For those of you who don’t know Tesla, it may seem strange to you that the car manufacturer has just unveiled an electric semi-truck model. For those of you who do, it will probably be no surprise that the truck is the first in its class. Why?
It’s completely electric. And, it’s a Tesla.
Tesla’s a code name for other things besides electric cars, things such as “expensive” and “extremely cool. In reference to the new semi, comparisons have been made between it and the menacing visage of Darth Vader. If that’s not cool, we don’t know what is.
What Makes It Special, and Will It Be Enough?
Will the unveiling of the semi be enough to redeem Tesla from a surprising “financial crisis”? We think not, but only time will tell. Currently, Tesla reported worst financial quarter yet, losing as much money in one quarter as it did in all of 2016. It’s also behind schedule on delivering the Model 3 sedan, which about 500,000 people paid $1,000 to reserve. The Tesla semi’s go for five times that, with a reservation price tag of $5,000. As of this writing, many major players, including Walmart, UPS and PepsiCo, have secured reservations. What are they hoping to offer their drivers? Trucks that feature:
- A lower center of gravity than other trucks of its class, making it more stable at higher speeds and allowing it to handle more sportily (Wow, spell check says that’s a word!)
- A front trunk space with extra storage
- A range of 500 miles before it needs to be recharged
- One of two models, either “standard” or “aerodynamic”
- A total of four electric engines, with two in front and two on the rear axles (from what I could gather…)
- A centrally-positioned driver seat, with a passenger’s seat to the side and behind it
- Lots of space to walk around in the cab, and more for storage thanks to seating and battery pack positioning (the battery pack is located under the floor of the cab)
- No sleeping quarters (Wait, whaaaat? We have a feeling this little fact, will give commercial drivers some serious pause for many good reasons… Supposedly, this feature may be added in the future.)
- Two screens to the right and left. (No, not one for WoW and one for SWTOR, for you gaming fans out there. One’s for navigation and radio controls, the other is for vehicle and trunk controls.)
- Two traditional mirrors mounted with cameras that display the sides of the truck onto the two interior screens (There’s also a forward-facing camera.)
So, cool, right? Well… maybe. We’ll see if it changes the market, or if it was an expensive and excellent distraction from the belated Model 3 sedans. Also, we’d like to point out that Tesla’s not the only name in the electric semi hat. Due to popular demand for non-smog-spewing trucks that contribute to massive amounts of city pollution, Daimler and Cummins have also made plans for electric semis. Our money is that they don’t look as cool as Tesla’s… but they’ll cost less and drive about the same. Your thoughts? We know what Elon Musk would say…
Since the advent of the electric car (EV), many arguments have been used to accentuate their positives. The one most commonly heard is that the EV’s are far more environmentally friendly than their gasoline-powered brethren. But is this really the case? The answer to this question, as it is with many questions, is “it depends.”
Where Is the Electricity Coming From?
Most proponents to electric cars will point to the fact that an electric car is a zero-emission vehicle. However, for a true apples to apples comparison, one has to factor in the environmental impact created by the production of the electricity used to charge the EV batteries. In most of the world’s larger countries, roughly half of the electricity produced is generated by the burning of coal. In the United States, where 40% of electricity is generated by this method, the net result is a vehicle that reduces environmental impact by approximately 50%. While this reduction is considerable, it does not make the EV the zero-carbon footprint alternative that it is often touted to be. It must be further noted that, in terms of “eco-friendliness,” projected improvements in the efficiency of gasoline-powered engines will also serve to keep the environmental impact gap between the two vehicle types narrow.
While many areas are working to move toward more sustainable, renewable and less impactful means of energy production, these changes will certainly not happen during the lifetime of the current crop of electric vehicles.
Other EV Concerns
When considering the feasibility of the electric car supplanting gas and diesel powered cars as the transportation of choice, many factors must be taken into consideration. Currently, the price of EV’s is cost prohibitive for many, and manufacturers are forced to offer sizable rebates to entice buyers. The limited range of an EV represents a hindrance. For drivers with lengthy commutes or who enjoy car trips, an electric car is an impractical choice. While charging stations are beginning to dot the landscape, it is unclear when or if the infrastructure required to support a large contingent of EV’s can be built.
Are Hybrids a Viable Compromise?
A hybrid vehicle is one that operates part-time as an EV and part-time as a gas-powered vehicle. While this alternative does address range issues, it doesn’t make as positive and environmental impact as the fully electric vehicle and, presently, is also cost prohibitive. Some people buy these vehicles solely because the projected fuel use is much lower. On the other hand, the often several thousand dollar sticker price difference between a vehicle and its hybrid cousin would serve to purchase a great deal of gasoline.
Moving forward, there will continue to be debate concerning the merits of hybrids and total electric cars. Doing one’s best to save the planet is a noble aim, but people should not be misled about the size of stride they are making toward that goal by buying an electric car.
Electric cars have actually been around for quite some time, but a lot of people still do not know a lot about them and perhaps do not trust them when it comes to having them on the road next to them. Some key information is what they need to actually find out if this was a good or bad invention and whether or not they should continue to feel uncomfortable when they see them on the road driving next to them.
When it came to inventing electric cars, it was to reduce the amount of emissions that were being released into the atmosphere. This is a good thing since normal vehicles emit a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere each and every time they are taken out and driven around.
What are They?
An internal combustion engine is not used inside a electric vehicle, but are powered by a battery instead. The battery is made with a nickel and metal hydride combination. This type of battery is generally found in digital cameras. This is the mixture that is generally used for any batteries that are rechargeable. However, currently in a lot of newer models of electric cars – a lithium-ion battery is being used since they have a longer charge range on them compared to the other type of rechargeable battery. They are said to be the future of electric vehicles since they last a lot longer and are more reliable. Cell phones and laptops use lithium-ion batteries and have good charge lives.
How Do They Work?
There is a controller that is located between the batteries and the motors inside the hood of the vehicle. This is what transfers the energy from the batteries into the motor in order to make it go. The amount of energy the controller takes is regulated so it does not take too much, or too little in order to keep the battery life going and also give the vehicle enough power to go at different speeds. This signal is given when the pedal or breaks are pressed by the driver in the vehicle. Much like a normal vehicle would get these signals and send them to the internal combustion engine, these signals are being sent to the controller in order to regulate the energy usage in the vehicle.
There are both long distance, hybrid electric cars and purely electric cars to choose from. Those that are hybrid will take gas and use it sparingly but can go longer distances than those that are just electricity based. Depending on the amount of driving that needs to be done, owners are choosing one over another to ensure that they are able to get there without having to worry about getting a full charge to do so.
They have a good make up and design, but they might not be for everyone. However, they are not dangerous to drive and they provide a cleaner, healthier atmosphere for all to live in. This is safe for everyone involved with the new electric car scheme.
- Published in Electric Cars