The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, December 04, 2017, Page Page 8, Image 8

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December 4, 2017
Tesla wants to electrify big trucks, adding to its ambitions
By Dee-Ann Durbin
AP Auto Writer
ETROIT — After more than a
decade of making cars and SUVs
— and, more recently, solar
panels — Tesla Inc. wants to electrify a
new type of vehicle: big trucks.
The company unveiled its new electric
semitractor-trailer near its design center
in Hawthorne, California.
CEO Elon Musk said the semi is capable
of travelling 500 miles on an electric
charge — even with a full 80,000-pound
load — and will cost less than a diesel semi
considering fuel savings, lower mainte-
nance, and other factors. Musk said cus-
tomers can put down a $5,000 deposit for
the semi now and production will begin in
“We’re confident that this is a product
that’s better in every way from a feature
standpoint,” Musk told a crowd of Tesla
fans gathered for the unveiling. Musk
didn’t reveal the semi’s price.
The truck will have Tesla’s Autopilot
system, which can maintain a set speed
and slow down automatically in traffic. It
also has a system that automatically keeps
the vehicle in its lane. Musk said several
Tesla semis will be able to travel in a
convoy, autonomously following each
Musk said Tesla plans a worldwide
network of solar-powered “megachargers”
that could get the trucks back up to 400
miles of range after charging for only 30
The move fits with Musk’s stated goal
for the company of accelerating the shift to
sustainable transportation. Trucks ac-
count for nearly a quarter of transpor-
tation-related greenhouse-gas emissions
in the U.S., according to government
But the semi also piles on more chaos at
the Palo Alto, California-based company.
Tesla is way behind on production of the
Model 3, a new lower-cost sedan, with
some customers facing waits of 18 months
or more. It’s also ramping up production of
solar panels after buying Solar City Corp.
last year. Tesla is working on a pickup
truck and a lower-cost SUV and nego-
tiating a new factory in China. Meanwhile,
the company posted a record quarterly loss
of $619 million in its most recent quarter.
Also at the unveiling, Tesla surprised
fans with another product: An updated
version of its first sports car, the Roadster.
Tesla says the new Roadster will have 620
miles of range and a top speed of 250 mph.
The car, coming in 2020, will have a base
price of $200,000.
Musk, too, is being pulled in many
directions. He leads rocket maker SpaceX
and is dabbling in other projects, including
high-speed transit, artificial-intelligence
research, and a new company that’s
digging tunnels beneath Los Angeles to
alleviate traffic congestion.
“He’s got so much on his plate right now.
This could present another distraction
from really just making sure that the
Model 3 is moved along effectively,” said
Bruce Clark, a senior vice president and
automotive analyst at Moody’s.
Tesla’s semi is venturing into an
uncertain market. Demand for electric
trucks is expected to grow over the next
decade as the U.S., Europe, and China all
tighten their emissions regulations.
Electric truck sales totalled 4,100 in 2016,
but are expected to grow to more than
70,000 in 2026, says Navigant Research.
But most of that growth is expected to be
for smaller, medium-duty haulers like
garbage trucks or delivery vans. Those
trucks can have a more limited range of
100 miles or less, which requires fewer
expensive batteries. They can also be fully
charged overnight.
Long-haul semi trucks, on the other
hand, would be expected to go greater
ELECTRIFYING NEWS. Tesla Inc. wants to
electrify a new type of vehicle: big trucks. The com-
pany unveiled its new electric semitractor-trailer near
its design center in Hawthorne, California. The move
fits with Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s stated goal for the
company of accelerating the shift to sustainable
transportation. (Tesla via AP)
distances, and that would be challenging.
Right now, there’s little charging infra-
structure on global highways. Without
Tesla’s promised fast-charging, even a
mid-sized truck would likely require a two-
hour stop, cutting into company efficiency
and profits, says Brian Irwin, managing
director of the North American industrial
group for the consulting firm Accenture.
Irwin says truck companies will have to
watch the market carefully, because
tougher regulations on diesels or an
improvement in charging infrastructure
could make electric trucks more viable
very quickly. Falling battery costs also will
help make electric trucks more appealing
compared to diesels.
But even lower costs won’t make
trucking a sure bet for Tesla. It faces stiff
competition from long-trusted brands like
Daimler AG, which recently unveiled its
own semi prototype.
“These are business people, not fans,
and they will need [to be] convinced that
this truck is better for their balance sheet
than existing technology. It probably is,
based on the specs provided, but this isn’t
necessarily a slam dunk,” said Rebecca
Lindland, an executive analyst at Kelley
Blue Book.
Musk said Tesla will guarantee the
semi’s powertrain for one million miles to
help alleviate customers’ concerns.
Obama re-emerges on global stage with trip to Asia, France
Continued from page 2
where he met Prime Minister Narendra
Modi in New Delhi, gave another speech,
and held a town hall meeting hosted by
Obama’s foundation. Throughout his
presidency, Obama often used the popular
events in foreign countries to take
questions about everything from politics
and policy to his personal story and pop
Obama gave a final speech over the
weekend in Paris before returning to the
United States.
Aides to the former president declined to
say who was paying for the trip, but said he
was compensated for the speeches.
The trip comes as Trump is aggressively
pushing China’s leaders to cut off North
Korea economically over its nuclear
weapons program. Obama was also in
India just days after Trump’s daughter
and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump. The
first daughter gave a speech at a business
conference that was widely disseminated
on Indian television.
Since taking office, Trump has reversed
much of Obama’s foreign policy approach,
including pulling out of a global climate
change agreement that was forged after
the U.S. and China teamed up on the issue.
Trump has also irked France and other
European allies by taking steps to
undermine the nuclear deal that the U.S.
and world powers struck with Iran in 2015.
Whatever Obama says about current
events while abroad will surely be viewed
through that heavily politicized lens. But
historians said former presidents often try
to mitigate the risk that their visits
undermine their successor by coordinating
with the current White House in advance.
“When it’s done right, the former
president will check in before he goes, and
see if there’s anything he should or
shouldn’t do or say. It’s a longstanding
tradition,” said Michael Duffy, author of
The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s
Most Exclusive Fraternity.
An Obama aide wouldn’t say whether
the former president or his staff had
contacted Trump’s White House ahead of
the trip, but said Obama’s staff had
reached out to the U.S. embassies in each
country. The aide wasn’t authorized to
comment by name and requested
anonymity. Former presidents retain
Secret Service protection, so there’s at
least some U.S. government involvement
in facilitating the trip.
Obama isn’t the first ex-president to get
the itch to travel after losing access to Air
Force One.
By the time President Bill Clinton was
out of office for four months, he’d already
visited 10 countries, including China and
India. Though then-President George W.
Bush had adopted a far different foreign
policy, Clinton was careful on the road not
to criticize his successor directly.
President Jimmy Carter was sometimes
criticized for overstepping his role as
ex-president during his extensive overseas
travels in the years after he left the Oval
Office. In the years after World War II,
travelled prolifically, helping secure food
supplies for Europeans in need. Theodore
Roosevelt gave a famous “Man in the
Arena” speech at the Sorbonne in Paris as
an ex-president.
Sumo wrestler Harumafuji
retires over assault allegations
By Jim Armstrong
AP Sports Writer
OKYO — Mongolian grand
champion Harumafuji has decided
to retire from sumo after
allegations he assaulted a lower-ranked
wrestler and tarnished the image of
Japan’s national sport.
“I have caused much trouble to society,”
Harumafuji said at a packed media
conference. “I want to apologize to various
people in the sumo federation who have
supported me. As a grand champion, I
have done something that shouldn’t be
The news dominated Japanese televi-
sion talk shows and evening newspapers
for weeks as the nation expressed shock at
Continued on page 13