A couple of weeks ago, it was Anheuser-Busch who placed an order for 40 Tesla Semi trucks. A week ago, PepsiCo put in an order for 100 Semi trucks. Today, according to Reuters, United Parcel Service (UPS) is giving Tesla its biggest Semi truck order to date for 125 vehicles. At a cost of around $200,000 each, Tesla wants America’s transportation companies to switch to electric big rigs that also offer sufficient range and cargo capacity.
Tesla realized when developing the Semi it would be competing against diesel trucks, which have proven themselves for years as efficient (enough) and generally low-cost carriers. A conventional diesel truck for UPS costs about $120,000, but UPS believes the Tesla Semi truck will have lower ownership costs in the long-run. So far Tesla has received $25 million worth of orders for its Semi truck, which isn’t due to arrive for a couple of years. Others who’ve pre-ordered Tesla Semis include Wal-Mart, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. and food service distributor Sysco Corp. What helped seal the deal for UPS was by giving Tesla some real-world routing information when it was evaluating whether to make the purchase.
“As with any introductory technology for our fleet, we want to make sure it’s in a position to succeed,” Scott Phillippi, UPS senior director for automotive maintenance and engineering for international operations, told Reuters. Those 125 trucks will enable UPS to make a proper determination of their capabilities, but their future routs, mainly in the US, are still being decided.