In November, Tesla, owned by Elon Musk and creators of a line of battery-powered automobiles that can compete with traditional gas-powered vehicles, unveiled its newest model of vehicle types, the Tesla Semi Truck. The company obviously hoped to disrupt a shipping industry powered exclusively by gas-powered vehicles. It took its first major step toward that goal recently, landing a pre-order of 100 Tesla Semi Trucks from PepsiCo, the manufacturer and distributor of such popular drinks and snacks and Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Doritos.
Tesla has taken direct shots at the traditional diesel market of cargo trucks with its electric big rigs. According to company owner Elon Musk, the Tesla Semi Truck can travel 400 miles with only 30 minutes of charging, and charging can occur while loading or unloading cargo. High-tech screens for monitoring performance, navigation, and viewing the truck’s surroundings thanks to side-mounted cameras augment the driving experience. The trucks also boast upcoming self-driving abilities.
All told, Musk claims the Tesla Semi Truck operational cost is 85 cents per mile. Which makes sense when you take into account how much product Pepsi moves on a daily basis:
The semi-trucks will complement PepsiCo’s U.S. fleet of nearly 10,000 big rigs and are a key part of its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its supply chain by a total of at least 20 percent by 2030, said Mike O‘Connell, the senior director of North American supply chain for PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay.
Other companies that have pre-ordered Tesla Semi Trucks include Wal-Mart Stores Inc, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc, and Sysco Corp.
The move is an interesting one as companies prepare for a future where greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact become increasingly important to consumers. Not to mention the amount of money that can potentially be saved in shipping costs for large manufacturers such as PepsiCo. If you’ve driven on the highway in your life you’ve noticed how many semi-trucks rule the roadways. Tesla hopes to take over this market and increase energy efficiency along the way.
That’s the most important part of this, in my opinion. I doubt PepsiCo or these other companies are testing electric vehicles simply for the environmental implications. When it comes down to it, most major companies are concerned above all else with the bottom line. So if you can save them money while helping the environment, it’s a win-win for everyone. That’s what Tesla is doing with its line of trucks – providing affordable alternatives that not only reduce emissions, but reduce costs. Gas has been around for so long not because people love the smell of burning fossil fuels, but because the cost and convenience has been better than anything else. By providing a more cost-efficient alternative, Tesla is prompting companies to reduce their carbon footprint by appealing to their wallets over their morals. That’s the way to truly combatting climate change, and this deal with PepsiCo serves as proof-of-concept of that idea.