PepsiCo has become the latest big-time user of commercial trucks to sign an order for Elon Musk’s battery-electric semi trucks.
Pepsi placed the largest order yet by reserving 100 Tesla semi trucks, meaning the company wrote a $2 million check. The soda and snack company plans to use the trucks for shipments of beverages and snacks foods from factories or distribution centers to retailers, and is currently deciding which routes would best suit the electric trucks.
Tesla claims the semi, which was unveiled last month, has a range of 500 miles when towing a full 80,000-pound load, and that 400 miles of range can be restored in just 30 minutes at one of its new Megacharger stations.
Walmart pre-ordered 15 electric trucks and J.B. Hunt trucking has said its reserved “multiple” semis. Food service distributor Sysco has pre-ordered 50 trucks, and Anheuser-Busch has reserved 40, according to Reuters.
(Tesla readies to deliver Model 3 sedans as truck orders keep rolling in. Click Here for the story.)
In a good year, users order about 250,000 trucks. The announced orders for the Tesla semi represent a tiny fraction of the Class-8 heavy-duty trucks produced in North America each year. Analysts suggest the relatively small orders placed by companies so far reflect the industry’s uncertainty about electric trucks replacing diesels.
However, the volume is big for Tesla, which is new to making trucks at the same it is trying ramp up production of its new Model 3 at the same time. But they’re also essentially just pilots for these retailers.
The market for electric trucks, however, is expected to grow rapidly particularly along the West Coast where major ports are moving to ban diesel trucks because of concerns about the impact of air pollution on public health.
(Click Here for more about Tesla’s new semi truck.)
The Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest port complex, where cargo movements require thousands of truck movements every days, approved a plan trim air pollution by encouraging the phase-out of diesel trucks in favor of natural gas and, ultimately, zero-emissions or electric trucks and cargo-handling equipment over the next two decades.
The Clean Air Plan adopted by a joint meeting of Los Angeles and Long Beach harbor commissioners, provides a framework for transforming the massive hub for freight-moving trucks, trains and ships to cleaner technologies through 2035.
(Tesla’s big surprise: its gen-2 Roadster – and Musk promises it will be the “world’s fastest production car. for the mind-bending numbers.)
The plan, however, leaves many details undetermined, including who will pay for up to $14 billion in cleaner trucks and equipment and which industries will benefit, observers noted.