Tesla has takers for electric Semi: J.B. Hunt, Walmart, grocery chains: UPDATE

John Beltz Snyder

It was just hours ago that Tesla unveiled its electric Semi truck. It has up to 500 miles of range, can add 400 miles of range in just 30 minutes of charging. It can do 0-60 in just 5 seconds, or in 20 seconds while pulling 80,000 pounds of cargo. It will go into production in 2019, Tesla says (we're not holding our breath, though). One key detail still missing is the price. While Tesla says the Semi can be reserved for $5,000, it hasn't said how much the truck will actually cost. That hasn't stopped at least four companies from saying they'll give the Tesla Semi a shot, though.

Freight company J.B. Hunt and retailer Walmart have both raised hands to try the electric truck.

J.B. Hunt says it has reserved "multiple" Tesla Semis, which it will test along the West Coast. J.B. Hunt President and CEO John Roberts said in a statement, "Reserving Tesla trucks marks an important step in our efforts to implement industry-changing technology. We believe electric trucks will be most beneficial on local and dray routes, and we look forward to utilizing this new, sustainable technology."

Walmart plans to test Tesla Semi Trucks in the U.S. in Canada, the company told CNBC. "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." The company added, "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."

In addition, Canadian grocery chain Loblaw has placed an order for 25 of Tesla's trucks. The order furthers Loblaw's goal of having a fully electric corporate fleet by 2030, spokeswoman Catherine Thomas said. She did not disclose the cost of the trucks.

And Midwestern grocer/retailer Meijer has ordered four Tesla Semis and made the $5,000 down payments. "We have made a small financial commitment to ensure we are at the front of the line to test this new Tesla truck technology, which has the potential to not only reduce our carbon footprint but also realize cost savings that will allow us to keep prices low for our customers," said Frank Guglielmi, Meijer spokesman.

While Tesla hasn't revealed the price of the vehicle, the company did offer insights into how it could save operators in operating costs. With lower fuel and maintenance costs compared to diesel trucks, Tesla says its Semi can save operators over $200,000, and that it will pay back its higher up-front cost in just two years. More specifically, Musk said that operating costs over a 100-mile route would average $1.26 per mile, compared to $1.51 per mile for a diesel rig. Tesla also says the Semi will be guaranteed to last 1 million miles.

Tesla stock was up this morning. Interestingly, shares of J.B. Hunt dropped, according to Reuters.

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Tesla has takers for electric Semi: J.B. Hunt, Walmart, grocery chains: UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 17 Nov 2017 12:55:00 EST.