PepsiCo Inc. has placed the largest pre-order of Tesla Inc.’s electric semi-trailer trucks, 100 of the future big rigs, as a way to reduce fuel costs and fleet emissions.
PepsiCo intends to deploy Tesla semis for shipments of snack foods and beverages between manufacturing and distribution facilities and direct to retailers within the 500-mile range promised by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, according to a story by the Reuters news agency. The trucks were just unveiled last month and are expected to be in production by 2019.
Mike O'Connell, senior director of North American supply chain for PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay, was paraphrased by Reuters as saying the Tesla trucks will complement PepsiCo’s U.S. fleet of nearly 10,000 big rigs and are a key part of its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its supply chain by a total of at least 20 percent by 2030. Because of the limitations on the electric motors, likely shipments would be lighter-weight snacks or short-range shipments of beverages.
Tesla has been trying to convince the trucking community that an electric semi can have the cargo capacity and range to compete with diesel trucks, while remaining affordable.
PepsiCo’s 100 electric trucks add to orders by more than a dozen companies such as Wal-Mart, fleet operator J.B. Hunt Transport Services and foodservice distribution company Sysco, according to Reuters, which estimates 267 Tesla trucks have been pre-ordered so far.