Wal-Mart, Anheuser-Busch, DHL to test Tesla Semi; now UPS, Pepsi too (more updates)


Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi

An Instagram post by an "outdoor living design and construction firm serving the Chicago Southland" seems to confirm at least several hundred reservations for Tesla's new all-electric truck.

Elemental Landscapes of Illinois posted a screenshot of its reservation for three Tesla Semi trucks, showing a reservation number EO000001230.

If the reservation numbering system is sequential, Tesla could be sitting on a significant number of truck reservations before the all-electric hauler hits the road.

DON'T MISS: Tesla Semi: 500-mile range, lower running costs than diesel... and it's fast

What's not known is whether Tesla has followed its practice to date and designated the first 1,000 units as a Founder's Series.

Orders to date could be for Founder's Series trucks, regular production, or both. At a minimum, it seems likely Tesla is closing in on 350 reservations—and perhaps as many as 1,350.

The Chicago landscaping firm is one of many businesses, large and small, that have placed reservations for Tesla's electric Semi.

Elemental Landscapes Tesla Semi reservation

Elemental Landscapes Tesla Semi reservation

The latest to join the queue, revealed by Reuters this Tuesday, is United Parcel Service, which placed the largest single order for Tesla Semis disclosed to date: 125 trucks.

That distinction previously belonged to Pepsi, whose order for 100 trucks became public on December 13.

Other companies are making bets on the Tesla Semi as well: Anheuser-Busch has reserved 40 Semis, while food-distribution company Sysco ordered 50.

READ MORE: Tesla Semi, new Roadster distract from Model 3 production problems

To reduce fuel costs and its overall carbon footprint, the brewer will test the truck's viability in short-haul deliveries "to wholesalers within 150 to 200 miles of its brewery locations," reports The Wall Street Journal.

Anheuser-Busch or one of its dedicated carriers will end up leasing or buying the vehicles, said James Sembrot, the company’s senior director of logistics strategy.

Retailer Wal-Mart told CNBC in November it had preordered 15 of the trucks—5 for the United States, 10 for Canada—to join its fleet of about 6,000 trucks.

Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi

Shipping company DHL has ordered Tesla Semis too. The company has a history of investing in electrified vehicles and owns small German delivery truck manufacturer StreetScooter.

The logistics division of DHL "intends to use the heavy-duty Tesla trucks for shuttle runs and same-day customer deliveries in major U.S. cities," reports The Wall Street Journal.

DHL Supply Chain president of transportation in North America Jim Monkmeyer isn't worried about the trucks' arrival date.

“Something like this that’s new and is as complex as the Semi, I don’t know if we can count on specific dates. We understand the challenges [Tesla is] facing,” he said. “This is the future and we want to be in on the ground floor.”

CEO Elon Musk has said the Semi will be delivered in 2019, though the company has not met its first promised dates for launch or volume production of any electric car it builds.

Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi

Still, the Tesla Semi isn't the best fit for every hauling task.

"We met with Tesla and at this time we do not see a fit with their product and our fleet,” Dave Bates, senior vice president of operations for Old Dominion Freight Line Inc, told Reuters.

Old Dominion is the fourth-largest carrier in the U.S. that consolidates smaller freight shipments into single trucks for shipment both locally and across the country.

Tesla says the Semi truck is expected to cost $150,000 for a 300-mile version, and $180,000 for a 500-mile version, when it goes on sale.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was originally published on December 11, 2017. It was updated on December 13 to reflect a report Pepsi had joined the list of companies that have ordered Tesla Semis, and again on December 19 to reflect the addition of United Parcel Service as well. In addition, it was updated to reflect the possibility of a Founder's Series of 1,000 trucks.

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