Anheuser-Busch Reserves 40 Electric Semi Trucks From Tesla Motors

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
anheuser busch reserves 40 electric semi trucks from tesla motors

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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  • 87 Morgan 87 Morgan on Dec 08, 2017

    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.

    • Redmondjp Redmondjp on Dec 08, 2017

      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.

  • APaGttH APaGttH on Dec 08, 2017

    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?

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?
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