Is the Tesla Truck Better Option For Owner-Operators and CDL Drivers?

Saving costs with an unconventional truck in the long-established transportation industry.



After recent final enactment of the ELD Mandate, taking effect on Dec.18, there is yet again a ground-breaking revelation, which is bound to transform the trucking industry and revolutionize cost optimization for owner-operators and fleets.  The new Tesla Semi is coming out in 2019 – an all-electric truck –  promising excessive savings for motor carrier businesses.  Prototyping the Tesla Semi, the company addresses the primary concern of owner-operators – will I save a lot of money?  Saving a lot of money, or rather earning more – this game-changer will let companies make even bigger profits now.


There is much more than fuel savings that Tesla promises to economize – such as maintenance and truck prices.


There are two prototype models – one costing  $150,000 and one – $180, 000. The difference is the mileage reach amounting to 300 and 500 miles respectively, which makes the Semi perfect for local аnd regional truck jobs.  Because of their 500 miles range at maximum weight and highway speed, they are ideal for corporations which have terminal networks across the country.


Although the Semi has a long way to go before exact maintenance costs can be estimated, Musk elaborates on his claim that the truck will be saving businesses massive amounts of resources. Particularly the four engines which are far more uncomplicated compared to the perplexing trucking engine, since there is no differential, transmission nor an exhaust treatment system. Tesla has not revealed the precise math behind their allegations, but they declared that the Semi would have general expenses of $1.26 per mile vs. $1.51 for a classic diesel truck.


A substantial part from those is fuel savings, with Tesla confirming – $200,000 over 1 million miles.


Furthermore, Elon Musk has alleged that Semi can withstand up to a million miles without being damaged or causing any troubles.  And let’s face it with some logic – if there is an increase in the price, it will not be electricity but rather fuel cost, making the choice of an electric truck especially convenient when trying to maintain steady operational costs. This is a huge contribution to medium and large motor carrier businesses, which have an extremely large fleet. Companies such as Swift and Knight have already purchased 100 units to test. Not to mention, a day after the presentation of Tesla Semi, Walmart and Loblaws announced that they also ordered a total of 40 trucks.  JK Moving Services, known as the most significant independent motor company in North America reported having ordered 4 Tesla Semi freighters already.  As we can see, the shift of diesel to E-engines could happen faster than we know.


There are still some questions which linger in the air such as:


  • When (and if) Tesla will build truck power stations?
  • What is the exact weight and cost of the Semi truck?
  • How many resources precisely need to be invested in maintaining the prototype?
  • How heavy will the batteries be? Will they be too costly?


These are some of the uncertainties behind the new Tesla E-vehicles. It is unsettling to be unsure about how the Semi will hold up, because as any innovation – it could bring unknown risks, and after all, diesel engines are familiar, having been around for the substantial period of a century.


Now the question is: And what is in it for CDL drivers?


The Tesla Semi brings many advantages not only for owner-operators but truck drivers as well.  Some of these benefits include:

  • Small steering wheel.
  • Quieter operation,
  • The driver sits in the middle of the cabin (feeling like a McLaren F1 driver),
  • Blind spot cameras,
  • Integrated navigation unit where an ELD can be added,
  • Huge windshield, which is claimed to have an immense resistance and enduring power. Tesla is exceptionally proud of the protection glass they’ve used, since it is prohibited to drive with a broken windshield in the US.
  • Unique futuristic design – steep and angular, making it aerodynamically efficient.


On the contrary – sitting in the middle of the cabin probably causes the driver to have more blind spots, and the effectiveness of the blind spot cameras is still unclear. Additionally, the windows cannot be rowed down; they only open sideways.


The vehicle is not suited for Team OTR, because there is just one seat integrated into the cabin.  Moreover, since Tesla wanted to introduce this model as a “day truck,” there is no built-in bed.


Although Tesla is known for its green company policy, it is far from the only manufacturer who is chasing the idea of E-Engines. Other famous motor corporations, such as Volkswagen, Daimler, Peterbilt, Toyota, Cummins, Navistar, and Kenworth also pursue this futuristic innovation. Not to mention,  the start-up Nikola, assisted by the electronics giant – Bosch, seeks to integrate a colossal amount of  E-freighters into the transportation industry by 2020.


Our cutting-edge software, CDL Advisor, will definitely be listing job offerings from companies with Tesla Semi or other E-vehicle fleets, because advancement and progress is the main component of moving forward.


Here you can find a direct follow-up comparison between the Tesla Semi and the Nikola One E-truck.



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