Less than 24 hours ago, Tesla shook the transportation industry by revealing its solution to regional freight transport: the Tesla Semi. Touting the ability to out-perform its diesel counterparts while being more economically efficient, the all-electric tractor has already begun to make waves in the commercial trucking industry, despite its specifications only being available to the public for under a day. Now, some of the large names in the business have placed preorders to trial the truck in their fleets.
The first company willing to stick its neck out was none other than transportation mogul J.B. Hunt. An official announcement by the company indicated that it has placed multiple reservations for the Tesla Semi, planning to use them in its West Coast operations.
“Reserving Tesla trucks marks an important step in our efforts to implement industry-changing technology,” said John Roberts, CEO of J.B. Hunt, “We believe electric trucks will be most beneficial on local and dray routes, and we look forward to utilizing this new, sustainable technology.”
Walmart has also been a company which has historically investigated the use of alternative transportation for moving its goods. The retailer told CNBC on Friday that it has preordered 15 Tesla Semis to pilot the vehicles in the U.S. and Canada, potentially replacing the fleet of nearly 6,000 vehicles. Walmart hopes that if the technology performs ideally in its supply chain, it could help to reduce supply chain costs and assist the company in meeting some of its long-term sustainability goals such as lower emissions.
Both transport giants have previously mentioned a mutual interest in connected and innovative solutions, Tesla's Semi, being one of the many that fit the companies' needs. During the unveiling Thursday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made several comments regarding the fleet connectivity of the Tesla Semi, making it seem like one of the most connected and intuitively manageable freight trucks available on the market, making it a breeze for transportation companies to track profitability per mile using real data.
With an impressive 500 miles of range on tap when towing a load, the Tesla Semi has some impressive real-world numbers that blow the diesel counterparts out of the water when combined with maintenance costs, overall fuel consumption, and downtime. Though the truck may have a higher upfront cost, Musk indicated that the Semi could save operators an average of 25 cents per mile, allowing for up to a $250,000 savings during the truck's guaranteed 1,000,000 breakdown-free lifetime.
When Musk said that the Semi reveal would blow our minds, we didn't envision that the numbers would be so impressive. Apparently, companies are willing to take the risk of new technology, rapidly buying into the truck despite it being at least two years from production. If the production model lives up to the hype, the industry could be forever changed.