Nine major companies have placed reservations for Tesla’s new semi truck, which the automaker plans to start producing in 2019. That is, of course, if the automaker can overcome teething problems in production better than it has with the Model 3. At any rate, Tesla is helping its customers build on-site charging ports at their facilities to accommodate the Semi when it arrives.
Tesla confirmed to Reuters that it’s working closely with large customers to build Semi charging stations. Reuters also spoke with some of the customers, and they confirmed the trucks would only travel on routes that would get them back to the home stations before the batteries run low. It remains unclear if Tesla will pay for some, all, or none of the costs related to building the charging stations.
PepsiCo says it may share costs and facilities with other companies. It pre-ordered 100 copies of the truck last year.
Other clients include Wal-Mart, UPS, Sysco Corp, and J.B. Hunt. Loblaw Companies, a Canadian food retailer, pre-ordered 25 Semi trucks and will likely use solar power at its charging stations, a spokeswoman said. Beer company Anheuser-Busch, which put its name down for 40 Semis, may install its own charging equipment at large breweries and other locations.
It’s unclear how much the Semi charging stations will cost. But charging stations for electric buses could provide some hints. According to a 2016 report from the California Air Resources Board, a fast charger serving six electric buses can cost $249,000. However, analysts told Reuters that EV charging stations for big trucks could run into the millions of dollars depending on how many rigs they accommodate and the energy source for the electricity, among other factors.
Tesla is reportedly mulling a network of charging stations for heavy-duty trucks, much like the 1,100 “Supercharger” stations it operates around the world to charge up passenger cars. Tesla claims these proposed high-speed DC “Megachargers” would be capable of restoring 400 miles of range in just 30 minutes, and that the units would all be solar-powered. Only time will tell if Tesla is able to amass enough Semi sales to justify building the truck charging stations. If customers only use the Semis for short trips, there may be no need for high-speed charging on the road.
Tesla says the truck can travel up to 500 miles on a single charge at max weight traveling 60 mph. With the help of four electric motors sourced from the Model 3, the Semi should hit 60 mph in 5 seconds unloaded, or 20 seconds when towing. Tesla guarantees the drivetrain to last 1 million miles.