Tesla Semi Pre-Orders in Canada See Loblaw, Walmart Charge Towards Electric Fleet

Tesla’s electric truck announced last week, the Semi, isn’t set to start production until 2019, but some companies in Canada are already placing orders for the futuristic semitractor-trailer.

The country’s largest supermarket chain, Loblaw, has already placed 25 pre-orders for the new Tesla Semi, reports The Canadian Press, which come with a deposit price of $5,000 each.

Tesla has not announced a final selling price for the Semi, only to say the cost to operate is cheaper than a traditional diesel truck, citing $200,000 USD fuel savings and a two-year payback period. The company guarantees the Semi drivetrain will last 1.6 million kilometres, or about 40 trips around the globe.

Loblaw plans to have a fully electric fleet by 2030, which would consist of 350 zero-emission vehicles and a fleet with over 2,500 trailers, which would include Tesla Semi trucks. “It’s part of our commitment to electrify our fleet,” spokeswoman Catherine Thomas said in a statement.

When Loblaw rids its diesel-powered trucks and refrigerated trailers off the roads, it says the move will  reduce over 94,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year, equivalent to taking 20,000 cars off the road.

Walmart Canada to Have Tesla Semi Trucks

American retail giant Walmart has also jumped into the Tesla Semi foray, pre-ordering 10 trucks for its Canadian routes.

“We have a long history of testing new technology — including alternative-fuel trucks — and we are excited to be among the first to pilot this new heavy-duty electric vehicle,” Wal-Mart spokesman Ryan Curell told the Canadian Press in an email. He added “We believe we can learn how this technology performs within our supply chain, as well as how it could help us meet some of our long-term sustainability goals, such as lowering emissions.”

The Tesla Semi can go from 0-100km per hour in five seconds on its own, and achieve the same feat with a fully loaded 80,000 pound (36,287 kg) trailer in 20 seconds. The Semi is able to go 65mph (104kph) up 5% grades, thanks to its four independent motors on its rear axles, something its diesel competitors traditionally struggle with.

The Semi has a range of up to 800km and Megacharger charging stations worldwide will add a 643km boost in just 30 minutes of recharging time. With Enhanced Autopilot as a standard feature for Semi trucks, Tesla says when setup in a convoy of three trucks or more, savings increase for operators.