Walmart already has ordered 15 of Tesla’s just-announced electric semitractor-trailer trucks, and has plans to test them for package delivery, according to a CNBC report.
Five of the electric trucks, which reportedly can travel up to 500 miles when full charged, will be used in the U.S., while the remaining 10 will be part of a pilot program with Walmart Canada, CNBC reported.
Tesla said last week that its new trucks will ramp up production in 2019, though some companies in the transportation sector and other industries reportedly already have reserved multiple trucks.
Walmart already has a fleet of more than 6,300 tractors, more than 63,000 trailers and almost 200 straight trucks, the largest fleet of any retailer, according to Transport Topics. This means the Walmart knows its trucks, and knows what it’s looking for as it seeks greater cost efficiency out of its fleet.
As reports suggested, the retail giant probably got a good look at the new Tesla truck while it was in development, and made the decision to order them well before the public unveiling.
Still, it’s going to be a while before we see what these trucks can do for Walmart, let alone on a large scale when used for package delivery. It’s going to be more than a year before Tesla has them in production, and the company, while innovative and ambitious, is famously bad at meeting its aggressive deadlines.
Walmart wasn’t the only retailer to jump at the chance to order the new Tesla truck. The Canadian grocery chain Loblaw put in an even larger order — 25 trucks — according to Reuters.
There is an opportunity here for any large retailer that owns and operates its own truck fleet to adopt electric trucks, not only for the potential long-term cost savings but also for the PR points it can score as a champion of sustainability.