By on December 7, 2017

tesla semi

When you’re selling the self-professed “King of Beers,” you’re going to want to transport them in a style befitting of royalty. Either that, or you’re interested in keeping your shipping costs to a minimum and have the capital necessary to invest in new technologies like an electric semi.

Anheuser-Busch, maker of Budweiser and over a dozen other beer brands, has decided to purchase 40 of Tesla’s battery-electric trucks. The company said it made the move in hopes of reducing fuel costs and cutting vehicle emissions. We’d also gamble that the adult beverage purveyor is interested in the vehicle’s claimed autonomous driving capabilities.

In 2016, an Otto truck carrying nearly 52,000 cans of Budweiser completed an autonomous delivery of 132 miles from Anheuser-Busch’s brewery in Ft. Collins, Colorado, to a distributor in Colorado Springs. The news was heavily promoted by the company, which had previously expressed an interest in autonomous shipping applications.

“At Anheuser-Busch, we are constantly seeking new ways to make our supply chain more sustainable, efficient, and innovative,” said James Sembrot, senior director of logistics strategy, in a press release. “This investment in Tesla semi-trucks helps us achieve these goals while improving road safety and lowering our environmental impact.”

However, it’s not just beer companies buying Tesla’s truck. Walmart announced it had preordered 15 trucks immediately after its unveiling as part of a North American pilot program to see how they would perform. Transport services like J.B. Hunt, DHL, and Ryder have also placed orders with Tesla.

All told, it’s estimated that the manufacturer currently has about 150 reservations with various companies — most of which just want to suss out how well the electric trucks stack up against traditional diesel models. The Tesla-branded haulers start at $150,000 when equipped with power source good for 300 miles. But customers willing to spend $180,000 can have a version with a 500-mile range.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims the trucks should be available by 2019 and that the company will begin deploying “megachargers” that can can resupply enough energy for 400 miles of travel in around 30 minutes. While that’s a major improvement compared to the company’s existing supercharger network, it’s still not as fast as the fueling islands slinging diesel at roadside truck stops.

[Image: Tesla Motors]

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47 Comments on “Anheuser-Busch Reserves 40 Electric Semi Trucks from Tesla Motors...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Haven’t heard much from Fremont and Sparks these days. Anybody know how Elon’s production “hell” is coming along?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      If you want detailed Tesla updates, see:
      http://electrek.com
      http://teslarati.com

      Many would call these Tesla fan sites, and they do generally have a pro-Tesla / pro-EV editorial slant. But they publish as much detail (both positive and negative) as they can get, and you can get a pretty good idea of what’s going on if you read critically.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Not enough range, rapid chargers not feasible, too expensive, lithium shortage, coal power plants, virtue signalling, reduced cargo weight capacity, dangerous in crashes, Chinese control of rare metals, Musk overpromising, range impaired in cold weather, climate impact of manufacturing, Tesla bankruptcy.

    Where are the P&T? (prolific and tedious)

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      You covered most of them. Another would be the fact that there are 2 million 18-wheelers on the road, so Tesla’s 150 orders are a joke to some people.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Everything Musk does is a joke to some people. Except all the things Musk does that they don’t even know about.

        150 may not be a big chunk of the fleet, but you have to start somewhere and it’s just as fair to view 150 as a significant vote of confidence at this point. Whether the Tesla electric semi works out, dirty fuel-guzzling crude dangerous road dinosaurs are not the future of heavy trucking.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Seems like you’re right here, so…

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Not enough range? Not every semi is making a cross country run. Many are going from a regional distribution center to “nearby” delivery points. 500 miles is plenty for many situations.

      Like most things, there is not a single solution for all circumstances.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        +The number of Model 3s made! Or Semitrucks ordered, whichever is higher!

        Shorter range, local trips, interrupted by enough time for a recharge, is the low hanging fruit for BEVs of any class. It’s also the kind of trips which are most likely to go through areas where diesel emissions are most problematic.

        Longer range in all honesty ought to be handled by electrified highways and/or railways, rather than by hauling gratuitous amounts of rare earths back and forth across the country.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      Range similar to a rigid, rapid chargers work perfectly okay, total oqwnership cost is similar to diesel, safer than diesel in crashes, Chinese control less than a quarter of rare metal supply (mostly USA and Australia).

      FoxNews is not a reliable source of information.

      • 0 avatar
        markf

        Range similar to a rigid, rapid chargers work perfectly okay, total oqwnership cost is similar to diesel, safer than diesel in crashes, Chinese control less than a quarter of rare metal supply (mostly USA and Australia).

        FoxNews is not a reliable source of information.”

        Who cited Fox News? Get over your derangement….

        “China holds a commanding monopoly over world REE supplies, controlling about 95 percent of mined production and refining,” James Clapper, U.S. director of national intelligence, told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence recently. ”

        https://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/at-the-edge/2013/04/02/chinas-continuing-monopoly-over-rare-earth-minerals

        “China controls 97% of global rare earth metals production.”

        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/dec/26/rare-earth-metals-us

      • 0 avatar
        bking12762

        Which news source do you suggest that is reliable?

        • 0 avatar
          markf

          “Which news source do you suggest that is reliable?”

          I don’t need to make a suggestion, I simply pointed out that no one cited Fox News and that the person who made the comment about Fox not being reliable has Fox News derangement syndrome as shown by his commenting on the fact that no one cited Fox News.

          He seems to think that simply stating nonsense makes it true and offers no citation for “Chinese control less than a quarter of rare metal supply (mostly USA and Australia)”

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      You missed the biggest problem…the cargo. As they will be hauling Anheuser-Busch beer our best hope is that the rigs are driverless and the computer drives the trucks over a cliff. If that happens I’ll buy Tesla stock.

    • 0 avatar
      vehic1

      No particular fan of Tesla, but otherwise, diesel + human drivers: tailgating, drivers overtired, drivers attempting to pass trucks traveling at 60.000 mph while going 60.0001 mph, emphysema, lung cancer, improved pollution control at power plants vs millions of quasi-maintained individual motors, etc.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    These are serious trucking firms betting on electric as a cost-reducer, so Tesla needs to deliver on that promise. Whether they can do it in 2019 is another question.

    By the way, electric trucks don’t need to fill up as fast as diesel. Driving time restrictions mean the truck sits idle for a while, anyway. This isn’t the Cannonball Run, you know.

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      This. Charge stations at truck stops will be in high demand for overnighting electric road warriors.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      I would wager that most diesel fill up stops take nearly 30 minutes as it is, once the driver hits the restroom and picks up more snacks. The bigger concern for the mega charger would be scheduling. A 30 minute recharge will suck if there’s 3 trucks ahead of you in line.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      “Driving time restrictions mean the truck sits idle for a while, anyway. This isn’t the Cannonball Run, you know.”

      But with autonomous features and Republican legislators truck drivers will have to spend 36 hours at a time in the cab or lose their pay for the run.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      If I’m Tesla, I’m going to primarily sell these into the regional delivery market instead of the Over-The-Road market. Certainly electric trucks that can just plug into an outlet back at the depot or distro center every night make a lot more sense than trying to equip a truck stop with enough grid capacity to run a decent-sized factory.

      • 0 avatar
        Guitar man

        Trucks do not refill at consumer petrol stations, they do so in the companies own facilities.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          It depends on the trucks. Go hit a large truck stop and you’ll find 20-30 or more diesel pumps and many will be quite busy if the price is right.

          Many smaller to mid size fleets that traditionally bought fuel in bulk and had their own pumps have been forced out by the regulations on underground and above ground petroleum storage tanks. The fleet I used to maintain had to get rid of their’s as the required upgrades just weren’t cost effective with the 40something vehicles at that location.

          So they set up accounts with the local unattended “card lock” chain.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yup there are lots of trucks that go out and do 1-200 miles at most in a day and then return to the same spot to be loaded for tomorrow’s run.

  • avatar
    tsoden

    I would be taking Elon’s manufacturing date with a grain of salt. His track record for keeping timelines seems to be his Achilles heel.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    1) Make truck with very large fillets in NX
    2) Show renders to the world
    3) Take preorders for said truck

    Sounds like a sensible way of doing business to me!

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      My brief 1-year experience with NX wasn’t great, but I think it was my employer’s style of using it that burned me. Ironically, my (former) employer *owned* NX via acquisition.

      That said, maybe you didn’t know they had an actual prototype truck running around at the latest reveal.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    The US may not be the primary market here. My guess is that we will first see electric trucks like this first mandated in noisy and crowded European city centers.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    This is the GRANDEST of pyramid schemes. Take deposits for this OTR electric big rig-while they can’t even get full-scale production of a Model 3.

    I just can’t wait of the “House of MusK” to come crumbling down….

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Why shouldn’t Tesla take pre-orders like everyone else does?

      Good thing Walmart, JB Hunt, Anheuser-Busch, DHL, etc have you to warn them against the schemes of Dr Evil Musk’s pyramid scheme. Because those companies aren’t so street-wise.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        And we all know corporations never make bad decisions, because they are guided by the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Hand of The Market.

        Furthermore, $5k per truck deposit is a drop in the bucket for these mega corporations even if they view it as a risk to be lost. They get positive PR out of it even if the trucks never materialize, and can claim it isn’t THEIR fault they can’t reduce their carbon footprint, they planned to but Elon Musk let them down!

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    40 Tesla Vaporwares. Neato.

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    If I were Musk I would do away with the batteries entirely. Then I would encourage the installation of copper AC conductors along the edges of all lanes on all highways and byways. And the “gas” pedal won’t be necessary anymore – throttle control can be achieved by a little black wheel mounted on a red box. In fact, all the self-driving gadgetry can be simplified down to a slot in the middle of a road to receive a guide pin from the bottom of the truck. Don’t think it will work? Just check out my beloved Electric Trucking set as proof-of-concept.

  • avatar

    Is there production paradise? That’s where Tesla needs to be. The problem is that if you go to hell (normally after death) there is no point of return – it is for eternity. The whole idea of hell is suffering for eternity

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    It amazes me how anyone can think that Tesla has a viable business model.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I thought AB already had an all-natural delivery system using proven technology in the form of Clydesdales fed on brewery mash and grass.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Autonomous trucking can’t happen soon enough. I drove to Ontario from Maine last week, and I think every truck driver on the Thruway was doing something with their phone.

    Truckers were all over the lanes, into the rumble strips, passing vehicles at the last possible second. Truck drivers have apparently gotten much worse with the rise of smartphone usage.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Some of them think they are driving Miatas.

    • 0 avatar
      cimarron typeR

      +1. As a regular commuter on I 70 in KC metro I applaud their efforts. Especially with respect to attention to autonomous driver assist. There are several annual fatalities just here in KC alone due to trucks carrying much too much speed given the poor lane awareness of our drivers in general.

  • avatar
    Silent Ricochet

    Is it weird that all I can think about is how quiet toll booth plazas are going to be with these whispering up to them instead?

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Some very interesting comments regarding the Tesla semi. The term OTR has been used. ‘Over The Road’ trucking is, in my recollection, the term for interstate highway hauling versus intrastate trucking. Pick up at the terminal in Houston and drop off in Edina MN for example and the operator is in the truck virtually the entire time driving, sleeping, or watching tv is interstate and not the intended use of the Tesla truck near as I can tell.

    Pick up in Fort Collins CO at the Budweiser plant and drop off in Colorado Springs? One driver can do this twice in one day, easily. AB ordering/investing in 20 or however many they ordered makes complete sense. 1. The amount of $$ they will spend is negligible compared to the profit of the macro operation. 2. If they electric trucks are a success it will save the company millions in shipping costs. They win either way, small investment to see if the technology works the downside is a drop in the bucket compared to the upside.

    Same for Wal-Mart. They load at the massive train depot in Cheyenne WY and distribute all across the region, Denver especially. 120 miles between the two cities.

    The other thing to keep in mind with the rapid charging, when the Wal-Mart truck backs up to the loading dock it is not like the entire 52′ trailer is emptied immediately. If a rapid charger can be installed at each location you could virtually recharge or top off in the amount of time it takes to unload.

    Finally, what this could do for local air quality is incalculable. If this can work and Paccar, Volvo and others get on board and develop dump trucks, garbage haulers, box trucks and what have you the improvements to urban air quality would be substantial. We have all been behind, the cement truck or dump truck that is unintentionally rolling massive amounts of coal. The idea of retiring these rigs does not hurt my feelings one bit.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      I’m with you, but if we as a country are serious about electrifying our vehicle fleets, we’re going to have to spend hundreds of billions of dollars upgrading our electrical system first.

      Across our nation we should be building 25-50 new latest-generation nuclear plants right now. New nuclear plants have passive safety features designed right in, so they can lose all coolant and not melt down. Most plants in operation today have designs dating back to the 1960s and early 1970s.

      Alternative energy sources will never provide enough power for our needs. They will have to be supplemented with other power sources as well as a lot of storage as well. This all takes an incredible amount of money.

      I used to work for a privately-held electric utility, which got bought out and is now owned by an Australian investor group. These new owners exist to make money, not to upgrade the power systems to provide a massive increase in capability in order to serve electric vehicles. There is no short-term payback in doing so and that’s all that they care about.

      So as much as I am in favor of this new technology and want to see it happen, from a practical standpoint, we have massive hurdles to overcome on the energy supply side. Now if the Department of Energy actually held to its original mission and was driving these infrastructure improvements, then maybe we would have a chance.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I will remind the Teslarati that a number of other makers have taken a pile of deposits (including Tesla) on products still in a near vaporware state and never delivered said orders.

    CEOs change, market conditions change, business models change, and suddenly these commercial orders (very different from 1 off consumers) go poof!

    How about all those Volts and Leaves that GE, etc. etc. etc. claimed they were going to buy a decade ago?

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