The cost is well below expert estimates.
Now we finally have an idea of what that price will be, and it’s actually not too bad. Tesla posted today that the 300-mile version will cost $150,000, and a higher-end model with a 500-mile range will go for $180,000. A Founders Series version for hardcore Tesla fanatics is also available for $200,000.
These figures are well below analyst’s predictions. Steve Levine at Axios wrote that experts estimated its price “could be $300,000.” MIT Technology Review cited an analysis published by ACS Energy Letters that predicted the battery alone for an electric truck with a range of 600 miles would cost $400,000.
Note, Tesla’s posted prices are estimates, so it could still raise (or lower) them before the tractor-trailer goes into production in 2019.
Most long-haul trucks are priced at around $120,000 and cost tens of thousands more to operate each year. Tesla claims the Semi’s operating costs are about 20 percent, or $0.25 per mile, less than diesel competitors. If those numbers check out, Tesla Semi owners could save $250,000 after 1 million miles.
This doesn’t necessarily make it the best deal for all companies. A better bet for some might be buying a used truck, which could have an upfront cost of less than half the Semi’s asking price.
Still, for companies with lots of money to spend—say, Walmart—Tesla’s environmentally conscious big rig could offer some killer long-term savings.