Podcast - This Is Only a Test

Episode 360 – Master Plan, Part Deux – 7/28/16

We’re back from San Diego Comic-Con with another Duocast! But this week it’s Kishore who’s on vacation as Jeremy comes back from his family camping trip. We recap some of the things we saw in San Diego, along with big tech news from Yahoo and Tesla.

Comments (7)

7 thoughts on “Episode 360 – Master Plan, Part Deux – 7/28/16

  1. There are some big, potentially insurmountable problems with a Tesla semi truck.

    The first problem is weight. An electric big rig would still have to be able to run 12-16 hours a day and charge in 8. Even though Lithium batteries are relatively lightweight and energy dense, the number of batteries and electric motors you would need to be able to pull a heavy load up and down mountains all day would weigh significantly more than even the huge heavy cast iron diesel engines in traditional semis. The battery pack in a Model S weighs 1200 lbs, and it only has to move 5000 pounds 300 miles. A semi would need to do three times that distance while hauling up to 16 times more weight. That means that a Tesla semi wouldn’t be able to haul as heavy a load as a traditional semi without running up on the weight limits.

    The only way to get enough range would be to cover the top of the trailer with solar panels, and this leads to the second big problem. This is a problem because big rigs swap trailers often, and there are loads of different types of trailers. A Tesla big rig wouldn’t be able to haul logs, or cars, or a flatbed, or modular cargo containers from ships. It would pretty much only be able to haul box trailers, and only box trailers that are compatible with the tesla system. That means that a company that wanted to use Tesla big rigs would have to upgrade their entire fleet in one go, which just isn’t financially reasonable or responsible for anyone.

    The third big problem is infrastructure. Pretty much every truck stop in the nation would have to install charging stations. These charging stations would not only be way more expensive per unit than a charging station for a passenger car, but the truck stop would have to install a lot of them in order to make sure that everyone who pulls in with a tesla truck has the ability to plug in. This is a lot to ask of companies whose raison d’etre is the sale of diesel fuel.

  2. Yup Tesla Semis are not going to happen any time soon for regular companies and drivers. Trailers are disposable commodity swapped around all the time also to adapt to different loads.

    Maybe Amazon, Fedex or UPS would be interested as they have defined central facilities with predictable traffic and shared infra structure. That must be the target of Tesla to get into electric trucking.

  3. Regarding cellphone finger print readers – mine has a lot of trouble in winter when my skin is a lot drier. I have to retrain it. I suspect that building a finger from a fingerprint would not guarantee successful unlocking of a phone, even if it was a perfect reproduction of the finger at the time the print was made.

  4. Hey Norm, I take exception to your assertion that people that buy F150’s don’t want Tesla’s. I have an F150, because my wife and I need a truck frequently. However, we waited until the EcoBoost option was available so that we could get better gas mileage. We very much want to replace my wife’s car with a Tesla. Sadly, the model S is out of our price range. We are eagerly awaiting the Model 3.

  5. I think Tesla’s “miles on autopilot” claim is invalid because 1) autopilot is incomplete, making the results invalid and 2) road and traffic conditions directly impact the effectiveness of the system. For example, the incidence of car accidents go way up when the weather is bad.

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