Tesla’s new electric semi truck is off to a promising start. Walmart has reportedly expressed interest in being among the first companies to pilot the all-electric heavy-duty truck.
The retailer told CNBC that it has pre-ordered 15 new electric semis and is “excited to be among the first” to test the new vehicle, and to see how it might help them achieve “long-term sustainability goals” including decreasing their overall emissions footprint.
The retailer will pilot the Tesla Semi across the US and Canada, the company said.
According CNBC’s, Walmart operates about 6,000 of its own trucks to transport stocks from distribution centers to its stores.
Canada’s largest supermarket chain Loblaw also announced it is buying 25 Tesla Semis with a US$5,000 deposit for each upfront, Canadian Press reports.
Loblaw has a target of running a fully electric vehicle fleet to support its stores as part of a goal to reduce its emissions impact by 2030. The plan is to eventually have as many as 350 zero-emission vehicles in operation by that time.
Recently unveiled by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the long-awaited electric semi truck can go 500 miles at highway speed on a single charge. It can also go 0 to 60 mph towing 80,000 lbs, its maximum tow load, in just 20 seconds.
The vehicle is electronically connected to the fleet’s management system. It also allows the driver to stand and put the steering wheel in the centre with a touchscreen panel on both sides of the driver.
CNBC said the average number of miles driven in a year per large truck is just over 100,000, citing industry analysts’ figures.
According to Musk, the Tesla Semi costs 25 cents cheaper per mile to operate than a standard diesel truck. That means each Tesla Semi could save a company at least US$25,000 a year.
Musk said the truck is set to go into production in 2019. No official pricing information is available yet.
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