The UK’s leading haulage association says that performance is irrelevant and that viable use of electric lorries is 20 years away

The announcement of the Tesla Semi electric lorry included some grand figures, not least a 0-60mph time of 5.0sec. But how relevant are performance figures in an industry so heavily led by cost and business efficiency?

Not very, according to the UK's Road Haulage Association (RHA). “Hauliers don’t care about these claimed figures,” the RHA’s policy advisor, Rod McKenzie, told Autocar. “They’re not relevant to us. We’re not looking for performance, not least because lorries’ speed is limited to 56mph.”

McKenzie added that while the RHA thinks electric lorries are the way forward, they will not be in the short term. “My gut feeling is that they are 20 years away,” he said.

Tesla Semi revealed 

McKenzie named cost, range and cargo capacity as the main reasons why he reckons electric lorry uptake will not arrive for some time.

“I’m worried about the price point," he said. "The Tesla Semi is likely to cost more than £200,000, which is beyond the budget of hauliers in the UK. A lorry here costs £85,000. And with the industry making margins of 2-3%, we can’t afford that extra cost. 

He continued: “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.”

When asked how lorry drivers have reacted to the Semi, McKenzie said: “I’ve spoken to a few of them and most have laughed. Tesla has a lot to prove. Hauliers are not risk-taking people and will need to be convinced.”

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Tesla Semi revealed 

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Comments
41

21 November 2017

More click bait from Miss Burgess

21 November 2017

Is that Mr McKenzie's gut feeling is wrong. 20 years for electric trucks would take us through to 2037 and I doubt there will be many human beings driving trucks by then.

 

 

21 November 2017
Hedonist wrote:

Is that Mr McKenzie's gut feeling is wrong. 20 years for electric trucks would take us through to 2037 and I doubt there will be many human beings driving trucks by then.

 

 

 

his probably right as even 10 years from now it will still need a human driver to assist in emergency’s. It’s probably 20 years till a lorry can travel pilotless.

21 November 2017

Otherwise there'd be potential for enormous cost savings by switching to electric power. But it must be free and have limitless availability, seeing as the article doesn't make any mention at all of fuel costs. Also the comments about hauliers not caring about performance clearly come from someone who's never been stuck behind one truck as it overtakes another with a speed differential of 1mph.

21 November 2017
mr_phillip wrote:

Otherwise there'd be potential for enormous cost savings by switching to electric power. But it must be free and have limitless availability, seeing as the article doesn't make any mention at all of fuel costs. Also the comments about hauliers not caring about performance clearly come from someone who's never been stuck behind one truck as it overtakes another with a speed differential of 1mph.

You're confusing car drivers stuck behind elephant racing wagons and their drivers who clearly dont give a flying one about how quickly they overtake each other.

21 November 2017
mr_phillip wrote:

Otherwise there'd be potential for enormous cost savings by switching to electric power. But it must be free and have limitless availability, seeing as the article doesn't make any mention at all of fuel costs. Also the comments about hauliers not caring about performance clearly come from someone who's never been stuck behind one truck as it overtakes another with a speed differential of 1mph.

 

You appear to think that diesel, taxed approximately 250%, is much more expensive than electricity taxed hardly at all. If a large percentage of transport changed to electric then 

1 /.   We would need far more power stations

2 /.    The governments loss of fuel taxes would have to be replaced, a tax on vehicle use? Or added to electricity used for transport

3 /.   Someone is going to have to pay for many thousands of rapid chargers, who apart from the private motorist and general consumer will that be.

4 / We would need more electricity pylons marching across the countryside.

5 /  There would have to be careful changes to driver hours regulations to fit in with recharging.

6 /  There would have to be a huge surplus of recharging points or deliveries would be delayed costing lots of money.

7 /. Lots more lorry parks would be needed, who do you propose is going to volunteer to pay and upkeep them, after all the oil companies will not be providing them.

Lorries overetaking one another with a tiny speed difference is the result of them being governed to 56mph, 90kph, by EU law. A  Tesla lorry can have masses power but will be no faster at overtaking on motorways than current lorries. In the US trucks can drive at the same speed as cars, often 75mph.

21 November 2017

1. We wouldn’t need loads more power stations. If you look on Gridwatch.co.uk you’ll see an average of over 20% of our power now comes from renewables which have only been built in the last 6 years, so we could easily, cheaply and cleanly add capacity in this way if we needed to. Also it uses over 7 kWh of electricity to refine 1 gallon of Diesel, if you put the electricity into a truck you’d go nearly as far on the electricity as you would on a gallon of Diesel. So if we stopped refining the fuel we’d have nearly enough electricity anyway.

2. Agreed, tax would have to come from somewhere, but electricity is still cheaper bang for buck. 

3. They will have to pay for these charging stations, but most of that is included in the price of the trucks as Tesla are installing a network of truck chargers just like they have car chargers. The ongoing costs of these are significantly less than fuel stations. 

4. There won’t be much change in terms of pylons, especially as battery grid balancing and local renewables reduce grid losses and are positioned locally.

 

5. Drivers hours may need adjusting, but I think it will benefit the driver. It will take him less than 20 seconds to plug in, then he can begin his break, at the moment it usually takes 10mins minimum to refuel while he can’t do anything else. He then returns from his break Charged. There is also the option of destination chargers while unloading so that on routes with less than 500miles in one stint there will be no downtime for refuelling. Also even at 56mph (which you could never achieve as an average) that would be 8.9 hours constant driving. 

6. There wouldn’t need to be a big surplus as much of the charging, like with electric cars is done at home, trucks will be able to destination charge at depots or haulage yards. 

7. Overtaking trucks, well the restrictions are true, but if you can keep a perfect 56mph up gradients it will be an advantage to other trucks and you would dive past them. It will also be easier for trucks to pull out onto motorways and busy roads as they can get up to speed much faster, with all that extra torque and no gears. 

 

21 November 2017

Musk is an eejit. Does he really think wagon drivers even in the US, where, distances and therefore range, are required, are that bother about a 0 to 60 time of 5.0 seconds?

21 November 2017

You are the idiot, The 0-60 time is just a side benefit of the fact that its electric.

The whole idea that Musk was trying to make was that it would be cheaper in every way than Diesel, plus the fact that it has advanced autopilot, has convoy ability , a fixed energy cost, Brakes that will never need changing due to regenerative braking and astoniching reliabilty.

But all that is wasted on you.

22 November 2017

Youre right  @lambo1, the performance is a side benefit, I thought it was obvious, anyone who thinks otherwise has clearly missed the point.

 

Youre totally wrong about regenerative braking though - it means that brake pads will need to be changed far less, not "never need changing" thats plain silly, the pads will wear eventually.

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