Semis
As for the types of electric semis that trucking companies will be interested in, here is a rundown of each truck currently in pre-production or testing from the fore mentioned brands:
- Telsa is producing the Class 8 Tesla Semi that comes with two package options that offer different mile ranges.
- Thor Trucks is producing the Class 8 ET-One.
- Cummins has produced the Aeos semi that is a Class 8 without a sleeper for short hauls.
- Daimler Trucks has the straight truck Urban eTruck currently on the roads in Europe, as well as the E-FUSO Vision One Class 8 semi that is in creation mode.
- Nikola Motor Company is producing the Nikola One and Nikola Two. Both are Class 8 tractors and the Nikola One comes with a sleeper, while the Nikola Two is a day cab.
- Einride is a Swedish semi manufacturer that is redefining what a semi looks like altogether; this pod-style semi will be available in 2020. This will be an all-electric truck that is run by remote control sans driver.
- Embark has yet to release a name for its truck, but the tech company is working on a long-haul truck that is currently in the testing stage out West in Nevada. This may or may not be an electric truck or simply one with semi-automation technology.
- Waymo is part of the Google tech conglomerate and has a Waymo branded Peterbilt currently in testing mode on the highways. No other information is currently available about this hush-hush project. Is this an electric semi or just another semi-automated rig?
These trucks are all in some stage of planning, testing, and production, which leaves everyone wondering who will come out on the market first? Then there will be the question of how long it will take for trucking companies to add these new trucks to their existing fleets. With the news about companies like UPS placing reservations, we can expect the bigger named carriers to set forth the precedent here with all-electric trucks. In reality, the deciding factor will be based on a cost analysis.
How Much are Electric Trucks
So let’s take a look at the prices that we know about the three companies that are currently offering reservations and expected to produce semis sooner than the rest of the brands:
- The Tesla Semi is the least expensive with trucks costing between $150,000 and $200,000. For that, you get a range of 300 to 500 miles on a single battery charge. In addition, the Tesla Semi is thought to provide 1,000 horsepower.
- The Nikola One with the sleeper, which is the truck most trucking companies will go for, costs the most of the three at $375,000 per semi. But this will give you the most bang for your buck. This semi offers 1,200 miles per charge along with 1,000 HP.
- The Thor Trucks ET-One is between $150,000 and $250,000, which puts it at the mid-range for higher-end models. The truck offers the least range at a max of 300 miles and only 300 to 700 HP.
Ultimately, you can expect the Tesla Semi to be a big hit based on the lower price range aka investment. Thor Trucks will most likely be lost in the shuffle due to having the least amount of power while still pricing the ET-One at the higher end.
As for the Nikola One, this rig is the last to be in production and has the higher price range. Those are two strikes against it in the race for electric semis. But you get far more with the Nikola One in terms of power and performance so we might see this one pull ahead as a winner. After all, when a trucker can drive twice to four times longer without having to find a charging station, that means they are able to earn more money on hauls.
All in all, as a truck driver you can bank on seeing and possibly driving one of these futuristic big rigs in the next year or two.