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Tesla truck launch to be “biggest catalyst” in trucking for decades

The electric vehicle giant is expected to unveil its truck prototype later this month, which could force others to show their hands
The Tesla truck is expected to go on sale in 2020

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is set to unveil its new semi-truck later this month and analysts at Morgan Stanley think it could be the “biggest catalyst in trucking in decades”.

Ravi Shanker and Adam Jonas expect Tesla’s new truck to force other vehicle manufacturers to reveal their own electric truck plans, sparking renewed interest in the industry.

Since Elon Musk first tweeted about Tesla’s plans to make an electric truck back in April, rumours have spread that it will be able to drive itself and automatically move in “platoons” with other trucks.

“We have high confidence that it could have significant autonomous/autopilot capabilities as well,” the Morgan Stanley analysts said in the note.

Shanker and Jonas expect the Tesla truck to retail at around US$100,000 with the batteries to be leased separately.

Given that a 600-700 mile range would require too large a battery, the analysts expect it to be able to travel for around 300 miles before it needs recharging.

To combat the relatively short range, they speculate that Tesla could introduce “optional battery swapping or very rapid supercharging/flash charging”.

The semi-truck is expected to go on sale in 2020 orders could start when the prototype is revealed later this month.

Shanker and Jones reckon Tesla will deliver 25,000 units a year and generate around 25 US cents per mile from leasing batteries.

Based on these calculations, the two expect the trucks to generate sales of almost US$12bn by 2028.

Tesla shares were up 0.16% to US$345.10 in early deals on Thursday, before adding over 2% to go to $351.75 each.

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