Tesla Motor Inc. (TSLA) is getting some big orders for its for its new electric semi trucks, which are set to go into production in 2019. Following the Palo Alto Calif.-based company’s public unveiling of the all-electric truck last month, a handful of the world’s largest corporations have been lining up for pre-orders, with $287 billion retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) as one of the first to jump on the bandwagon.
The news shows Tesla’s initial success in convincing the trucking community that it can offer an affordable electric big rig to compete with traditional diesel trucks. (See also: Musk: Tesla’s AI Will Be Best in the World.)
On Thursday, AB Inbev (BUD) was the latest to reserve 40 Tesla semis at $5,000 per reservation. The move its part of the Belgian beverage giant’s larger initiative to cut back on fuel costs and vehicle emissions by 2025. Among other early customers include food distributor Sysco Corp. (SYY), which has placed an order for 50 semis and J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (JBHT), the trucking company which says it has ordered “multiple” semis in an “important step in our efforts to implement industry-changing technology.”
Pre-orders continue to roll in from companies across industries from grocery and food and beverage, to transport and logistics, amounting to at least 140 pre-ordered semis, a number that the carmaker has not officially confirmed. By comparison, about 260,000 traditional heavy-duty Class-8 trucks are produced in North America annually, according to industry economics research firm FTR.
The trucks will start at $150,000 for units with a 300-mile range, with the price upped another $30,000 for trucks with a 500-mile range. Similar to Tesla’s first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3 sedan, there’s likely to be a larger range in price when add-ons are taken into account.