Will electric Big Rigs ever become a thing?

mndriver

curmudgeon extraordinare
Supporter
not for brute movement of material. Where's trains loose it though is on the inflexibility of their routes. And that's getting much worse as rail routes are dismantled.
 

Tazz

Infidel
not for brute movement of material. Where's trains loose it though is on the inflexibility of their routes. And that's getting much worse as rail routes are dismantled.
Hence the intermodal. HUB is huge and no one knows who they are. Look at JB, Swift et al and the millions they are pouring into that side.

We used to pull from Memphis throughout Western Tennessee. Stuff from LA loaded on Monday we delivered Wednesday (aluminum cans to Russellville Ky) stuff from San Miguel loaded in a can in Mexico delivered three days later to Hopkinsville and Cullman.

We at Walmart do not run down to Ft Pierce. We drop it at East Coast Rail Road in Jax and they run it down there that night. Daycabs run back and forth all day down there. Not sure what they charge us for that but I have been told it is pennies on the mile. Like 30-35 cents. We can not buy fuel for that. Now that is a straight run but it shows where when in direct competition they kick our butts.
 

DNKXP

Member
We have the technology in America to implement electric vehicles, although cross country operation would require recharging infrastructure, and the weight of the required batteries would offset the advantages through reduced payloads...

I think a better approach might be a hybrid configuration. Using a small (say 100hp theoretically) diesel generator to power electric traction motors like the RR uses...
 

Blood

Driveler Emeritus
We have the technology in America to implement electric vehicles, although cross country operation would require recharging infrastructure, and the weight of the required batteries would offset the advantages through reduced payloads...

I think a better approach might be a hybrid configuration. Using a small (say 100hp theoretically) diesel generator to power electric traction motors like the RR uses...
There's a thread here somewhere on just that.
Tesla has been developing the Nikola, a 6x6 power unit with an electric drive motor on each hub and a NG turbine for recharging.
In development for 3 year [secretly] and anticipated for production in 3-4 more years.
 

Duck

Custom title
Supporter
I think a better approach might be a hybrid configuration. Using a small (say 100hp theoretically) diesel generator to power electric traction motors like the RR uses...
100 hp? On a truck?

There's a thing called efficiency, and there's a thing called "flying unicorns that fart rainbows". :confused:
 

DNKXP

Member
Can the unicorn pull Freight? Lol

No I just used the 100hp off the top... Don't know how big the motor running the generator would have to be, although I could prob look it up...

I just can't see the traditional rechargeable batteries solution being viable.
 

krelithous

Well-Known Member
Supporter
What's up, @Duck? You wouldn't average 40 mph to save the planet? :stirpot2:
veg oil is a more viable option over having all of them batteries behind your ass:eek::D. though it would be amusing to read his posts about driving an 80,000 pound prius:D:biglaugh:
 
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Rodger

Well-Known Member
The key efficiency component most people miss when desiring a locomotive set up for a truck is rolling resistance. Trains have near zero rolling resistance, steel wheels on steel track. A couple of guys can push an empty box car that weighs 30 ton, how many would it take to push a truck at that weight?
 

DNKXP

Member
The key efficiency component most people miss when desiring a locomotive set up for a truck is rolling resistance. Trains have near zero rolling resistance, steel wheels on steel track. A couple of guys can push an empty box car that weighs 30 ton, how many would it take to push a truck at that weight?
Good point! That reminded me of helping my Dad push a loaded boxcar on a siding when I was about 13... I thought he was crazy, but after we pushed on it hard for about 30 seconds, it gradually began to move... After that it was relatively easy.
 

Hammer166

Instigateur №166™
The key efficiency component most people miss when desiring a locomotive set up for a truck is rolling resistance. Trains have near zero rolling resistance, steel wheels on steel track. A couple of guys can push an empty box car that weighs 30 ton, how many would it take to push a truck at that weight?
The efficiency of a diesel electric setup for a truck would be the ability to run a smaller, lighter power plant at its most efficient rpm. You don't need the broad torque curve necessary for drivibility to drive an alternator, so BSFC can rule.
 

Rodger

Well-Known Member
The efficiency of a diesel electric setup for a truck would be the ability to run a smaller, lighter power plant at its most efficient rpm. You don't need the broad torque curve necessary for drivibility to drive an alternator, so BSFC can rule.
Yes but it will never be as efficient as the train I'm assuming. Do we have components light enough, or feasible yet?
 

Hammer166

Instigateur №166™
Yes but it will never be as efficient as the train I'm assuming. Do we have components light enough, or feasible yet?
Like so many things, inertia (not the physical kind) plays a big part. What we have works fairly well, and going to the alternative requires redesigning the power train from front to back if we are to get full benefit of a diesel-electric system. And the big fleets will resist that the same way they did Budd wheels, they want to stick with what they know. If someone were to build one, and show major gains, some might start to adopt the idea. But it's not a simple system, and the cost may preclude ever using it in trucks.
 

GAnthony

Methuselah
Supporter
wonderring if companies like tesla will ever branch out to make big rigs or other companies. would be a cool idea. would work with the right gear ratio as well. thoughts?
given that so many "drivers" cannot back up, the battery will soon be dead.
 

Copperhead

Well-Known Member
Guess no one read the article about the electric class 8 truck. It include a NG powered turbine generator that recharges batteries as needed. No need to search out a plug in. They say the batts will do the job for 1200 miles on their own. Electric motors are serious torque monsters. If this one is set up right, it could out pull anything running on a serious grade. The initial cost is more than I would care to invest for something so new. But the idea is very sound. I would have to see some real world longevity and cost analysis before jumping on that one.

I was wrong about article link early on in the thread. This one is the one I was referring to....

Nikola One: Class 8 Electric Truck Has a 1,200-mile Range | Trucking News Online

3700 lb of torque from this bad boy. A 2000 hp NG fired turbine generator.

Another related article claims it can do a 6% grade, at full gross, and do it at 65 mph with no sweat. Claim is that it would cost less than half the cost per mile to run compared to diesel or NG fired engine truck. Full torque would be available at start. Imagine hitting an on ramp and having full torque available from the start of the ramp! Only downside seems to be the initial cost.... $375,000 - $415,000. But the cab and sleeper is 30% larger than any OEM setup now, and includes a refrigerator / freezer than one could only dream of having in a OEM sleeper. Oh, and along with microwave and other amenities... standard.

If I had a grip of money laying around, I would put an order in.
 
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Hammer166

Instigateur №166™
Guess no one read the article about the electric class 8 truck. It include a NG powered turbine generator that recharges batteries as needed. No need to search out a plug in. They say the batts will do the job for 1200 miles on their own. Electric motors are serious torque monsters. If this one is set up right, it could out pull anything running on a serious grade. The initial cost is more than I would care to invest for something so new. But the idea is very sound. I would have to see some real world longevity and cost analysis before jumping on that one.

I was wrong about article link early on in the thread. This one is the one I was referring to....

Nikola One: Class 8 Electric Truck Has a 1,200-mile Range | Trucking News Online

3700 lb of torque from this bad boy. A 2000 hp NG fired turbine generator.

Another related article claims it can do a 6% grade, at full gross, and do it at 65 mph with no sweat. Claim is that it would cost less than half the cost per mile to run compared to diesel or NG fired engine truck. Full torque would be available at start. Imagine hitting an on ramp and having full torque available from the start of the ramp! Only downside seems to be the initial cost.... $375,000 - $415,000. But the cab and sleeper is 30% larger than any OEM setup now, and includes a refrigerator / freezer than one could only dream of having in a OEM sleeper. Oh, and along with microwave and other amenities... standard.

If I had a grip of money laying around, I would put an order in.
No, I read that. Thing to remember about that Nikola is there isn't even a prototype yet. And I think they're way off on weight. The battery and turbine are going to be in the same ballpark as the current motor and transmission, as far as weight goes, and even at 800V, six electric motors will be a significant weight. The closest I found was an 200 HP, 800V motor that was around 200 lbs. Getting that big tractor down to a competitive weight is going to be an issue.

They're smoking crack on the CPM, too. In cruise you'll see some gains if diesel prices start to climb , but right now CNG and diesel are very close in price for equivalent energy content, and turbines are not as efficient as diesels in BSFC. The hybrid will have some advantage, due the recapture of energy in braking, and overall powertrain efficiency, but that's not going to be enough to cut costs in half. And if you start using that 2000 HP, any gains are rapidly going to evaporate.

That said, I do believe these types of powertrains are the future, and yes it would be cool as hell to have one, but this is only barely beyond pipedream stage. That $1500 reservation fee is a way to generate cash flow, which tells me they're hurting for funding, and this thing may never even become reality as currently presented. My guess is that we'll see similar setups in the near-to-medium future, but with smaller, more efficient diesels as prime mover, as it's unlikely turbines will ever match their BSFC numbers. Union Pacific actually had some turbine-powered locomotives Union Pacific GTELs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia in the Cold War years, but they not very fuel efficient compared to the diesels.

BTW, that 1200 mile range was not battery only, but the range with a full tank of CNG.
 

Duck

Custom title
Supporter
I have a book somewhere about "The first 75 years of General Motors" or something.

Back in the stone age, GM had a small fleet of gas turbine powered trucks they used on dedicated linehaul between Detroit, Toledo & Youngstown.

They didn't meet up to expectations. ;)
 

krelithous

Well-Known Member
Supporter
I have a book somewhere about "The first 75 years of General Motors" or something.

Back in the stone age, GM had a small fleet of gas turbine powered trucks they used on dedicated linehaul between Detroit, Toledo & Youngstown.

They didn't meet up to expectations. ;)
like i said it would be less power than a fart car:D
 
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