You Know Who's Really Excited About the Tesla Electric Truck? Budweiser.

Let us explain.

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Tesla

Since the Tesla Semi truck was unveiled in November, every week has brought a new announcement of investors: PepsiCo preordered 100. Sysco ordered 50. Anheuser-Busch ordered 40. Canadian grocery chain Loblaw’s ordered 25. It’s a remarkable display of confidence in electric trucking by a single industry—not to mention a huge investment. The reasons behind this surprising confluence turn out to be not surprising at all.

Idling Restrictions

With diesel trucks, there are all sorts of restrictions on idling rules, and those engines actually have to be on to power supporting systems like lift gates and refrigeration. Electric vehicles are great because you don’t have to have an engine idling for an hour or two hours while you unload the vehicle. You can draw directly from the battery pack of the vehicle.—Dakota Semler, Founder and CEO, Thor Trucks

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Travel Distance

When you look at beverage companies and grocery chains, a lot of what they’re moving is going to be on a short-haul basis, like trucking product from a beverage distribution plant to regional distributors. From an electronic standpoint that’s a fantastic setup. You don’t have to deal with diesel fuel, and you’d be able to have that dedicated infrastructure set up for charging stations along the way while you go back and forth.—Jon Samson, Executive director, Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference, American Trucking Associations

Emissions

Our PepsiCo vehicle fleet is currently comprised of several different fuel-efficient models, including electric-­vehicle box trucks, compressed-natural-gas tractors, and advanced diesel technology from some of the leading manufacturers around the world. The Tesla Semi truck represents one part of our broader strategy, offering us a unique opportunity for us to explore electrification across our Class Seven and Eight fleet.—Brooke Vane, Company representative, PepsiCo

Community Impact

Food and beverage companies are a really unique space; often they have a hub model where their inbound product will come into the distribution center through one fleet, and then their delivery fleet will deliver it to regional stores, like a grocery store. A lot of these delivery fleets support businesses in residential neighborhoods, which creates conflict for residents who don’t want loud, dirty diesel trucks driving through their neighborhood. With electric, you can have a fleet that operates without anyone ever hearing them. They create less road noise than a conventional gas passenger car. That’s really impactful for quality of life.—Dakota Semler

Driver Satisfaction

One of the biggest areas of headache for trucking companies is retaining drivers, and these trucks have a very innovative design. It is a more comfortable experience for the driver: They’re surrounded by windows and there are other features that we think can help make a very tough job a better job. So we view that as a potential source of return, less turnover in the drivers that drive our products to market.—James Sembrot, Senior director of ­strategy and logistics, Anheuser-Busch

Case Study: Hauling Beer

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• Anheuser-Busch preordered 40 Tesla electric Semis for use in short-­distance deliveries from the brewery to wholesalers and has partnered with Nikola to develop hydrogen-powered long-haul technology.

• Anheuser-Busch spends about $120 million on fuel each year, which includes fuel for its dedicated fleets and long-haul transportation by private carriers that move beer between breweries and wholesalers. Each year, trucks transporting Anheuser-Busch product travel enough miles to circle the Earth 18,000 times.

• The 40 Tesla tractors will be part of a 750-truck fleet that transports beer from Anheuser-Busch’s breweries directly to wholesalers.

• On any given day, if you took each of Anheuser-Busch’s tractor trailers en route to customers and lined them up one directly in front of the other, the line would stretch 50 miles.

• According to Tesla’s estimates, Anheuser-Busch could expect to save $8 million on fuel by using the 40 Tesla electric Semis.


This appears in the March 2018 issue.


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