PepsiCo has ordered 100 of the new Tesla electric semi-trucks, which is the largest order known of the electric rig, as the maker of Doritos chips, Pepsi and Mountain Dew looks to lower its fleet emission and fuel costs, an executive with the company said Tuesday.
Tesla has tried to convince members of the trucking community it can build an electric big rig that is affordable, with the range and the capacity for hauling cargo to compete with the relatively inexpensive diesel trucks that have been time tested.
The early orders are a reflection of the uncertainty over how the market for commercial vehicles that are electric powered will develop. Close to 260,000 Class 8 heavy duty trucks are produced annually in North America, according to an industry research company FTR.
PepsiCo’s order of 100 trucks adds to other orders by over a dozen businesses such as Walmart, J.B. Hunt Transport, and Sysco the foodservice distributor.
Reservations thus far have reached just 267 Tesla semis according to a tally kept by media.
PepsiCo will deploy its Tesla Semis for the shipping of beverages and snack foods between its manufacturing and distribution facilities as well as direct to the retailer within a range of 500 miles, promised by CEO of Tesla Elon Musk.
The semi-trucks are to complement the U.S. fleet of PepsiCo that has more than 10,000 big rigs and represent an important part of the company’s plan to lower its greenhouse gas emissions throughout its supply chain by no less than 20% before 2030, said a spokesperson for the beverage and snack maker.
PepsiCo is conducting an analysis of what routes were best for using the Tesla trucks across North America, but sees several uses for lighter loads such as snacks, or for shorter shipments of beverages that are heavier, said the spokesperson.
Tesla unveiled its new Semi in November and is expecting the vehicle to be in production by 2019.
The spokesperson for Pepsi did not comment about the price PepsiCo paid to have the trucks reserved, when it submitted its orders, or if it is planning to lease the trucks or buy them. Tesla initially said that a $5,000 deposit was needed for each truck pre-ordered, but since then the amount has increased to $20,000 for each truck pre-ordered.
The problems Tesla has in production continue as it has not produced the number of vehicles it projected it would monthly.