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Electric trucking: why DHL is buying ten Tesla trucks

Blog

Electric trucking: why DHL is buying ten Tesla trucks

Ian Kerr

DHL Supply Chain, part of Deutsche Post DHL Group, has announced that it has placed an order for ten Tesla Electric Class 8 Semi Trucks. 

The US contract logistics company will use the trucks for shuttle deliveries and same-day customer deliveries. The trucks will also be tested for mileage efficiency on longer runs from major markets to other DHL operations across the country.

The Tesla Semi will be available in 2019. Tesla expects the vehicles to list for US$150,000 for a 300-mile range vehicle to as much as $200,000 for a “Founders Series” truck. The cost to "reserve" a Tesla Semi is $20,000 - up from $5,000 at launch.

So what's the big deal about Tesla Semis?

Is it the cool colours? Or the fancy design? Or the name? Let's see what Tesla and DHL reckon is so great about its new trucks.

Rather fast

Without a trailer, the Tesla Semi can go from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds. Which is nice. It does 0-60 mph in 20 seconds with a full 80,000-pound load - much faster than a conventional diesel truck. (Apologies for the antiquated imperial measurements, but it's an American truck...)

The truck climbs 5% grades at a steady 65 mph, whereas a diesel truck peaks at 45 mph on a 5% grade.

Driver Experience

DHL Supply Chain also plans to evaluate the trucks' impact on drivers' quality of life and job satisfaction.

"Factors like comfort and time on the road play a large role in driver job satisfaction," says Jim Monkmeyer, President of Transportation at DHL Supply Chain North America. "While we always try to optimize transportation routes to allow our drivers to be home same-day, we're also excited about the potential to bring our drivers the comfort and safety benefits that the Tesla Class 8 truck could offer."

The Tesla Semi’s cabin features unobstructed stairs for easier entry and exit, full standing room inside, and a centered driver position for optimal visibility. No mention of the quality of its radio or speaker system.

Two touchscreen displays positioned symmetrically on both sides of the driver provide easy access to navigation, blind spot monitoring and electronic data logging. Built-in connectivity integrates directly with a fleet’s management system to support routing and scheduling, and remote monitoring.

Safety

The Tesla Semi’s windshield is made of impact resistant glass.

Jackknifing is prevented due to the Semi's onboard sensors that detect instability and react with positive or negative torque to each wheel while independently actuating all brakes.

The surround cameras aid object detection and minimize blind spots, automatically alerting the driver to safety hazards and obstacles. With Enhanced Autopilot, the Tesla Semi features Automatic Emergency Braking, Automatic Lane Keeping, Lane Departure Warning, and event recording.

Tesla Semi can also travel in a convoy, where one or several Semi trucks will be able to autonomously follow a lead Semi.

Range

Fully loaded, the Tesla Semi consumes less than two kilowatt-hours of energy per mile and is capable of 500 miles of range at GVW and highway speed.

DHL's green credentials

Deutsche Post DHL Group has an ambitious plan to become the first logistics company to reduce all logistics-related emissions to net zero by 2050.

Already it has 5000 electric StreetScooters on the road, along with about 10,500 e-bikes and e-trikes.

The company plans to replace its entire mail and parcel delivery fleet in the mid-term with electric vehicles that are charged with electricity generated from renewable energy sources.

Using electric trucks will be an important step towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

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