While rival Nikola is refunding order deposits as a massive and expensive PR exercise, Tesla continues to spruik orders placed by prominent US operators and companies.
Tesla’s latest conquest order for its planned semi electric truck is an order for 50 trucks from a major truck renting and leasing company in California.
The Tesla Semi is currently deep into its test program in the US where its prototypes have been spotted testing in the last few weeks as well as completing a cargo trip from the company’s Gigafactory1in Nevada, transporting battery packs to its Fremont factory in California.
During the trip the Tesla Semi was taken to a number of potential customers visiting the headquarters of some of the companies that have placed orders for the electric truck.
It was first spotted in St-Louis, Missouri at the HQ of Anheuser-Busch the brewer of Budweiser which has placed an order for 40 Tesla Semi Trucks.
The stop at the company gave the closest look yet at the prototype and its electric motors. The truck also visited the HQ of Pepsi in Texas after the soft drink giant placed its massive order for 100 Teslas late last year
The latest company to order the electric truck according to Tesla is major US truck leading and hire operation TCI Transportation in Phoenix, Arizona
TCI has placed deposits for 50 Tesla Electric Semi trucks with the company’s co-president’s, Ryan and Andrew Flynn taking the truck for a drive as part of the publicity for the announcement.
Along with Budweiser, Pepsi and TCI, UPS has ordered 50, FedEx has ordered 20 and another 50 for UAE based waste management company Bee’ah.
TCI Transportation operates a fleet of more than 2,000 trucks, tractors and trailers, which they rent or lease to customers.
Tesla says its 500km and 800km range versions will sell for $US150,000 and $US180,000 respectively, while the company is also listing a ‘Founders Series’ version for $US200,000.
That means that TCI Transportations order is worth between $US7.5 million and $US9 million.
Tesla first started taking reservations with a $US5,000 deposit per truck, but has later changed the listed deposit price to $US20,000 for a “base reservation” of the production version and the full $US200,000 for the “Founders Series” truck.
It is a lot of money for a truck that is still yet to see its first production model role off the line