Food service distribution giant Sysco Corp. said today it has ordered 50 electric "Semi" model tractors from car manufacturer Tesla Inc. in an attempt to drive down fuel and maintenance costs.
Houston-based Sysco said using electric trucks could also provide a better experience for its drivers and reduce the cost of cargo transport. Scheduled for production beginning in 2019, the trucks will come in models with either 300 or 500 miles of range per charge, according to Tesla.
Sysco's commitment could represent a total investment of $7.5 million to $9 million, based on Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla's price list of $150,000 for its 300-mile range model and $180,000 for its 500-mile range model.
"We are excited to begin the process of incorporating alternative-fuel trucks into our fleet," Tom Bené, Sysco's president and COO, said in a statement.
The Sysco announcement comes a day after St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch Co. LLC, a unit of Belgian brewer AB InBev, said it had placed an order for 40 Tesla semi-trucks.
Several large fleet operators have said they had paid deposits to reserve Tesla trucks. Those include trucking and intermodal giant J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., retailing behemoth Wal-Mart Stores Inc., rental and leasing giant Ryder System Inc., contract logistics provider DHL Supply Chain, and third-party logistics provider (3PL) NFI Industries.