Elon Musk’s electric semi truck has some big interest. The Tesla Semi, unveiled at an event at the Tesla Design Studio earlier this month, promises a range of around 300 to 500 miles per charge, enough to cover a large amount of deliveries. Retailers and delivery firms have lined up to pledge their plans to try out the truck for themselves when it enters production in 2019.
Transport Topics News reported on Thursday that six major firms have plans to try out the new vehicle. Retailers Wal-Mart, Meijer and Loblaw have joined carriers J.B. Hunt, Bison and NFI. While some have confirmed they will order a specific number of vehicles, others are taking a more cautious approach.
Tesla has unveiled preliminary pricing for the base model Tesla Semi. The 300 mile model is expected to start at $150,000, with a 500-mile model at $180,000. The vehicles require a $20,000 deposit prior to delivery. A typical diesel truck is around $120,000, making it an attractive offer.
In an statement to CNBC, Wal-Mart said it plans to order 15 trucks, five for the United States and 10 for Canada. The company said that it hopes to learn how the trucks fit into the supply chain, “as well as how it could help us meet some of our long-term sustainability goals, such as lowering emissions.”
Loblaw plans to order 25 trucks for its Canada operations, while Meijer plans to conduct a series of tests in order to “make a decision on whether we will complete the purchase.”
“I am eager for NFI to continue moving toward this next chapter where sustainability plays an even larger role in the story,” said Ike Brown, NFI Vice Chairman and President, who plans to buy the trucks. The company is a big player in the space. It has 41.5 million square feet of storage space and generates around $2 billion in annual revenue.
“Reserving Tesla trucks marks an important step in our efforts to implement industry-changing technology,” said John Roberts, president and chief executive officer at J.B. Hunt, who plans to purchase several. The company is listed on the NASDAQ 100, and it has a $500 million plan spread over the next five years to increase its innovation.
Not everyone was so keen on jumping in headfirst. Bison CEO Rob Penner, who attended the unveiling, said that the truck was “definitely something that we will fully evaluate.”