Tesla Semi orders not so hot down under

By: Rob McKay

Big Australian fleets yet to comment on their interest or otherwise

Tesla Semi orders not so hot down under
A Tesla image of the Semi’s interior, including camera-operated ‘mirrors’


The surge in orders announcements that accompanied last week’s Tesla Semi launch has gone quiet.

Unsurprisingly, the big noises were made in North America, with small fleets of what over there are described as ‘tractors’ rather than prime movers,  claimed by a handful of companies.

Large Australian firms ATN has approached either will not or are yet to comment, though their recent and long-term interest in the electric propulsion here is no secret.

In the US, fleet owner J.B. Hunt Transport Services says it has placed a reservation for "multiple" Semis, with plans to place them with Intermodal and Dedicated Contract Services divisions to support operations on the West Coast, where emissions controls are the stiffest in the country.

"Reserving Tesla trucks marks an important step in our efforts to implement industry-changing technology," Hunt president and CEO John Roberts says.

"We believe electric trucks will be most beneficial on local and dray routes, and we look forward to utilising this new, sustainable technology."

However, US reports, including from Reuters, name Old Dominion Freight Line, Hirschbach Motor Lines and United Parcel Service amongst those making no move.

Walmart appears to have made no announcements on it but business news outlet Bloomberg reports gaining confirmation that the retail and grocery giant had ordered 10 for Canada and five for the US, citing its interest in testing new technology and alternative fuel trucks along with exploring possibilities related to its long-term sustainability goals.

Another US grocery firm, Meijer, has had links with Tesla since 2010 related to its electric vehicle charging station network and currently has five at various premises. It has reportedly ordered four units.

The biggest order with a definite number attached belongs to leading Canadian supermarket chain Loblaw Companies with 25.

"As one of Canada's largest energy users, given the size and scope of our retail network and supply chain, we know we have a critical role to play in helping Canada reach its carbon reduction targets," Loblaw executive vice president, supply chain Rob Wiebe says.

"We are committed to leading responsibly in this area, working with our partners like BYD for sustainable solutions to help our company, and our country, meet those goals."

The firm says the heavy Semi and hybrid refrigerated trailer that Tesla and its boss, Elon Musk, demonstrated "use technology that will be expanded to Loblaw's fleet in the coming years.

"Removing diesel from transport trucks and refrigerated trailers could reduce more than 94,000 tonnes of C02 emissions per year, the equivalent of removing more than 20,000 cars from the road."

Tesla expects to make Semis available to customers in 2019.

While Linfox would make no comment today on Tesla or electric vehicles, it is known to be interested in at least loooking at the option, with chairman Peter Fox and national equipment manager Ray Gamble seen by ATN trucks editor Steve Brooks at the Fuso stand at the recent Tokyo Motor Show, where the truckmaker was spruiking its e-Fuso initiative.

And Toll trialled an electric rigid earlier in the decade.

An examination by Brooks on e-Fuso will appear in fullyloaded.com.au in due course and in December’s ATN magazine.


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