UPS announced on Tuesday that it had placed an order for 125 Tesla Semi electric trucks, a major win for Elon Musk as he aims to secure a foothold in a brand new market. Since its announcement last month, the Semi has gradually built up a list of high-profile orders ahead of its expected release date in 2019.
“For more than a century, UPS has led the industry in testing and implementing new technologies for more efficient fleet operations. We look forward to expanding further our commitment to fleet excellence with Tesla,” says Juan Perez, chief information and engineering officer. “These groundbreaking electric tractors are poised to usher in a new era in improved safety, reduced environmental impact, and reduced cost of ownership.”
The announcement is by far the largest order placed by a company so far, beating out PepsiCo’s order of 100 trucks announced on December 12. Other major names planning to use the truck include Wal-Mart, which will order 15 trucks, and DHL, which has ordered 10 vehicles. Adam Jonas, automotive analyst with Morgan Stanley, counted “over 250” units from public order announcements in a note prior to Tuesday’s announcement.
UPS is reserving the 500-mile version of the truck. Tesla lists that model on its website at a preliminary price of $180,000, with a $20,000 deposit ahead of delivery.
“We will not be providing our pricing information – what you have is listed prices,” a UPS spokesperson tells Inverse.
The truck has an impressive list of specs. By itself, the vehicle is capable of accelerating from 0-60 miles per hour in just five seconds, a figure that drops to 20 seconds when pulling the maximum legal weight of 80,000 pounds. It’s capable of 65 miles per hour speeds when climbing a five percent grade, a feat that a diesel truck would accomplish at just 45 miles per hour. On top of all this, Tesla plans to build Megacharger stations every 400 miles in the United States, capable of recharging the truck in half an hour
“Because these megachargers are solar-powered, your truck is running on sunlight,” Musk said at the truck’s unveiling.
The semi truck is part of UPS’ overall plan to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions from ground operations by 12 percent by 2025. By that time, the company is also aiming for 25 percent of its electricity consumption to come from renewable sources. Musk’s promise of sunlight-powered trucks could help UPS and others reach its environmental goals.