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Old 12-05-2018, 07:22 PM   #1
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Tesla Semi Test Mule caught at supercharger. Video.

Get the MDT version and drag your big a$$ 3 axle fifth wheel with this baby. Stealth style. Nobody will even know you are coming.

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Old 12-05-2018, 07:49 PM   #2
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That is one cool semi. Very quiet and stealthy for sure.

SpaceX had a successful launch today. Maybe these types of semis will be a reality in 10 - 20 years.

Go Ian Musk
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Old 12-05-2018, 07:56 PM   #3
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That is one cool semi. Very quiet and stealthy for sure.

SpaceX had a successful launch today. Maybe these types of semis will be a reality in 10 - 20 years.

Go Ian Musk
Heh heh. Could be...or sooner.

Oh; its Elon Musk. Not Ian.

I'm willing to bet the first big RV being pulled will be some Formula E driver pulling his fifth wheel or whatever they live in on the road.

Cheers
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:04 PM   #4
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As a class 1 commercial driver I have always thought the central location of the driver (operator?) seat in the Tesla design was seriously flawed. Roadways are structured for drivers to be biased to one side (left in North America and right in Britain and many parts of Asia). 100% of torque available at "idle" is a major advantage of DC drive motors.

I'm very pro electric power but this decision seems far more steeped in design than pragmatism.
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:09 PM   #5
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As a class 1 commercial driver I have always thought the central location of the driver (operator?) seat in the Tesla design was seriously flawed. Roadways are structured for drivers to be biased to one side (left in North America and right in Britain and many parts of Asia). 100% of torque available at "idle" is a major advantage of DC drive motors.

I'm very pro electric power but this decision seems far more steeped in design than pragmatism.
Hey Roaddog. I've heard that from other proffesional drivers. I wouldn't be surprised if you are right and this is only for the Test Mules. The purchasers will maybe be able to spec them left or right or whatever. Who knows. I think the timelime is still something like June 2020 for production. Rumour has it the Nevada factory. But thats a rumour...
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:26 AM   #6
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Were I the designer, knowing how thin the batteries are at least for the cars, I would put a layer of batteries in the floor of the trailer and adjust either trailer height or drop the floor accordingly so no space lost. I would keep a battery in the tractor so obviously it could still move unhooked, but think what kind of range you would have. It would be a bitch to charge.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:36 AM   #7
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Were I the designer, knowing how thin the batteries are at least for the cars, I would put a layer of batteries in the floor of the trailer and adjust either trailer height or drop the floor accordingly so no space lost. I would keep a battery in the tractor so obviously it could still move unhooked, but think what kind of range you would have. It would be a bitch to charge.
Neat idea. Maybe better suited for task specific trailers instead of general haulage. I donít know enough about the industry to know how long the trailer is parked as far as charging goes. Will be fun to watch the developments. I would think medium and short haul will be the market over the next decade or so.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:02 AM   #8
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Jpcoleman:

Great idea in concept but the mega-carriers that are interested in the DC powered power/traction units (what we call the "tractor") routinely pull not only their own trailers but other customers' as well. Also, by eliminating the diesel engine, you free up weight in the power unit for batteries. Most shippers these days are pressuring transport companies to use lighter trailers so that they can maximize their load weights in trailers for transport so adding any weight to the trailer section (as long as current weight regulations exist) wouldn't fly in the industry. In fact, certain contracts between shippers and transport companies now require ultra-light power units with short noses, smaller fuel tanks, thin lightweight aluminum 5th wheels and aluminum wheel rims just to squeeze out every ounce of cargo capacity.

Lastly, the load capacity of any combination unit ("tractor trailer") is limited by axle weights - in fact summing axle weights at scales is used to calculate gross vehicle weight instead of weighing the whole unit at once - so you want to ensure you have the weight as close to perfectly distributed on each of the steer, drive and "drag" axles in order to maximize legal weight capacity.

I pull Super-B trailers loaded with fuel exclusively in Canada these day and my axle load limits (which are higher in Canada than the US) are:
Front steer axle - 5500 kgs
Drive axles (2) - combined 17,000 kgs
Bridge axles (3) - back axles of the lead trailer, supporting the pup trailer 5th wheel connection) - combined 24,000 kgs
Rear trailer "follower" axles (2) - combined 17,000 kgs

for a gross vehicle weight of 63,5000 Kgs - just shy of 140,000 lbs.

Balancing a load over 30 tires is an art... which also keeps me from massive fines at weigh scales!
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:09 AM   #9
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Ahhh. I get what you are saying. Limits the tractor to pulling only their trailers. Kinda limits free lance work I suppose. Is independent trucking still pretty big? Eg, buy a tractor and start looking for loads?
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:16 AM   #10
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More often, owner operators will sign exclusive contracts with companies to operate under their authority and essentially look like company trucks to the shipper but are operated as independent contractors.

There are independents out there who look for their own loads or have business agreements with logistics companies or find loads on job boards but those drivers are becoming fewer and fewer, at least up here in Canada.

Normally, owner operators own the power unit but the transport companies (JR Hall, Swift et al) own the trailers.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:33 AM   #11
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That is all great info.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:38 AM   #12
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I think it may be hard for independanta to get access to megachargwrs for the next decade. My guess is megachargers will be located at central depots that serve short and medium haul routes. Things move pretty fast though. The Supercharger network is growing quickly right now although that won’t help a semi. Interesting times.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:40 AM   #13
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Shippers are SO interested in not wasting an ounce that Walmart has spearheaded the use of 60' trailers in their private fleet for pulling the maximum volume of lightweight goods like paper towels or a mixed load of light density consumer goods. I would imagine companies like Frito-Lay would also be very interested in a longer trailer for their low density potato chip loads.

FTR, standard dry van length these days is 53'.
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