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Is Tesla’s truck goal really a battery leasing program?

 A Tesla Supercharging station set up for Model S autos. The company's electric truck project could also use Supercharging stations, or as some analysts believe, a battery swap program that utilizes the Supercharging station infrastructure. ( Photo: Tesla )
A Tesla Supercharging station set up for Model S autos. The company’s electric truck project could also use Supercharging stations, or as some analysts believe, a battery swap program that utilizes the Supercharging station infrastructure. ( Photo: Tesla )

Morgan Stanley analysts think such a program could be worth $750B a year

As speculation mounts about what Elon Musk is planning with his electric Class 8 truck, set for a September debut, more analysts are weighing in on possible motives.

Two Morgan Stanley analysts, who closely follow Tesla, see the creation of an electric semi not as an end goal, but rather as an entry into a $750 billion a year battery leasing business. It also could be a financial boon to trucking companies in fuel savings and reduce range anxiety, one factor that has limited sales of medium-duty electric trucks.

“We believe [Tesla] could sell its autonomous, electric semis without batteries, which would then be separately leased to customers,” wrote analysts Adam Jonas and Ravi Shanker, according to a report on the research note by Electrek. “With a [approximately a] 250-300 mile range, these batteries could then be swapped out at battery swapping stations … built at Tesla Supercharging stations and truck stops around the country.”


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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.

One Comment

  1. I agree with some negative comments about the Tesla semi program, however their secret weapon is swapping, where enormous number of batteries on each vehicle won’t be necessary. There are also plans to separate trucks from battery business, which will also attract operators. They already have a respected network of stations, where adding an extra swapping one won’t pose much of a problem. Moreover, their battery giga-factory could easily supply their battery leasing business…that’s where the big money will be. He’s just copying Polaroid cameras, Inkjet printers and similar business models.

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