One of the major obstacles — or concerns, at least — regarding electric trucks has been the question of recharge times. Although advances have been made in fast-charge technology, returning a battery big enough to power a commercial truck to full capacity is still a time-consuming process that can take hours. As a result, most experts have theorized that any future electric trucks or vans will have in the commercial space will be limited to set, daily routes with fixed distances. Vehicles on these routes, conventional thinking goes, would return to their shops in the evening and recharge their batteries overnight.
Recently transportation analyst Rick Mihelic, in a study commissioned by the Stifel Transportation Equipment Equity Research Group, theorized that electric trucks could make a move into regional-haul applications if depleted batteries were swapped out for fresh ones at drop-and-hook terminals along the route.
It appears Mihelic is not the only one thinking along those lines. According to a report from Business Insider, Tesla is looking into a specialized hoist system that would make it easier, and faster, to replace batteries in an electric vehicle.
According to the report, Tesla filed a patent application in May for a system that can elevate a vehicle and replace a depleted battery pack with a fresh one. The patent says at least one technician would monitor the machine, which could be installed at remote locations along highways between cities and would be able to complete a battery swap job in under 15 minutes.
In other Tesla news, company founder and CEO Elon Musk said in a Tweet late last week that he hopes to unveil its much-anticipated electric truck in late October.
Tesla Semi truck unveil & test ride tentatively scheduled for Oct 26th in Hawthorne. Worth seeing this beast in person. It's unreal.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 13, 2017