Geely takes on Tesla Semi with futuristic Homtruck electric hauler
The commercial vehicle arm of Chinese automotive giant Geely has revealed a concept semi truck called the Homtruck that's planned for production in early 2024, and boasts a powertrain that can run with swappable batteries, a range extender or as a methanol hybrid.
At this stage of development, there's no information available on key performance specs of the Tesla Semi rival, but Geely's Farizon Auto has offered some detail on the kind of experience drivers might expect from the slick-looking semi-truck of the future.
Aimed at making the Homtruck something of a home from home for the folks who spend a good deal of time in their trucks, the designers have included a fridge in the cabin, hot drink-making facilities between driver and passenger, a wet bathroom with shower and toilet, as well as somewhere to bunk down overnight.
The windshield seamlessly runs to a panoramic roof, and the concept makes use of soft-touch fabrics, sustainable plastic and bamboo for the cabin's material palette. There's an expansive digital dash wrapping around the driver's field of view that includes feeds from 360-degree cameras and a head-up display.
The steering wheel has its own touchscreen central display that shows vehicle information, and is used to engage autonomous driving modes – the L4 autonomous system makes use of LiDAR, radars and cameras dotted around the vehicle. And there looks to be a wireless charging nook for mobile gadgets.
Farizon Auto has even included an outdoor kitchen block that's accessed via a lift-up panel to the side of the truck – with a sink and induction hob, plus space for utensils, plates and bowls – and a small washing machine around the other side to keep company clothing fresh.
Geely's commercial vehicle arm says that the truck's modular powertain architecture can be optioned with such things as a hybrid electric/methanol system, an unspecified range extender (perhaps hydrogen fuel cell) or pure battery electric employing a swap option in line with recently released government standards. The concept also seems to make use of solar panels on the trailer's roof to help eke out a little more electric range while trucking down the highway.
Engineers are reported to have spent some time studying the needs of both drivers and fleet operators to improve hauling efficiency through hardware and software implementation, as well as 5G and V2X capabilities. The Homtruck's "brain" is designed to analyze traffic data using the vehicle's sensor suite to gauge optimal routes, it can connect "to the logistics network’s big data platforms to help drivers obtain the most optimal orders in real time, analyze and track deliveries, and calculate operating costs along the routes," and can also keep track of energy usage, notify the driver of the best routes for refueling or recharging, and so on.
The Homtruck presently only seems to exist as slick renders and an even slicker video – which can be seen below – though production is slated to start in 2024, and CNBC reports that the semi-truck will be made available in international markets as well as in its home turf.