Tesla unveiled its all-electric semi truck in November with lots of hype and anticipation. Eager customers have been placing pre-order deposits for Tesla’s Semi. However, some skeptics are interested to see how the market will evolve for electric commercial vehicles. Roughly 260,000 Class-8 trucks are produced in America each year and Tesla’s pie in entering this lucrative market is very small. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk knows how to hype and sell as he promises that their all-electric big rig will have lower operational costs than that of a conventional diesel Class 8 truck.
Tesla expects their top of the line Semi to have a range of up to 500 miles (800km) between charges. However, skeptics again see heavy batteries as a disadvantage because the added weight cuts payload and adds on additional costs, which are deal breakers for fleet buyers looking at operational costs per mile.
Even with all the skepticism orders keep rolling in for Tesla’s Semi with several big companies placing orders for these trucks. Here is a list of companies that have placed orders for the Semi.
UPS has announced on 12/19/2017 they’ll be ordering 125 all-electric Tesla Semi trucks, which is the largest order to date from one company. UPS’ order does not seem like a performance test since its a large order. UPS chief information and engineering officer Juan Perez stated that these trucks will be “groundbreaking” and “poised to usher in a new era” in the safety, environmental impact, and reducing the cost of trucking operations.
Wal-Mart has ordered 15 Tesla trucks, five for the United States and ten for Canada. Wal-Mart operates about 6,000 trucks in the U.S. and this order for the Tesla is to test how well they perform for them. JB Hunt, a large trucking company in the U.S. has ordered the Tesla as well. They did not indicate how many were order, but they said these trucks will be used on the West Coast. JB Hunt like Wal-Mart wants to test these trucks to see how they well perform for them. Sysco has ordered 50, while PepsiCo ordered 100. Meanwhile, analysts believe that pre-orders may have already topped 1,200 and still new orders are coming in daily.
Tesla says their most affordable model of the truck will cost $150,000 USD and have a 300 mile (480km) range. Pre-order reservations for the standard Semi will run at $20,000 a piece. Tesla expects production and deliveries to begin sometime in 2019.