Tesla Semi program manager explains pitch to fleet managers and importance of electric trucks

Tesla Semi program manager, Guthrie Gintzler, explained his pitch to fleet managers and the importance of electric trucks to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.

Gintzler joined Tesla in 2016 as an intern, but he quickly rose through the ranks and was made program manager of Tesla Semi last year.

He has an interesting educational background, with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania, along with a bachelor’s in economics, finance, and management from Wharton and a master’s in robotics, again from the University of Pennsylvania.

Gintzler recently went back to his alma mater to discuss electric trucks just as Tesla is finally starting to deliver its first Tesla Semi electric trucks.

In his talk, he explained that electric truck pitch to fleet managers is fairly simple:

I’ll pose a bit of a rhetorical question here. If you’re a diesel fleet manager looking to reduce costs, which category would you target? You’re going to try to tackle your largest cost. That’s energy. Your best option to do that is with EV trucks. The cost of ownership of electric trucks is much lower than diesel.

He stated that a plurality of trucks is operated by the top 20 fleet operators and targeting these few operators alone could result in a 2.5% in emission reduction.

The program manager stated that even though semitrucks represent about only 1% of vehicles on the road, they account for almost 40% of total emissions from the transportation sector:

[Trucks] are heavily utilized. Folks that own a car use it about 5% of the time, but heavy-duty trucks are utilized as much as the driver possibly can, eight or more hours per day. They’re also higher energy consumption, meaning that to move one mile, you have to use more energy.

It’s a difficult task that is going to require achieving high-volume production of electric class 8 semitrucks, which doesn’t exist right now.

Tesla is believed to have delivered a few dozen Tesla Semi trucks, but it is producing them in low volume at a facility next to Gigafactory Nevada.

The automaker recently announced a large investment in Gigafactory Nevada to build new large production lines for Tesla Semi, and it has indicated a plan to ramp up to a capacity of 50,000 trucks per year.

However, it is expected to take years before it gets there.

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