While Tesla Inc.’s (TSLA) new electric semitrailer trucks aren’t going into production until 2019, they are already a hot commodity. The world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), and trucking firm J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (JBHT) are getting in on the action early, announcing preorders less than a day after Tesla’s highly anticipated unveiling.
On Friday, Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart told CNBC that it has already preordered 15 of Tesla’s electric tractor-trailers. Five of the preordered vehicles will be for Walmart U.S., while the remaining will be for Walmart Canada. (See also: Tesla’s Model 3 Is the ‘iPhone of EVs’: Instinet.)
“We have a long history of testing new technology—including alternative-fuel trucks—and we are excited to be among the first to pilot this new heavy-duty electric vehicle,” said the retailer. “We believe we can learn how this technology performs within our supply chain, as well as how it could help us meet some of our long-term sustainability goals, such as lowering emissions.”
A Semi With Hot-Rod Specs
Also on Friday, J.B. Hunt, one of North America’s largest supply chain companies, said it reserved “multiple” of Tesla’s electric semis which it plans to deploy across its Intermodal and Dedicated Contract Service divisions on the West Coast.
Tesla’s new semi has a 500-mile range at maximum weight and highway speed on a single charge, and is electronically connected with a fleet’s management system. The vehicle can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5 seconds by itself, or in 20 seconds with a legal-maximum 80,000-pound total vehicle weight.
Shares of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based electric car pioneer closed up less than jumped 1% on Friday, extending the year-to-date (YTD) gain to 47.4%, compared to the S&P 500 Index's 15.2% increase in the same period. (See also: Walmart to See Best Year in 3 Decades: Susquehanna.)