John Feddersen is the director of Aurora Energy Research, an international market research agency. Recently, in the Financial Times, he claimed that the energy required to recharge a Tesla Semi truck in 30 minutes, as Elon Musk touted in his electric truck unveiling, could power up to 3,200 average UK homes for an hour. His calculations are based on transporting a fully loaded trailer for 800 kilometers: the actual range of the Tesla Semi, according to Musk.
There may be some debate regarding the calculations. After all, appearances often lie. Tesla claims that his Semi will use less than 2 kWh of energy for every mile traveled while maintaining a full charge. But that’s at constant speed on level ground, for sure. Climbing steep terrain and picking up speed would require a bit more force, even if some of it can be generated by the braking systems.
Where will Tesla get all that electricity from, and how will it maintain the cost of just 7 cents per kilowatt-hour, as advertised? The company has talked about using solar panels (likely from its SolarCity division) and Tesla Powerpacks in Mega Chargers, but it’s unclear where these would be available for the first few years.
We do know that the Semi has an 8-pin connector, leading to speculation that the most powerful truck chargers will have about 4 times the power of the Superchargers that Tesla uses to charge their electric cars, but that’s only about 500 kW. , much less than a megawatt.
It will take a large storage battery or two of significant size to charge the Semis with solar power when they stop for refueling electricity. The cost and how those expenses will be covered is still a mystery.
We can only wait for more details about the charging systems that will keep Tesla’s electric trucks running. But what we know for sure so far is that these machines are huge consumers of electricity.