Walmart preordered Tesla semis to try them out. The retailer has ordered 15 of the new electric semi-trucks, with 10 of them destined for Canada and five for the U.S.
Tesla’s semi-truck finally revealed
Tesla management unveiled the new semi-truck on Thursday, to the delight of fans. In a nod to the widespread concerns about range, the semi will supposedly be able to travel 500 miles on a single charge, even if it’s carrying a full load which brings its gross vehicle weight to 80,000 punds. Interestingly, Tesla’s semi also has crazy-fast acceleration, as it can go from zero to 60 mph in only five seconds when a trailer is not attached.
The automaker also went beyond the basics by equipping its electric trucks with electronic connections to the management systems for a fleet. Drivers can stand up, and the steering wheel is located at the center. There’s a touchscreen on each side of the driver.
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The electric semi won’t enter production until at least 2019, or at least that’s the date currently given by Tesla management. However, they haven’t exactly been on time with vehicles lately as production issues have held back the planned ramp of the Model 3. It costs $5,000 per truck to place a reservation, although of course those who preorder trucks don’t have to take delivery of them if something better appears before Tesla’s semis are rolling off the production lines.
The EV maker did not reveal the full price of the truck, but CEO Elon Musk estimates the operating cost of an electric semi at $1.26 per mile, versus the $1.51 per mile that’s estimated for a diesel truck, assuming diesel fuel is priced at $2.50 per gallon and electricity is delivered at 7 cents per kWh. This operating cost also assumes that the electric truck is running with a maximum load and averaging a speed of 60 mph.
Meijer, J.B. Hunt, Walmart preordered Tesla semis
This isn’t the first time the big box retailer has show interest in and tested equipment that runs on alternative fuels. It deployed hydrogen fuel cell forklifts made by Plug Power in some of its locations years ago. Walmart said in a statement sent to multiple media outlets that it has “a long history of testing new technology.” The retailer’s spokesperson also said that they look forward to being one of the first to run try out Tesla’s heavy-duty trucks.
“We believe we can learn how this technology performs within our supply chain, as well as how it could help us meet some of our long-term sustainability goals, such as lower emissions,” the spokesperson said in a statement when revealing that Walmart preordered Tesla semis.
If Walmart becomes a major customer for the automaker, it could become a massive account because its fleet includes approximately 6,000 trucks. And Walmart isn’t the only big name that has already preordered Tesla semis. J.B. Hunt Transport Services announced that it had ordered “multiple” semi-trucks. According to Bloomberg, a fleet manager for Michigan-based retailer Meijer, said Thursday night at Tesla’s design studio in the Los Angeles area that they had preordered four of the electric semis. Meijer’s fleet contains 220 trucks that run across six Midwest states.