Tesla Takes On The Trucking Industry
According to Elon Musk’s Twitter account, Tesla is set to unveil new electric semi trucks.
This announcement took few by surprise as it had been long discussed that Tesla was planning to take on the trucking industry.
JB Straubel, Tesla’s chief technology officer, first mentioned the topic of Tesla’s plans to pursue the truck industry at the International Transport Forum in Germany in May. While remaining on coy on specific details, Straubel said that “from a pure technology point of view, everything that [Tesla’s] done on vehicles translates directly into trucks.”
Musk himself addressed these plans in his “Master Plan, Part Deux” where he shared that the “Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.”
As of this April, Tesla has not only passed Ford Motor Co. but has since passed General Motors Co., becoming America’s most valuable carmaker. Tesla lifted its market capitalization to $50.9 billion, now besting GM by about $64 million. Now the electric-car manufacturer is closing in on Honda Motor Co.
Industry analysts fear Tesla’s interest in the trucking industry could spell trouble for existing truck companies.
Michael Baudendistel, a Stifel Financial Corp. analyst, warned the following in an investor report:
“Think what you will of Tesla; but, if nothing else, Elon Musk—and by extension, Tesla—is a great disruptor.” He continues highlighting that “a new competitive threat, from a company with previous success in disrupting established industries nonetheless, is undoubtedly unwelcomed news” to vehicle makers such as Daimler, Paccar, Volvo and Navistar as well as powertrain suppliers such as Cummins.
Although Tesla surges forward in their endeavor to launch this electronic semi truck, they face competition from existing companies. Nikola Motor is truck industry’s most likely option to introduce the first alternative technology long-haul truck market in the near term, according to Antti Lindstrom, an analyst at global research firm IHS Markit.
Headquartered outside Salt Lake City, Nikola is creating a hydrogen fuel cell truck and hopes to build a highway network of fueling stations. But even Nikola’s plan is risky and largely relies on its ability to build a network of fueling stations, Lindstrom said.