Walmart, the world’s largest retail chain, has set a goal of entirely ditching conventional diesel engines for its truck fleet by 2028. By that date, it expects all its trucks will be powered by alternative fuels, including electricity.
Last year, Walmart ordered 15 Tesla Semi electric trucks for service in the US and another 10 for its Canadian operations. This week, it announced it has added another 30 vehicles for Canada to the order. The company says 20 Tesla Semis will be added to its fleet based in Mississauga, Ontario. According to a company press release, “The remaining 20 trucks will be allocated to the company’s recently announced Surrey, British Columbia sustainable fulfillment center, which is set to open in 2022. This state-of-the-art facility will feature a fully electric Walmart fleet base, a first for Walmart internationally.”
Other big companies that have signed up for the Tesla Semi are United Parcel Service (UPS), which has placed an order for 125, and Pepsi, which has an order for 100 of them. In addition, J.B. Hunt Transport — the largest trucking firm in America — has submitted an order as have Anheuser-Busch, FedEx, and Germany’s Deutsche Post, known in North America as DHL.
Tesla recently sent a prototype of the Semi to the JB Hunt headquarters to let company officials experience the ground breaking electric truck for themselves. Along the way, it also stopped off for a visit to UPS. When it goes into production, the Tesla Semi will feature many of the same semi-autonomous driving features incorporated into the Autopilot system it offers on its passenger cars. One of the most common issues for truckers is detecting vehicles tucked into blind spots. The Tesla Semi will reportedly employ an array of 26 cameras so drivers will be able to see everything going on outside the tractor as well as the semi-trailer attached to it.
Tesla says the Semi will have a range of between 300 and 500 miles, depending on the battery size specified by the customer. The company estimates each truck will save $200,000 in fuel costs for every 1 million miles traveled. How many million miles each will go is something we won’t know until years from now.