US soft drink and beer brewing companies have started making the running for Tesla with orders for its electric Semi.
PepsiCo is the latest and so far the largest order with Reuters reporting a 100-truck order.
The news organisation quotes Mike O‘Connell, senior director of North American supply chain for PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay, as saying the parent company is examining best use scenarios for lighter loads of snack products and shorter-range beverages operations.
Emissions reduction was cited as a driving force behind the decision and it is speculated the parent company had placed a down payment of $US 20,000, the figure Tesla now wants for pre-orders.
Famous for beer, Anheuser-Busch says it has placed an order for 40 Tesla semi-trucks as part of a company-wide strategy to employ cutting-edge technology to reduce the environmental impact and increase the efficiency of its operations.
Integrating the Tesla semi-trucks into the brewer’s distribution network will help Anheuser-Busch achieve its commitment to reduce its operational carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2025 – the equivalent of removing nearly 500,000 cars from the road globally each year.
“At Anheuser-Busch, we are constantly seeking new ways to make our supply chain more sustainable, efficient, and innovative,” logistics strategy senior director James Sembrot says.
“This investment in Tesla semi-trucks helps us achieve these goals while improving road safety and lowering our environmental impact.”
The company believes this technology will also improve safety and efficiency, particularly for truck drivers, “and will help ensure drivers continue to play a central role in beer distribution far into the future”.
Anheuser-Busch says it is also working with a number of innovative companies, including: Nikola, to develop and implement hydrogen-powered engines within our network, Otto and Uber Freight, to test autonomous driving technology, and Convoy to access on-demand trucking capacity.
In 2016, an Otto truck carrying 51,744 cans of Budweiser completed an autonomous truckload shipment from Anheuser-Busch’s Fort Collins, Colorado brewery to a wholly-owned distributorship in Colorado Springs, a distance of 212km, marking the first ever commercial beer delivery using autonomous driving technology.
“We can’t wait to get these trucks on the road, and keep leading our industry forward to a greener, smarter future in partnership with some of the world’s most innovative companies,” Sembrot says.
“The transportation industry is evolving fast, and we’re really excited to play a leadership role in driving this evolution by integrating these new technologies across our network.”
Reuters puts confirmed orders so far at 285.