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Mass Transit

Tesla introduced its electric tractor trailers last night along with its surprising unveiling of the Tesla Roadster. The company is already winning some big contracts as Walmart has announced preordering 15 of these new giant Tesla Semi trucks. The pilot is planned for the United States and Canada with 5 vehicles for Walmart US and 10 for Walmart Canada, the retailer has said.

Considering this quick post-unveiling announcement, it is likely the deal was done before the battery powered mammoth vehicles were shown off to the world last night. “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,” the world’s biggest retailer said in a statement.

This news comes bringing more trust among other potential clients and for Tesla itself as it aims to give yet another “hardcore smackdown” to gas (and diesel) powered vehicles and electrify the transport industry. “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,” a Walmart spokesperson added.

Elon Musk claimed that these vehicles could save companies thousands of dollars as a Tesla Semi is 25 cents cheaper to operate per mile than a standard diesel truck. If that is indeed true, a Tesla Semi could save a company over $25,000 a year based on the average miles of 100,000 driven by a truck. The company is also promising a range of 500 miles at maximum weight and highway speeds. Musk boasted that the electric semi truck has a drag coefficient of 0.36, making it more aerodynamic than the Bugatti Chiron – a $2.7 million supercar!

Getting too excited? Remember that the vehicle is a long way away from adorning our highways since it will go into production in 2019. Add in the production woes of the Model 3 and we could easily see a few additional years in that timeline. However, this isn’t stopping industry watchers and giants from being the first to try these new battery powered vehicles.

While it may still be a few years away, along with Walmart, the Arkansas based J.B. Hunt Transport Services has also announced reserving “multiple” Tesla trucks as well. “We believe electric trucks will be most beneficial on local and dray routes, and we look forward to utilizing this new, sustainable technology,” John Roberts, president and CEO, said in a statement to the media. CNBC reports Tesla’s shares went up 4.5 percent following J.B. Hunt’s announcement.

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