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Electric Transport Could Change Trucking For the Long Haul

What’s a truck without a trucker behind the wheel? To one Swedish entrepreneur, it’s an opportunity to revolutionize cargo delivery as we know it.

Behold the T-pod.

Pat Batcheller

The Einride T-pod appeared at Cobo Center in Detroit.

The T-pod is Einride‘s contribution to the wave of electric vehicles sweeping the automotive and transportation industries. According to the company’s web site, this is the first electrically-propelled, self-driving transport vehicle. It has no cabin, so it doesn’t require a driver. Instead, someone operates it remotely. 

Instead of sitting inside a truck, they are operating the system itself,” says Einride CEO Robert Falck. “Instead of removing the driver, we’re giving him a completely new way of working.”

OK, so if they’re not actually driving the T-pod, where are they?

With a cup of coffee in hand, in front of a computer, driving and operating a fleet of T-pods,” Falck says.

The T-pod’s main function is to carry cargo from one point to another, such as a warehouse-to-warehouse trip. Einride says the vehicle can haul up to 15 standard pallets or 20 metric tons of cargo. It can also go 125 miles on a single charge on its 200 kilowatt-hour battery. It may not require an actual driver on board, but Falck says it doesn’t necessarily make the truck driver obsolete. Operators will be trained to work in more controlled environments and how to use the latest information technology.

It’ll be more of a white collar job than a blue collar job,” Falck says. “Having experience from a truck background and knowing what transport is, knowing the business is really going to be beneficial.”

Falck says Einride is testing T-pods in Sweden and hopes to have more than 200 of them on the road by 2020.

Falck spoke with WDET’s Pat Batcheller at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit. Click on the audio player to hear the conversation.


NPR’s Sonari Glinton on Auto Show, Self-driving Cars, and Sexism in Auto Industry

Would You Get In a Self-driving Car Today?

Automakers Hope Tech Gives Sales a Positive Charge

License Plates Are Going Digital

Car Subscription Service Could Come to Michigan

Pat Batcheller

A look inside the T-pod’s cargo bay


Image credit: Pat Batcheller

About the Author

Pat Batcheller

Senior News Editor & WDET Host, Morning Edition

Hi, I’m Pat Batcheller, your host for WDET’s Morning Edition. I bring you the news, weather, traffic, and information to help you start your weekday.   Follow @patbwdet

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