This week, the chief executive officer (CEO) for Tesla, Elon Musk, revealed the company's latest product known as "The Beast." The futuristic yet powerful semitruck is an electric model.
From a traditional standpoint, electric big rigs make little sense. When you consider the design of most 18-wheelers, the emphasis is on the large cargo areas built to contain the goods and raw materials. But electric vehicles require a good bit of space for large-capacity batteries to power them on their trips.
Finding enough space for sufficient battery power for these trucks to go the distance compromises their cargo space. Using fewer batteries to power the big rigs means that they would need to stop and power up much more frequently.
As any trucker will tell you, a parked semitruck is eating into the profit margins.
Yet Tesla has been building the hype for its latest product reveal, which was supposed to have occurred back in September. However, after Hurricane Maria damaged Puerto Rico so extensively, they diverted their resources to help the island get back on the power grid again.
Tesla is not the first company to release an electric delivery truck, though. But these versions travel local routes slowly on their deliveries, with the starting point and terminus being the same.
Will "The Beast" just be a larger version that hauls goods from port locations to warehouses, distribution centers or railroad lines? Or does Musk have a secret ace up his sleeve?
That remains to be seen, as the company that strives to remain a cutting-edge force in the transportation industry likes to push the envelope. It also is reported to be adapting semi-autonomous driving technologies for 18-wheelers.
Of course, the safety of these types of vehicles must be thoroughly tested before they are turned out on the road. These new technologies may also force a sea change in the handling of personal injury claims arising from accidents with these trucks.
Source: CNN, "Get ready to meet 'The Beast:' Tesla's semi-truck rolls out tonight," Peter Valdes-Dapena, Nov. 16, 2017