Transport and logistics giant FedEx Corp. said Monday it had reserved 20 electric trucks from Tesla Inc., joining a list of major retailers and transportation providers that have pre-ordered the battery-powered vehicle that is set to launch in 2019.
Memphis-based FedEx will deploy the trucks to FedEx Freight, its less-than-truckload (LTL) unit, in an effort to reduce the company's environmental impact by cutting fuel and emissions and to improve the firm's safety record by using Tesla's advanced technologies, according to a statement from FedEx Freight President and CEO Mike Ducker.
The Tesla Semi will use surround cameras and onboard sensors to enable "enhanced autopilot" features such as object detection, automatic emergency braking, automatic lane keeping, and lane departure warning, the automaker says.
Taken together, those safety and efficiency features will support a better experience for truck drivers than would traditional diesel-fueled vehicles, and will significantly reduce the cost of cargo transport, FedEx said.
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 per battery charge and a $180,000 model with a 500-mile range. Tesla says that both models can be operated at half the cost of diesel vehicles thanks to more-reliable engine mechanics and to fuel savings.
FedEx did not say which model it had reserved. It said it would use its own trailers in the service. FedEx did not respond to a request for comment.