Tesla’s Semi is off to a promising start, despite there being no official pricing information available yet: In addition to a Walmart pilot, Canadian grocery giant Loblaw is purchasing 25 of the heavy duty all-electric transport trucks (via Canadian Press), with a $5,000 deposit for each upfront even though pricing is TBD for the vehicle, which is supposed to start shipping in 2019.
Loblaw has a target of running a fully electric vehicle fleet to support its stores, as part of a goal of reducing its emissions impact by 2030. The plan is to eventually have as many as 350 zero-emission vehicles in operation by that time, and taking those diesel cars off the road could help it reduce its carbon footprint by the equivalent of taking around 20,000 consumer cars with internal combustion engines off the road.
Tesla has said that its cost of operation for the Semi will help shippers save money on a per mile basis right away, and that’s likely meant to help lessen the impact of sticker shock when it finally does reveal the upfront price. But as I mentioned with the Walmart pilot, which will involve a trial of 15 Semi trucks across the U.S. and Canada, there’s additional value in helping these major shippers meet their green targets.
This Loblaw backing is another sign that Tesla’s crazy truck dreams likely aren’t all that crazy after all, and could be perfectly timed to take advantage of a business climate where major retailers with significant logistics operations are looking for ways to minimize their carbon footprint, while also hoping to achieve cost benefits over the lifetime of their fleet.