Terraline's 500-mile ultra-aero electric big rig invites humans aboard
The company formerly known as Solo Advanced Vehicle Technologies (Solo AVT) is now moving forward under the name Terraline. Along with the name change comes a shift in the company's mission, at least for the near term. Its autonomous SD1 platform will take a backseat as it focuses on meeting the immediate demand for an all-electric Class 8 long-haul truck for human drivers. It calls this one the Tangra LH1, and the truck utilizes the same 500-mile (805-km) electric architecture but with a cab built for an actual person, complete with niceties like a windshield.
Terraline isn't abandoning autonomous trucking entirely but reacting to a pressing need for electric long-haul trucks. Under its new direction, it plans to deploy Tangra LH1 vehicles for customer testing later this year.
"We have the opportunity to scale fast, accelerating the adoption of electrification across freight fleets today," Terraline CEO and founder Graham Doorley explained in an announcement this week. "Our success has to be of our own making and can’t be predicated on the progress of autonomous technologies and regulation."
The company explains that the move is made in direct reaction to the immediate demand it's experienced for an all-electric Class 8 truck that's ready to help decarbonize freight transport today. It obviously can't meet that demand with an autonomous prototype that remains in development for years on end.
Like the autonomous SD1 before it, the Tangra LH1 targets over 500 miles of driving range per charge via a combination of its large battery pack and efficiency-boosting technologies. Terraline claims the sleek, futuristic truck cab will boast the lowest drag coefficient of any Class 8 production truck available. Efficiency will be further improved via active aerodynamic elements and low rolling-resistance tires. Fast-charging hardware will ensure the quickest, most seamless charging stops possible.
Terraline has not said how much motor power the Tangra LH1 will have, but it confirms that it will be powered by tandem multi-speed electric axles, just like the SD1. The SD1 concept the company previewed last May featured e-axles with 805 hp (600 kW) of integrated electric motor power.
Terraline ultimately aims to launch its trucks as a service on a cost-per-mile basis, leasing them to fleet customers and taking care of maintenance. It's designing the Tangra LH1 with the goal of operating for 10 years and 3 million miles (4.8 million km) per truck.
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