Pepsi Buys 100 Tesla Trucks: Do They ‘Have the Right One, Baby?’

Tesla Semi, Image: Tesla

PepsiCo nearly doubled the number of new electric big rigs Tesla will have to manufacture after reserving 100 units. Adding to the list of orders by more than a dozen companies, including other massive companies like Wal-Mart and Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi is helping Tesla make a case for EVs with a fixation on freight.

Last year, the food brand stated it wanted to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent by 2030. With a fleet of over 10,000 units, semi trucks might be a good place to seek improvements. Granted, depending upon how it’s generated, pulling energy from the grid isn’t a perfect solution. But, at that point, it’s someone else’s problem. 

Like the rest of the companies reserving Tesla’s truck, this is something of a trial run. Reuters reported that PepsiCo intends to deploy the semis for shipments between manufacturing and distribution facilities and to retailers within the 500-mile range promised by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Presumably, if everything goes well, the company will order more. Mike O‘Connell, senior director of North American supply chain for PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay, says he sees a wide range of applications for lighter loads (like chips) or shorter shipments of beverages.

However, Pepsi will have to wait before it can begin its field research and discover if Tesla’s truck was “the right one, baby.” Musk doesn’t expect the electric rigs to enter into production until 2019.

O‘Connell didn’t specify how much PepsiCo paid to reserve the vehicles, when it placed its pre-orders, or whether it plans to lease the semis or purchase them. Tesla initially asked $5,000 per truck for pre-orders but Reuters claims the amount had risen to around $20,000 more recently.

[Image: Tesla Motors]