Posted on March 16, 2018 in General
Trucking is one of the nation’s largest industries, employing millions of drivers, cargo loaders, and company employees. When a top tech brand like Tesla debuts its first electric semi-truck, it’s only natural for the millions of employees in the industry to worry about what this could mean for their jobs and futures. While Tesla will certainly impact the trucking industry, it is not the end of millions of driving jobs. In fact, it could open the door to brand-new job titles and responsibilities in trucking in the years to come.
What the Tesla Semi Means for Drivers
The Tesla Semi is a fully battery-powered Class 8 semi-trailer truck. This electric truck can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour, fully loaded, in just 20 seconds. It has safe Enhanced Autopilot features that aim to avoid collisions. The Tesla Semi promises to reduce costs of ownership by more than $200,000 in fuel savings, since electric energy costs about half as much as diesel fuel. The Tesla Semi will also cut down on carbon dioxide emissions to help the environment.
Despite auto braking, auto lane keeping, and auto collision prevention, the Tesla Semi still requires a driver. The driver’s seat has a unique position right in the center of the cab to provide operators with ample views of the surrounding areas. Truck drivers will need to learn how to operate the autonomous Tesla Semi, but will not become obsolete in the industry. Trucking companies will still require drivers to operate the vehicles, prevent collisions, and make it to destinations safely and on time.
Truck drivers should embrace the Tesla Semi and the automation of the trucking industry, as it will likely make their jobs much easier and safer. Driving with help from an autonomous vehicle could relieve stress, reduce driver drowsiness, and promote greater safety. Completely driverless semis aren’t yet in the near future of trucking, giving many drivers plenty of time to adapt, prepare, or even retire before a major change occurs.
Tesla’s Impact on Trucking Companies
Should the Tesla Semi eventually give way to fully autonomous trucks, that’s when truck drivers might have to worry about machines replacing them. Eliminating human drivers could double the productivity of the trucks, as deliveries would not have to wait the 10 mandatory rest hours of drivers. It would cut transit times by half while saving the company money on paying human drivers.
Perhaps one of the most significant changes the Tesla Semi could make to the trucking industry is the cost of owning a trucking company. The cost of trucking with the Tesla will be significantly smaller than what it is today. Not only can the Tesla slash fuel costs, but it can also increase productivity. Trucking companies could save hundreds of thousands of dollars in overhead costs each year – not to mention potential savings from avoiding truck accidents.
Accident prevention is a major factor supporting the introduction of semi-autonomous commercial trucks entering the industry. In 2015, 89,000 large trucks and buses were involved in injury crashes and 4,311 in fatal crashes. Making feats such as speed, lane changes, and braking autonomous has the power to greatly increase roadway safety and prevent crashes. This is great news for trucking companies, truck drivers, and other drivers.
Keep Your Eye on Tesla
The Tesla Semi recently hit the road on its first cargo trip, sparking the imaginations of everyone who sees it. While it’s clear that big changes in the trucking industry are imminent, there is no way to know for sure everything electric semis will bring to the table over time. Keep your eye on the development of autonomous semis to track the potential impact as time passes. Tesla plans on having Semis on the road by 2019.