By Fred Lambert
Mike O‘Connell, the senior director of North American supply chain for PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay, confirmed the order to Reuters today.
The executive says that the company, which operates over 10,000 trucks, is currently analyzing what routes are best suited for Tesla’s electric trucks in North America but he sees “a wide range of uses for lighter loads like snacks or shorter shipments of heavier beverages.”
At the unveiling event last month, Tesla unveiled two electric truck options with 300 and 500 miles of range.
After Tesla revealed the pricing of its electric semi trucks last month, we learned that the regular production versions for the 300-mile and 500-mile range versions will be $150,000 and $180,000 respectively, while the company is also listing a ‘Founders Series’ version for $200,000.
It means that PepsiCo’s order alone is worth between $15 million and $20 million.
Tesla first started taking reservations with a $5,000 deposit per truck, but has changed the listed deposit price last month to $20,000 for a “base reservation” of the production version and the full $200,000 for the “Founders Series” truck.
O‘Connell didn’t confirm when they placed the order so we don’t know how much they had to deposit.
The order follows Budweiser’s parent company placing a large 40-truck order and another 50 electric trucks from Sysco last week.
Like we reported last week, it almost seems like there’s some sort of snowball effect going on and no one wants to be the one without any Tesla Semi trucks on the books.
Now the total number of confirmed orders publicly announced by companies just reached over 300 trucks, but those are just the orders that were announced.
We expect that several companies and smaller truck operators have also placed orders without publicly announcing it.
Based on the reservation numbers that Tesla has been handing out, they could have over 1,200 reservations at this point, but it’s not clear if the numbers are sequential.
Either way, it’s fair to say that the demand is currently strong for the truck.
As predicted, we are also seeing mainly companies with captive truck fleets operated within their own distribution networks buying the trucks, like PepsiCo, Wal-Mart, Budweiser, instead of freight companies.
It should be easier for those companies to make the transition to electric trucks by deploying charging infrastructure into their distribution networks instead of having to charge on the road or deal with charging at customers like a freight company would.