In what amounts to the largest order yet for the product, PepsiCo has placed a pre-order for 100 units of the Tesla Semi Truck — an order effectively twice that of the previous largest order (an order for 50 units from Sysco).
PepsiCo, for those who don’t keep a close eye on the junk food sector, isn’t just the manufacturer of Pepsi soda — it’s also the owner of the Doritos chips brand, the Mountain Dew soda brand, and many others.
The new reservations were placed by the company in order to help its efforts to lower fuel costs and fleet greenhouse gas emissions, according to an exec at the company.
The high interest from PepsiCo represents possibly even more of a coup than the earlier order for 50 units from the food distributer Sysco did — with it now seemingly likely that some PepsiCo competitors will feel compelled to follow suit.
The number of reservations taken to date, going on the tally that Reuters is keeping going, now stands at 276 (at the least). That’s a fairly high number considering that Tesla is reportedly now requiring a deposit of $20,000 per unit reserved — as opposed to the $5,000 that it was previously requiring. Using that figure, that means that PepsiCo seems to have just given Tesla $2 million in free-to-use capital.
We of course can’t confirm for sure that that’s what actually happened, but it would stand to reason. For a company like PepsiCo, of course, $2 million is essentially chump change. For Tesla, it could help a bit while Tesla Model 3 is in production hell, Tesla Model Y is getting ready for its eventual reveal, and a Tesla pickup truck is being developed.
Reuters provides more: “About 260,000 heavy-duty Class-8 trucks are produced in North America annually, according to FTR, an industry economics research firm. … PepsiCo intends to deploy Tesla Semis for shipments of snack foods and beverages between manufacturing and distribution facilities and direct to retailers within the 500-mile (800-km) range promised by Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk.
“The semi-trucks will complement PepsiCo’s US fleet of nearly 10,000 big rigs and are a key part of its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its supply chain by a total of at least 20% by 2030, said Mike O‘Connell, the senior director of North American supply chain for PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay.
“PepsiCo is analyzing what routes are best for its Tesla trucks in North America but sees a wide range of uses for lighter loads like snacks or shorter shipments of heavier beverages, O‘Connell said. …
“O‘Connell declined to say how much PepsiCo paid to reserve its trucks, when it placed its pre-orders, or whether it plans to lease the trucks or buy them outright.”
With a total semi truck fleet of some 10,000 units, the 100-strong Tesla contingent will represent roughly 1% — roughly on par with the share of the total automotive sales market in the US now held by plug-in electric vehicle sales, it’s worth noting.
As a reminder, current plans call for Tesla to released its semi truck offering in 2019.