Why Bill Gates Is Wrong About Electric Trucks?

3 min readSep 16, 2020
Photo Courtesy: Tesla [4]

Recently you perhaps have read online that, Bill Gates made some remarks about batteries’ limitations with large EVs in his blog. And when asked about it on Twitter, Elon Musk in his blunt fashion blasted Bill Gates saying “he has no clue”.

Bill Gates made the following statements in his blogs talking about EVs [1]:

Even with big breakthroughs in battery technology, electric vehicles will probably never be a practical solution for things like 18-wheelers, cargo ships, and passenger jets. Electricity works when you need to cover short distances, but we need a different solution for heavy, long-haul vehicles.

And You can see what Musk wrote on Twitter:

But Elon Musk did not elaborate on why Bill Gates has no idea about electric trucks. You can read many things over the internet on why EVs are better performing than fuel-based cars [2].

But I think it is important to first understand how does the electric car’s power system is designed in principle [3].

Nearly all EVs nowadays in the market use powertrains aka traction battery packs [3]. They can and do have auxiliary batteries, but the powertrain itself can generate power from traction reducing the load on the alternate storage battery in the system.

You can watch this video to fundamentally understand how the power system of a Tesla EV works [4]:

So even for 18 wheelers or long haul vehicles, using the same principle above, one can design a long powertrain bed, while on the side having auxiliary batteries on board. There are a number of upcoming electric cars in the market including Tesla’s Cybertruck. So if big EVs were impossible, all these companies would not invest their time in SUVs and trucks.

Now let’s talk about electric jets and ships:

There are a few startups working on all-electric jets right now. But you can read about this futuristic concept of the all-electric jet where the power can be generated on the go from air friction [5]. This…


A senior electrical engineer and lifelong Science & Tech Enthusiast. Active on WordPress, Quora, and Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/tasniaponkti