Walmart announced today that it had placed an order for 30 Tesla Semi electric trucks. This is in addition to the 15 trucks ordered at the unveiling of the all-electric semi truck in November of 2017. Soon enough, they’ll have to start looking for bobtail insurance companies to insure these new trucks and make them road worthy.
This latest order is part of Walmart’s efforts to electrify their Canadian trucking fleet. According to John Bayliss, senior vice-president, logistics and supply chain for Walmart, “We are always looking for innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment and lead the industry in the drive for sustainable change.”
As it stands, large companies with fleets of trucks have to spend serious time and expense making sure their fleet is well maintained, their drivers are qualified, and accidents are avoided as much as possible. This is why the dash cams and GPS services provided by a good Fleet Dash Cam Company are so popular because it allows them to analyze driver behavior, cut down on expenses, and avoid accidents. However, with autonomous trucks, they will be able to integrate them with these systems to save even more money and completely avoid driver error.
The first 20 trucks to be delivered will be used in Mississauga, Ontario while the remainder will operate from Walmart’s newest distribution center currently under construction in Surrey, B.C. Walmart indicated that the trucks will primarily operate on shorter, single-day routes traveling between retail outlets and distribution centers, a task easily within the truck’s range of 500 miles per charge. The advancement of trucking automation could have a serious effect on the trucking industry that is currently in place. Will this lead to drivers being obsolete? How will these Tesla trucks help currently?
Walmart is interested in learning just how effective the electric trucks will be and what effect they will have on their overall supply chain. In a statement released with the initial order, Walmart said, “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.”
The trucks, which sell for between $150,000 and $200,000 depending on their individual configuration, are touted by Tesla as “The safest, most comfortable truck ever.” They are powered by 4 independent wheel-motors and have a claimed 0-60 time of 20 seconds with an 80,000 lb load, if that’s what you’re into. They also utilize Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot and a centered driving position for maximum visibility. However, it is unclear whether or not these types of trucks can use normal repair services such as Ferguson truck center if they ever break down or need specialist repair due to their build and complexity. Many Fleet and semi-truck companies often depend on external repair services for their trucks, but due to the quality of Tesla vehicles any repairs may need to be done by the manufacturer themselves.
Walmart plunked down a cool $600,000 deposit to reserve the trucks with the final price for their new electric fleet coming in somewhere between $6 and $8 million depending on the configuration of the trucks. Delivery is slated for mid-2019. Walmart’s new distribution center in Surrey is scheduled to open in 2022 at which time Walmart aims to have 20% of their Canadian fleet all electric.