Even Elon Musk May Not Be Able to Make an Electric Truck Work

If anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, it’s Musk. But unless he has a radical bit of battery technology squirreled away, even he may not be able to deliver a long-haul truck capable of displacing the diesel burners roaming America’s highways. That’s the key finding of a paper by a pair of Carnegie Mellon University researchers, who found a battery-powered semi would be limited to a 300-mile range, cost a fortune, and offer limited cargo capacities because of the weight and volume of the technology required to keep it moving down the road.

“The challenge is on par in difficulty level with electric airplanes,” said Venkat Viswanathan, who conducted the research with colleague Shashank Sripad. The peer-reviewed study, previewed to Wired, will be published in the American Chemical Society’s ACS Energy Letters within a few weeks.