The Industry Is More Cutthroat Than Ever
But how does all this have anything to do with costs? In a roundabout way, it has everything to do with costs. Breakdowns are extremely expensive, not only due to the astronomical repair bills, but the downtime; it’s a bottom-line killer!
Trucks need to keep rolling to be profitable. Variable costs may momentarily pause while the wheels aren’t moving, but fixed costs stop for nothing. There’s a reason the DOT has to mandate hours of service.
As far as variable costs, let’s strictly focus on fuel consumption, as that’s the primary selling point of the Tesla semi. (We’re going to leave autonomy out for the purpose of this discussion.)
Astronomical Fuel Costs
Numbers vary depending on who you talk to, how hard they run, what they haul, the weight of their truck, the truck’s design…there are too many factors to nitpick, but you can expect a single driver to run an average of 2,500 to 3,000 miles per week.
Assuming most of these miles are loaded miles (because dead-heading never made anyone rich), figure your average semi to knock out about five to seven miles per gallon. Operators can spend $1,000/week on diesel under these conditions!
Some quick mental math will bring you to the conclusion that a $50,000-plus annual fuel bill is not hard to pump through those hard-working Detroits. My little 3406 Caterpillar could only manage about five to six miles per gallon, on average.