Walmart is jumping onto Tesla’s electric tractor trailer truck bandwagon early with an announcement that it plans to test run the recently previewed, soon-to-be-released vehicles. Five of the pre-ordered vehicles will service Walmart U.S.; 10 will service Walmart in Canada.
“We have a long history of testing new technology — including alternative fuel trucks — and we are excited to be among the first to pilot this new heavy-duty electric vehicle,” the company said in a statement to CNBC. “We believe we can learn how this technology performs within our supply chain, as well as how it could help us meet some of our long-term sustainability goals, such as lowering emissions.”
The pilot effects just a small percentage of Walmart’s trucks. The electric tractor trailer fleet total is around 6,000.
The expansion out of personal electric cars into the commercial arena was kicked off last week with Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s news that the new truck can run 500 miles on a single charge and is electronically connected with a fleet management system.
Tesla Semis allow drivers to stand, placing the steering wheel in the center, with a touchscreen panel on both sides of the driver.
The truck is scheduled for production in 2019 — though Tesla has a long and glorious history of falling behind on production schedules.
Tesla shares closed up 0.8 percent on Friday.
J.B. Hunt Transport Services announced earlier on Friday it has reserved “multiple” new electric semis just unveiled by Elon Musk.
The truck, according to Musk, is $0.25 per mile cheaper to operate than its gasoline equivalent, netting savings of tens of thousands of dollars a year per truck.
The average number of miles driven a year per large truck is around 100,000, according to industry analysts, meaning Tesla Semis could represent savings of $25,000 a year.