International shipper DHL has bought into the Tesla Semi hype, according to the Wall Street Journal. The courier is betting its money on 10 new Semis which it confirmed that it had preordered on Tuesday, expanding the known preorders for the Semi to more than 200 units in under two weeks of the vehicle being revealed to the public
Although short-haul trucking industry couriers understand that the electric transportation market is new, they are also viewing it as a risk worth taking. As more industries begin to invest in electrified and autonomous commercial vehicles, including even the USPS mail service, it becomes clear that companies with large fleets are seeking to simplify its equipment and cut overall cost per mile down as far as possible.
Early adopters of the Semi needed to put down a $5,000 deposit per unit, however, that number has since increased to $20,000 by the end of last week. Should a company want to cut in line to receive one of its newest fleet members ahead of the rest of reservation holders, a paid-in-full price of $200,000 is required for a “Founders Series” Semi. Despite the heavy hit on the wallets and the unknown date of release, many are willing to jump in line.
“Something like this that’s new and is as complex as the Semi, I don’t know if we can count on specific dates. We understand the challenges that they are facing,” said DHL’s North America President of Transportation, Jim Monkmeyer. “This is the future and we want to be in on the ground floor.”
Considering Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s claims that the all-electric freight hauler can travel 500 miles on a single charge while a full load is in-tow, it’s no surprise to see just why these companies are flocking towards early adoption. Charging can occur while crews unload the trailer at its destination, and should the proper charger be available, the Semi can reach a robust 400 miles of range in only 30 minutes. Combined with a “million mile” breakdown-free guarantee and integrated fleet management software, not only will the truck save operators an average of 25 cents (20 percent) per mile, but will also potentially save time and hassle for those who manage the fleet’s resources.
Other companies which have preordered the Semi includes J.B. Hunt, Loblaws, Ryder, Walmart (which alone ordered 15 trucks), and more. The current estimate of known preorders is now believed to be nearing or exceeding 200 units, according to the numbers tallied by Electrek.
Despite being written off as vaporware by some, the Semi is undoubtedly impressive on paper. If Tesla is able to deliver on its promises in a timely manner and provide a sufficient amount of Megacharging stations to be useful, it’s quite likely that the short-haul transportation industry will be flipped upside down by electricity. More and more companies are seemingly willing to take that bet as Tesla’s reservations continue to increase.