The Tesla Semi is going to be awesome. The first of them is supposed to go into service with Pepsi before the end of this year, but the world is not waiting around for Elon to make his electric trucks. BYD, Daimler, and Volvo, among others, are also working on electric tractors. Now comes word that Farizon Auto, the commercial vehicle arm of Geely, is preparing to introduce an electric semi in early 2024.
In an interview with CNBC, Farizon CEO Mike Fan said, “This product is designed and developed facing the global market,” adding that the company will sell the Homtruck in Europe, Korea, Japan, and North America. Hardware sensors such as lidar, millimetre-wave radar, and ultrasonic radar will be standard equipment along with 5G and V2X communication.”
The Homtruck will feature over-the-air software upgrades and has been designed with autonomous driving in mind. Geely says some self-driving features will be baked into the first trucks, with more features arriving in 2026 and full autonomous driving planned for 2030. On longer journeys, the trucks will be able to communicate with eachother to maintain safe speed and distance.
The Homtruck will have different power options, including methanol hybrid and pure electric. A range extender engine may be offered in some markets. Methanol batteries are a technology Geely has been investing in for several years and some of its cars are currently equipped with them. The Homtruck is also designed for battery swapping, an idea that never took off in North America but is quite popular in China, where companies like Nio have completed over a million battery swap procedures.
“I’m sure regulations and standards of autonomous driving are in the process of formation,” Fan said. “On the basis of market demand and the development demand of our own company, [Geely] as a company, should develop and improve certain technologies ahead of time. So that when regulations and conditions are ready, we can apply our technology into the market in time.”
Farizon Auto’s engineers closely studied the needs of independent commercial vehicle drivers and fleet operators when developing the Homtruck’s hardware and software solutions to provide greater efficiencies throughout the network, the company says in a press release.
“The Homtruck is capable of connecting to the logistics networks to help drivers obtain the most optimal orders in real time, analyse and track deliveries, and calculate operating costs along the routes. The Homtruck’s ‘brain’ can utilize vehicle sensors to analyse traffic data in real time and receive route recommendations. In addition, the energy management system can monitor the Homtruck’s power or fuel supply to achieve the best economic performance and recommend optimal refueling or recharging routes to the driver.”
A Home Away From Home
Homtruck is probably meant to be pronounced “home truck,” as it comes equipped with such amenities as a shower, toilet, single bed, refrigerator, kitchen area, and a small washing machine. The creators of the Homtruck wanted to make a semi that feels like home, meeting the living and emotional needs of its drivers. Truck drivers around the world spend an inordinate amount of time in their vehicles, often more so than they do at home. The mobile space created by the Homtruck integrates “work, life, and entertainment,” satisfying the vital needs of its driver, the company says.
Will the Homtruck be better than the Tesla Semi? In a sense, that question is irrelevant. Even though Tesla sells lots of electric automobiles, EVs from Ford, Volkswagen, Polestar, Hyundai, and many other companies are finding plenty of buyers of their own. Consumers love choices, and the Homtruck should appeal to lots of companies once it goes on sale. The bottom line is that any truck that doesn’t spew toxic diesel exhaust fumes into the air is a win for the environment.
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