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Orders Start Rolling in For Tesla Truck

Tesla Semi Truck (Tesla)
iKnowAuto Staff
The recently revealed Tesla fully electric Semi truck is already racking up pre-orders from major national brands. Reservations after the press event were priced around $5,000 per truck, but that deposit price has now increased to $20,000. The truck is expected to launch in 2019 with a retail price of $200,000.
JAN 24, 2018

The Trucking Industry

Businesses are eager to evaluate the truck, which will lower fuel costs and emissions thanks to an aerodynamic design that is more efficient than even some passenger cars. With an estimated cost saving of 25 cents per mile, early adopters are queuing up to reserve trucks for their own fleets.

The commercial haulage market orders 250,000 to 300,000 trucks a year, so the 200 or so pre-orders are a drop in the internal combustion engine ocean, but they do offer an insight into the future of the motor vehicle. Here are the companies that have ordered so far:

40 Units: Anheuser Busch

Anheuser Busch, the brewers behind Budweiser beer have reserved 40 tractor units. It is unknown whether the company has agreed to purchase the trucks outright or will be leasing them from Tesla. The beer maker plans to use the trucks to run shipments to wholesalers situated within 200 miles of its depots, well within the trucks touted 500-mile range. They will be branded as company trucks but used as part of a larger fleet operated by outside contractors.

50 Units: Sysco Corporation

One of the largest foodservice distributors in the world, Sysco Corporation has agreed to purchase 50 units from Tesla, a purchase worth up to $10 million. The company services over a half-million customers worldwide and has a fleet of over 7,000 trucks. In a press release, Sysco stated: “This reinforces Sysco’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility by reducing the environmental impact of our operations."

40 Units: JB Hunt Transport Inc

JB Hunt Transport Inc was the first major haulage company to place an order for the electric Semi. The undisclosed order is speculated to be for 40 trucks, which will be used along its West Coast routes. This makes sense, as the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California have committed to having zero-emission trucks by 2035.

15 Units: Walmart

US retail giant Walmart, not long after the Tesla announcement, confirmed that it had pre-ordered 15 trucks. The Tesla Semi will form part of a pilot program throughout the US and Canada. The company is looking to understand how the electric vehicles fit within their supply process and to help them meet some of their future sustainability goals.

25 Trucks: Loblaws

Ontario based supermarket chain Loblaw has pre-ordered 25 Tesla Semi-Trucks, announcing it was part of their commitment to fleet-wide electrification by 2030. The company plans eventually on using 350 zero-emission vehicles to reduce its carbon emissions by more than 94,000 tonnes annually.

10 Units: DHL Logistics

DHL, the logistics and courier services provider, reserved a total of 10 Semis. They will be placed on ‘shuttle’ runs and same-day deliveries in major North American cities. They also plan to test the trucks on longer runs and determine the safety and comfort benefits for drivers. DHL was involved with testing some of the pre-production Tesla Semi-Trucks around California.

Smaller Orders

A number of other corporations have placed tentative orders. These are generally limited to 4 or even just one truck for evaluation purposes. With such a major departure from the norm, companies are curious and eager to give the truck a shot.

Tesla Semi Range Anxiety

There are concerns however about the 500-mile range of the Tesla Semi, compared to a diesel-engined counterpart’s 1,000-mile range. That is why a number of the early purchasers will use the trucks on shorter, local runs.

Companies working within cities are less apprehensive about the range, with some trucks covering only 100 miles per day on average. For them, the Tesla truck makes perfect sense and is worth investing in.

Tesla Semi Truck Interior (Tesla)
Tesla Semi Truck Interior (Tesla)

The benefits of ordering a Tesla Semi-Trucks are numerous, with sizable reductions in running costs and carbon emissions, the chance to work closely with Tesla during development but also, a boom for your PR department. Imagine having your company name associated with sustainability and a drive towards lower environmental impacts. Plus, there are hundreds of articles online featuring Tesla truck customers. Either way, we have seen a glimpse of the future of trucking, and it is faster, more reliable and crucially, safer.