By on June 1, 2017

tesla factory fremont, Image: Tesla Motors

It’s not just the range — it’s the weight, too. Oh, and don’t forget about cost. These are some of the potential stumbling blocks facing Tesla’s introduction of an electric semi truck, say Carnegie Mellon University researchers in a peer-reviewed study expected later this month.

Tesla has two trucks up its sleeve. One, an electric big rig, is slated for reveal this September, while an electric pickup should appear within the next two years. So far, it’s looking like the latter vehicle is the viable one.

The study, to be published in the American Chemical Society’s ACS Energy Letters, was previewed by Wired. In it, the researchers call into question just how practical an electric, long-haul 18-wheeler can be.

“The challenge is on par in difficulty level with electric airplanes,” said Venkat Viswanathan, who crafted the study with colleague Shashank Sripad.

There isn’t much known about the looming big rig, except that it will use the same motors as the upcoming Model 3 sedan. Based on this information, and using the current Tesla standard of a battery pack generating 243 watt-hours per kilogram, the researchers examined all of the factors affecting transport trucks: anticipated load, distance traveled, aerodynamic drag, etc.

A typical semi covers between 300 and 600 miles a day. To cover 600 miles without charging, the truck would need a 14-ton battery, the study claims. Boost the range to 900 miles, and the battery would tip the scales at 22 tons. While battery prices are trending downwards, current prices state the packs would carry a price tag of $290,000 to $450,000 alone, minus the cost of the overall vehicle. Compare that to the price of a regular diesel semi — roughly $120,000.

Because federal laws limit a truck’s gross weight to 40 tons, a Tesla big rig configured in such a manner would likely only be able to haul 9 tons of cargo — far less than the average payload of 16 tons. When you add to that the inflated price, you’re left wondering what shipping company would pay for such a vehicle. Yes, electric vehicles are touted as having lower ownership and maintenance costs, but such a truck would have to be on the road for a very long time before making up the difference. As well, there’s the issue of recharging times.

“Our paper suggests that using a bigger battery pack to achieve longer range maximum payload is unfeasible, given the energy density of current lithium-ion batteries,” Viswanathan says. “Three hundred to 350 miles is probably what the vehicle could be designed for. Beyond that, the battery would be both very heavy and very expensive.”

Advancements in battery technology will ultimately breed lighter packs with greater range, but the great leap forward in stored energy hasn’t yet occurred. At least, not on a mass-produced basis. The study’s authors anticipate a “beyond lithium-ion battery pack” will one day make an electric semi capable of hauling a full load the desired distance.

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73 Comments on “Researchers Cast Doubt on Viability of Tesla’s Electric Big Rig...”


  • avatar
    mcs

    Here’s a response to that study:

    http://insideevs.com/analyst-shoots-down-critics-says-tesla-semi-range-weight-not-an-issue/

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      A point that analysis makes is that most long haul trucks run out of volume before running into weight limits. Consistent with that is the number of those trucks equipped with needlessly large and heavy sleeper units.

      • 0 avatar

        It seems depend what it all weighs. One report claims 4000 lbs of battery the other is claiming 10,000lbs of battery. 10 would be an issue 4 probably not.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          a Model S has 1,000 lbs of battery. that “anal-yst’s” claim that a heavy truck might only need 4,000 is asinine on its own.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            “Asinine” is a pretty strong word when the battery requirements depend on the type of truck, type of use and recharge or battery swap opportunities. Not to mention potential advances in battery technology.

          • 0 avatar
            Ermel

            Why would it be? A Diesel semi typically uses 30-40 litres of fuel per 100 km (8..6 mpg approx.). So if it has four times the battery capacity of a luxury sedan with the same horsepower, it should achieve a similar range by first approximation.

          • 0 avatar

            The car does not use as large a percentage of it’s horsepower to move, as the truck does.

            So just to make up numbers. A car may only need 17HP or 12.5KW to roll along at 60 mph, where as a semi may need 120 hp or 89KW. Thats without going into losses due to increased friction air flow etc, that would also be on level ground add hills it gets worse.

            These are just back of hand notes based on some crappy formulas I find online so it may be off but they sound about right.

          • 0 avatar
            Ermel

            @mopar4wd: Doesn’t matter. The 6..8 mpg are real-world long-distance big rig fuel consumption figures as achieved by myself with a Mercedes Actros. Would a Diesel Panamera use less than a quarter of that (thus, 24..30 mpg) in real-world highway driving? If not, and I doubt it would, then nor would a Tesla Semi consume more than four times the juice per mile than a Tesla S, because why should the difference be worse than with the Diesels?

            Also, “add hills and it gets worse”: Nope. The electric semi could fill its batteries by braking electrically downhill, where a Diesel semi can just heat its coolant and/or brakes.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        “Consistent with that is the number of those trucks equipped with needlessly large and heavy sleeper units.”

        Yeah, stupid truck drivers, they don’t need a comfortable place to rest after driving 600 miles delivering things we buy and use everyday! They should be happy they’re out of the trailer park.

        By the way, those cabs are made of materials like aluminum and fiberglass. They don’t actually weigh that much, and the purpose they serve is important. But yes, we can reduce it to the size of the extended part of a 1980s S-10 extended cab so we can make Lord Elon and the Prophet Gore’s Vision come true.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @JohnTaurus: If it’s used just for local deliveries, then it really doesn’t need a sleeper. Grocery chains and beer distributors use semi trucks to move from local warehouses to retail stores. I’ve never seen those types of trucks with sleepers.

          https://cdn2.commercialtrucktrader.com/v1/media/5924cbb294e0a160a122b061.jpg

          https://goo.gl/FZKVwN

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Long-haul trucks may be a problem, but not trucks used in urban areas. Long-haul trucks face high wind resistance of higher speeds and for long times. Battery swapping could reduce this issue.

    At the slower speeds of urban use, wind resistance is not a big loss. Energy is needed mostly to go up hills or get moving. Most of this is recaptured at the next downhill or stop. So the battery need not be huge.

    Already electric transit buses are showing up. You need only do an Internet search for “electric transit bus”. For example: http://www.wired.com/2016/09/new-electric-bus-can-drive-350-miles-one-charge/amp/

    Another point is that most long-haul truckers must abide by rest/work schedules that would accommodate recharging batteries.

    Article score for value: 50%

    • 0 avatar

      That article states a 660 KWH pack. Based on the weight of Teslas current 85KWH pack (1200 lbs) and the fact you would need to account for 70-80k lbs of truck versus 30k of bus it seems that a pack would likely need to be well in excess of 10,000 lbs in order to have a 400-500 mile range. So that would be an issue. Now Tesla can aim this at local routes and that would be fine. It will be interesting to see.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Has there been any word from Tesla on this being marketed as an urban-focused semi truck? Who uses a semi exclusively in an urban environment?

      Most often, with large/heavy loads being moved in an urban environment take place, it’s the domain of medium duty trucks like the cabover trucks from Isuzu/GM, Hino and others, and medium duty conventional trucks like Ford F-750 and similar Hino, International, etc trucks.

      Semi trucks are used for interstate long distance travel. The cargo they haul is a bit heavier than a bus with some humans in it. I didn’t read the article, but can that bus do 350 miles on I-10 in west (hilly, hot) Texas at a sustained 65-70 MPH? Can it do it over the mountains heading out of Seattle or Denver?

      You’re grasping at how this is some how possible because Lord Elon says it is. This only happens if they have a trick up their sleve, a impossible leap forward in battery technology and cost reduction.

      Or, its a truck, theoretically, and its aimed at a very narrow market making it an impractical alternative to a common semi or medium duty trucks we all envision it replacing.
      It won’t compete well on price nor usability, unless under specific conditions, including “planned infrastructure” and “future advances” and….

      in another word: vaporware.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I would not be surprised to see these Tesla trucks being used as transfer trucks – running from a central hub out to smaller towns. UPS and FedEx run cargo to the metro hub and then out to the rural towns a ~100 mile radius from the metro hub. In the smaller towns the cargo is loaded on to the familiar delivery vans and delivered.

      I could see Tesla powering either the delivery trucks or the transfer trucks (rigs).

  • avatar
    Yesac13

    It’s the final mile delivery that this new Tesla big rig is targeted toward. Final mile delivery, think delivery of items to warehouses. The trucks that drop off stuff for me at my warehouse drives less than 300 miles a day. Trucking companies will buy this Tesla rig for local deliveries but stick with good ole diesel for long runs.

    I also note one interesting thing many people seem not to get… they keep thinking recharging stations = gas stations. Nope – they’ll eventually be everywhere – your local McDonald’s will have them. Restaurants, stores, etc. They’ll all have chargers. I mean, everybody uses electricity so it’s a matter of wiring. So basically, you recharge when you take a short break for lunch or a leak. Yes, more breaks but if you’re strategic about it, it works well. 300 miles likely is the limit – go more than 300 miles, the sheer weight of the batteries makes it not worthwhile.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      They could even charge while docked at loading bays. Simple.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        “They could even charge while docked at loading bays. Simple.”

        You may be on to something. We don’t need a 22 ton battery. We need strategically positioned hubs where a long haul truck can pull in, unhitch, and re-hitch to a fully charged truck. Managing this would be a software / cloud problem, and certainly doable. There’s upfront costs though, so it’s up to an accountant and an operations research engineer to crunch the numbers. I think this could work.

        • 0 avatar
          joeaverage

          Incorporate the battery into the trailer floor. Charges while the trailer is parked. Truck carries enough batteries for ~100 miles then attaches itself to a trailer with some additional capacity.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    I’m not going to minimize the challenges here but:

    Range, Cost and Weight? Where have we hear this before? Oh yeah. When conventional wisdom was against the adoption of electric cars. As with passenger cars, none of these are insurmountable in the long run.

    Also, as mentioned in an earlier comment, the analysis really applies to a specific truck use: long haul routes. On shorter routes and around town (where most pickups and deliveries take place) the requirements are much different. Specifically, range doesn’t need to be as great. In addition, slower speeds and more frequent braking on these routes are actually beneficial to electrification.

    Obviously 14 additional tons is a lot. But lets say the requirement is less than that due to my previous point and/or technological advancements; the battery weight could end up a smaller percentage of overall weight in a truck than in a car. These trucks carry loads that regularly require huge fluctuations in weight. The weight gain of the battery, while significant, may be less so than in a car.

    And, if electrification can be adopted for the long haul, the overnight truck stop is almost the perfect location for mass, high-speed electric charging. Truckers are already spending many hours and nights at these locations. There is a perfect opportunity to build a charging infrastructure that matches current usage patterns even better than for cars where drivers are not as accustomed to long stops while on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      Ihatejalops

      Trucks are not used in the same way as cars, they need to run for a long time without stops. Most trucks are kept going as long as possible, so quick refuels are important especially if you have a 2 day delivery. An electric cannot keep up with that pace.

      A lot of trucks have about 100-150 gallon tanks, so electric would be way worse. Autonomous trucks on the other hand, is where we’ll see people spend their money.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Some long-haul trucks may have multiple drivers, or swap them out like Greyhound buses. So they may run continuously. But many have solo drivers who have mandatory rest intervals. In any case battery swapping looks after the former.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “Battery swapping” is that thing everyone brings up which will magically solve everything, yet curiously nobody is doing it.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            @JimZ – ““Battery swapping” is that thing everyone brings up which will magically solve everything, yet curiously nobody is doing it.”

            For private vehicles, it won’t work. There’s a concern your new battery could be swapped for an old battery. For my gas grill, the local refill place offers swapping propane tanks. But I take care of my tank, keep it clean, and it has a an auxiliary reservoir. No way do I want to swap tanks.

            It could be a different story for commercial trucks. If the major companies agree on a standard, then I don’t see them caring anymore than they care about the brand of diesel fuel.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Diesel hybrid Tesla? Small p/u size engine to recharge the batteries, battery and traction motors?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It’s a good thing this report was issued before Tesla made themselves look foolish by trying something so new. I’m sure their engineers never considered all these numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Yes, Tesla’s idiotic engineers also never thought of all the things cited by some ttac posters that meant they would never sell any cars.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Future headline “Researchers Cast Doubt on Viability of Tesla”.

  • avatar
    carve

    Yeah- electric is not suited for long haul. The battery is too big and expensive, and could you imagine the current required at a truck stop to charge several dozen of those overnight!? You could do a pretty good hybrid though, sizing the engine and battery to run flat out on whatever the biggest freeway hill climb in the country is.

    Stop and go, like UPS trucks and dump truck, is another practical application. You could really make use of the regen, and they could charge centrally at night. There are a few companies that have already been working on this for a few years, but I imagine Tesla could quickly catch up.

  • avatar
    djoelt1

    Long haul trucks can be replaced with electric rail. Electric semis can handle the last 50 miles.

    My local UPS truck can be electric.

    Next problem?

    • 0 avatar
      tnk479

      You’re such a genius! Why didn’t any one else think of that? If only we had your superior intellect in charge of everything, just imagine!

      • 0 avatar
        healthy skeptic

        They have thought of that, at least for short-haul. I believe delivery services are starting to experiment with EVs.

        • 0 avatar
          Kato

          It would be very expensive to convert the existing rail system to electricity (with cantenary power or energized rail). Rail has however, always been way more energy efficient than Long-haul trucking, regardless of energy source. When road repair costs are considered rail is probably also more cost efficient. The only reasons we have the current fleet of long-haul diesel trucks are easier logistics, subsidized public roadways, and the lobbying/voting power of the teamster’s union. Logistics are a solvable problem, the other two involve politics which make them much more difficult to overcome.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Electric rail is 7% less efficient than the current diesel electric trains.

      • 0 avatar
        Kato

        Interesting.. These days it’s more about de-carbonization though. It would be interesting to see the numbers on CO2 reduction if we just moved long-haul cargo transport from trucks to rail. Bet there would be significant reduction using existing technology. No batteries required.

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          You give the Teamsters far too much credit for keeping long-haul trucking alive. What keeps rail from expanding is a lack of right of ways, and other political pressure. I agree that rail makes the most sense for many things but it seems that every manufacturer is tied to just in time deliveries, which is what my wife’s job is all about.

          To me, it makes no sense to send a truck all the way across the country to get something, but apparently the economics favor this. What may change this, are the new regs. E-logs and hours of service rules will make it tougher to cook the books.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        “Electric rail is 7% less efficient than the current diesel electric trains.”

        Electric trains are lighter, so they damage tracks less. They do not emit diesel particulates, which are becoming a big deal. They require less maintenance. They speed up faster and so reduce trip times. CO2 emissions depend on the means used to generate the electricity. Electric trains regenerate when braking or going downhill, while diesel trains waste the energy in the form of heat from huge resistors. Unlike diesel trains, electric trains don’t have the inefficency, noise and pollution when not moving.

        I’d appreciate a link to information about the relative efficiency.

  • avatar
    mcs

    It’s probably perfect for deliveries from warehouses to customers. I don’t see it yet for long haul trucking. Once it’s available, European cities might be a prime market.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    For short-haul, EVs might not be that far away. City buses are starting to go electric, and those vehicles have some of the same duty cycles (frequent stops, lower speeds, shorter trips).

    For long-haul, how about induction charging embedded in the road? The truck straddles an induction strip as it drives, drawing current to power it along. I don’t know if it’s feasible, but if so, it sure wouldn’t involve 14 tons of batteries. And given Musk’s grandiose vision in other areas, I wouldn’t put something like this past him.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @healthy: I wonder if catenary wires over uphill segments of highway might work. Get both a charge and boost up the hills. Then regen on the way down.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        In Europe they’ve had electric buses for years that use the same overhead wires as a trolley. Why not the highway trucks too? Prob way too far outside the box for the USA…

        I figured none of this vehicle electrification would ever come to pass unless fuel costs tripled and quadrupled.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      Induction coils under roadways of sufficient power to keep traffic moving would require immeasurable amounts of copper wire – probably not feasible. Overhead wires, maybe.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Like I’ve said for years, using simple math, it’s easy to show that EVs don’t scale up as well as ICE vehicles. That’s why most EVs are cramped econoboxes.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    Those figures aren’t nearly as pessimistic as I would have expected, actually…

  • avatar
    Kato

    Long-haul trucking has never been as energy efficient as rail, regardless of energy source. When road repair costs are considered it’s probably also not as cost efficient. The only reasons we have the current fleet of long-haul diesel trucks are easier logistics, subsidized public roadways, and the lobbying/voting power of the teamster’s union. Logistics are a solvable problem, the other two involve politics which make them much more difficult to overcome.

  • avatar
    derekson

    Wouldn’t diesel-electric make more sense anyway?

    • 0 avatar
      Kato

      Diesel-electric adds too much weight and cost. It isn’t employed unless absurd amounts of torque are required. Think rail locomotives or coal haul-trucks. You need a diesel engine, generator, and traction motor vs. just a diesel engine and a beefy transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      no. I know geeks are all hung-up on the whole series-hybrid concept, but the main reason locomotives are diesel-electric is because it would be impractical to design a mechanical transmission for them. such a transmission would need to be so incredibly large with an incredible ratio spread.

  • avatar
    JMII

    What if the main advantage to this eSemi was aero related? Once up to speed your car (or in this case truck) doesn’t need much power. It just has to fight off the wind resistance. So maybe this is a super slick, low drag vehicle with a hybrid power system: diesel to get it moving and up hills, then a battery to maintain speed on level ground, with tons of regen on downhill.

    Also the idea of switching out cabs for a freshly recharged one makes sense. Truck stops already exist not just for refueling but for driver rest & food. Since the load has to stop anyway, just swap out the batteries at the same time or use the down time for a recharge.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    So can I assume that taxpayers will now be helping trucking companies go green by subsidizing EV trucks? A Model S gets $7500 from the Feds and $2500 from CA, so a Semi should get 3 times as much because it is a lot bigger. Maybe we could also exempt EV Semis from current weight limits so they can have bigger batteries to really crush the roads while paying no fuel taxes. Probably should also subsidize truck stops, rest areas, and warehouses so that they can install fast-recharging stations. How about solar panels on the roof of the trailers – we could offer free panels – maybe Solyndra can make a comeback? The possibilities are limitless – after all it is “free” money.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      For comparison, how about listing the consequences and costs of failing to deal with carbon emissions from transportation.

      • 0 avatar
        markf

        “For comparison, how about listing the consequences and costs of failing to deal with carbon emissions from transportation.”

        Sure, in dollars $0.00

        Explain where all this electricity is going to come from? Unless your answer is Nuke you are just shifting carbon from the tailpipe to the electricity plant….

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          Please stand over there wih the flat earthers and chemtrail observers.

          Actual answer, once more:

          Efficiency improvements

          Sustainables

          And surplus power produced in off-peak hours by thermal and nuclear generation.

          Do a bit of research if you don’t believe me.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            Brand loyalty:

            I’ve actually published peer reviewed studies on EVs and other green technologies. None of them even come close to achieving cost effective reductions in greenhouse gases. Therefore subsidies to commercialize “not ready for prime time” green tech is a total waste of money, while very little is put into R&D that might improve them. That is why the Paris agreement is such a joke – trillions of dollars in cost to achieve perhaps .2C reduction in projected temperature increases – assuming no one cheats.

          • 0 avatar
            markf

            Sure, go stand over there with the Earth is center of the universe people.You know, cause the “science is settled”

            Great answers, “sustainable” and “efficiencies” Very specific.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Think what you will about climate change. I’m not going to change anyone’s mind on that subject.

            But there’s no denying these facts:

            1) Fossil fuels cause environmental damage that’s completely unrelated to global warming, and as the world develops economically, this damage will just accelerate.

            2) Economic development and wealth has historically been tied to the development of better, more efficient energy sources.

            3) Whoever figures out how to market better, more efficient energy sources makes an INSANE amount of money. Ever heard of the oil industry, or the Rockefellers? No money there, right? That all came about because oil was a better, more efficient source of energy than coal.

            So…if you don’t want to look at this as a solution to climate change, then don’t. Look at it as a) a way to advance human civilization, and b) generate a s**tload of wealth in the process. But, hey, I’m just a dumb old lib. What could I possibly know?

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          “Explain where all this electricity is going to come from? Unless your answer is Nuke you are just shifting carbon from the tailpipe to the electricity plant….”

          Centralizing at an electricity plant makes its easier to scrub and filter emissions. Also, depending what part of the country the plant operates, electricity can be made from relatively clean natural gas or from dirty coal. But digging for fossil fuels is *always* dirty.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    The end of all this Sturm und Drang will be essentially the same as with other Tesla EVs: they’ll be fairly unexceptional technologically, they’ll be styled well, they’ll prove extremely useful in a very specific niche, and they won’t come remotely close to revolutionizing much of anything. (but CARB will require other OEMs to copy or be banned from selling in California)

  • avatar
    modemjunki

    What happened to Nikola Motor Company and their Nikola One truck?

    That model looks to be more feasible as long as the charging infrastructure can be realized.

  • avatar
    mmorales

    I’m not a trucking expert, but a lot of truck freight already does not use long haul in the sense people are thinking.

    Take ABF for example. They have hubs across the country, and each driver drives from one hub to the next, and then drives back. Truckers like this because they get to sleep at home every night. The trailers are switched at the hubs, so freight can go anywhere without following any one tractor. This model works great for electric: limited range between hubs, already need time for trailer switching that you can use for tractor recharging (or hide recharging time with a extra tractors). The speed at which freight gets across the country is astonishing, 50 miles and hour 20 hours a day is still 1000 mile days). It can get across faster than you can in a sports car.

    The limitation of the above model is the freight really needs to take up a whole trailer. So things like house moving, car carriers, etc. really are long haul in the traditional sense that one rig is pulling one trailer around the country. But many of the trucks you see out there are in a hub model. Just because it says Sears on both the trailer and tractor does not mean they’ve been connected together for more than a few hours.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      That is fascinating. I didn’t know any of that. I was thinking electric power would be great for medium-duty urban delivery, sure, and maybe regional 10-wheelers like UPS runs — but if there are 18-wheelers operating as you describe, then maybe Musk does have a market for this.

      I’m wondering if Musk has changed his mind about the desirability of battery-swap stations. If he has, then an EV 18-wheeler could make more sense in more traditional applications too. You could swap batteries twice as fast as you could fill tanks (but you’d have to do it twice as often, so it’s a wash, and you’re still SOL for desolate rural stretches).

  • avatar
    redapple

    Guys.
    Come on.
    We are overthinking this.

    This is nothing more than more Elon Mush BullshiX.
    Vaporware.
    Colored air piffle.

    Intent?
    Puff up the stock price.

    Really getting to the point where I CANNOT STAND this guy.
    And his cars are crap.
    (How am i doing Deadweight?)

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Elonk Musk says a lot of $#!t, but he’s delivered on about 10% of it.

      That’s pretty damn good, considering the outlandish stuff he says!

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        “That’s pretty damn good, considering the outlandish stuff he says!”

        Musk wasn’t the only one who tried (Fisker comes to mind), but that he got this far — in a mostly uphill battle — is noteworthy.

  • avatar
    markf

    “Think what you will about climate change. I’m not going to change anyone’s mind on that subject.

    But there’s no denying these facts:

    1) Fossil fuels cause environmental damage that’s completely unrelated to global warming, and as the world develops economically, this damage will just accelerate.

    2) Economic development and wealth has historically been tied to the development of better, more efficient energy sources.

    3) Whoever figures out how to market better, more efficient energy sources makes an INSANE amount of money. Ever heard of the oil industry, or the Rockefellers? No money there, right? That all came about because oil was a better, more efficient source of energy than coal.

    So…if you don’t want to look at this as a solution to climate change, then don’t. Look at it as a) a way to advance human civilization, and b) generate a s**tload of wealth in the process. But, hey, I’m just a dumb old lib. What could I possibly know?”

    I don’t disagree with any of this. But where we differ is I don’t think the Earth is fragile. For folks who purport to believe in science you would have believe a lot of science fiction to believe humans can control the global climate, the very heavens themselves. The Earth is not fragile and it can take whatever we lowly humans can throw at it. It seems the height of human arrogance to think we can have any appreciable, long term affect on the climate.

    The rest of your points are what most here argue for, competition and capitalism. If “green” energy was so great then there would be people making a ton of money, but they are not. They need Gov handouts to stay afloat (losing money) before they go bankrupt.

    And, please before you compare taxpayer subsidized EVs to the Internet (AGAIN) IP was not an old, failed (by market terms) technology like EV are. IP was developed as way for the DOD to communicate during a nuclear or other crisis. We, the taxpayers happened to benefit from it. Much like the commercial Microwave oven was developed. Nobody was getting tax credits to develop Routers, Switches, cabling or Microwave ovens.

    • 0 avatar

      To me the concept that we could change the planet is the most believable part. A few dozen people can destroy whole ecosystems over 1,000’s of acres a few billion of us should be able to easily effect the whole planet.

      As far as green energy at this point some people are indeed now making money without credits. The credits for solar could be phased out now and it would slow growth but not stop it. Same with Wind it’s possible to make money without subsidies. Now would we be at the point without the subsidies being there driving demand and lowering cost? Probably not.

      The internet and microwave were developed from military spending so yes without taxpayers they never would have happened. The internet was developed under Darpa (Arpa) back when it simply spent money on science instead of military science, so again taxpayer funded, and it may not have been developed within Darpa’s new restrictions on military only spending.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    “The Earth is not fragile and it can take whatever we lowly humans can throw at it. ”

    I agree the Earth, mother nature, and father time, will endure. The question is can humans take what we throw at ourselves? Costal cities will be flooded. Droughts will make food harder to grow. Southern peaches are the latest casualty this year. Migration of mosquitos can move northward, bringing Zika.

    You seem old school enough to appreciate the saying “an ounce of prevention… “, so let’s try it.

  • avatar
    modelt1918

    As a truck driver for over 41 years, I just laughed at the absurd comments made about truck driving. Most of you and especially Kato, has no clue how American trucking works.

    • 0 avatar
      modemjunki

      modelt, what about the concept of the Nikola Motors tractor? It actually appears to be based on the needs of the industry.

      Not that I know anything about trucking as a job (though I know a couple of drivers and owner/operators).

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        Remember WalMart’s futuristic 18-wheeler development exercise? The resulting one-off truck struck me as so similar to the Nikola concept that I wondered if they had just rebranded it as their own.

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