Transport and logistics giant UPS Inc. said today it pre-ordered 125 electric trucks from Tesla Inc., joining a list of major retailers and transportation providers that have placed deposits on the battery-powered vehicle in hopes that it can deliver fuel and emissions cuts when it launches in 2019.
Atlanta-based UPS will add the Tesla Semi trucks to its fleet of alternative fuel vehicles, seeking improved safety, reduced environmental impact, and reduced cost of ownership, according to a statement from Juan Perez, UPS' chief information and engineering officer.
The announcement follows news last week that snack and beverage vendor PepsiCo Inc. had ordered 100 Tesla Semis, after orders by beer giant Anheuser-Busch, a unit of Belgian brewer AB InBev, and food service company Sysco Corp. placed orders for 40 and 50 of the vehicles, respectively.
Palo Alto-based Tesla charges a $20,000 deposit to reserve each electric truck, with plans to deliver a $150,000 model with a 300-mile range and a $180,000 model with a 500-mile range.
UPS cited the 500-mile range as a reason it entered into the transaction, a sign it is reserving the more expensive version. UPS joined the growing chorus of companies hailing the Tesla Semi as both fuel efficient and an improved safety experience thanks to driver-assistance features such as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automated lane guidance, and brake-by-wire and steer-by-wire with redundancy.
The purchase is in line with UPS' prior investments in electric vehicles, including its announcement last month that it planned to convert as many as two-thirds of its New York City delivery van fleet from diesel to electric power within five years. The company has also said that by 2020, one of every four new vehicles it purchases annually will be an alternative-fuel or advanced-technology vehicle, up from 16 percent in 2016.