Ruan CEO Ben McLean with Tesla's wholly electrically powered tractor.
This week, representatives from Tesla Motors visited with Ruan team members and several customers for a viewing of the new, wholly electrically powered tractor-trailer. Ruan has reserved five of the trucks. The new semis were unveiled by Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, last year.
Prototypes of the semi have been traveling the country, making stops with key companies that have invested in the all-electric semis. During the voyage, the trucks have been charged using Tesla’s existing network of Supercharger stations. Tesla expects a 300- or 500-mile range for the trucks, varying by model.
The 100 percent electric, battery-powered trucks boast impressive features that could allow them to outperform diesel-powered or hybrid models currently available. Among them are improved aerodynamics (with a drag coefficient of .38), a zero-to-60 MPH speed of five seconds without load, and a 500-mile range per charge. According to Musk, a 400-mile range will be attainable with just a 30-minute charge from one of Tesla’s planned Megacharger stations.
“We are excited to have an opportunity to experience the new electric semis. The reservation of these vehicles is part of Ruan’s sustainability efforts and commitment to providing our customers and professional drivers with the best technology available,” said James Cade, vice president of fleet services.
The price per vehicle will be approximately $180,000. Most diesel-powered tractors cost around $100,000, but Tesla predicts that the electric vehicle will pay for itself within two years due to savings in aerodynamics, reliability, and fuel. The trucks are expected to be similar in weight to a diesel truck. Some specifics, such as the total operating cost, are still unavailable.
The semis also come equipped with Tesla’s remote maintenance and diagnostics capabilities. Technicians will be alerted to any issues or regular maintenance needs from anywhere in the country using Tesla’s online portal or app. The truck’s diagnostics system includes the timeline of needed repairs, allowing teams to plan for scheduled upkeep.
“We will continue to be involved with the team at Tesla Motors as they introduce the trucks to the market,” said Cade. “We will work with them directly to ensure the vehicles will serve us and our customers to the level we both expect.”
The trucks will have several safety enhancements, such as wrap-around windshields and heads-up displays for improved visibility, as well as Tesla’s proprietary Enhanced Autopilot system, with automatic emergency braking, jackknife prevention, forward collision warning, and automatic lane keeping capabilities. Other announced features include a near infinite brake life and a drivetrain guarantee of 1 million miles.