Shipping giant FedEx Corp. this week agreed to buy 20 TeslaSemis, becoming the latest major corporation to place a preorder for the all-electric delivery truck.
Tesla's Semi trucks cost $190,000 to $257,000 each, depending on features, meaning the FedEx deal is likely worth between $3.8 million and $5.1 million.
“FedEx has a long history of innovation and incorporating sustainability efforts throughout its global network,” FedEx Freight CEO Mike Duckersaid in a statement. “Our investment in these trucks is part of our commitment to improving road safety while also reducing our environmental impact.”
FedEx Freight focuses on less-than-truckload freight shipping. In 2016, FedEx deployed a little over 1,800 electric trucks worldwide, as part of a global fleet of some 2,700 alternative fuel vehicles.
The Tesla Semi isn’t scheduled to go into production until 2019. Early prototypes have been spotted in Silicon Valley and on Interstate 80, between Tesla’s battery factory in Reno and its car plant in Fremont. It’s about 260 miles between the two factories, up and and over the Sierras.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the Semi in mid-November, promising that the truck’s batteries would have a 500-mile range before they needed to be recharged. Early customers will likely need to install high-capacity battery charging stations at their distribution facilities. Eventually, Tesla plans to build new “Megacharger” stations capable of charging a Semi up to a 400-mile range in 30 minutes.
Tesla hasn’t said how many Semi trucks it’s sold yet. Based on press releases from major companies like FedEx, Tesla has likely pre-sold well over 350 Semis to date.
Shortly after the truck was unveiled, UPS bought 125 trucks, Pepsi bought 100 trucks, Anheuser-Busch bought 40 trucks and Canadian grocery store chain Loblaw bought 25 trucks.
The truck is designed around autonomous driving, with a radically redesigned cabin for driver comfort. Eventually, Tesla believes its self-driving trucks will be able to draft off one another in a convoy, improving their range.