When you’re selling the self-professed “King of Beers,” you’re going to want to transport them in a style befitting of royalty. Either that, or you’re interested in keeping your shipping costs to a minimum and have the capital necessary to invest in new technologies like an electric semi.
Anheuser-Busch, maker of Budweiser and over a dozen other beer brands, has decided to purchase 40 of Tesla’s battery-electric trucks. The company said it made the move in hopes of reducing fuel costs and cutting vehicle emissions. We’d also gamble that the adult beverage purveyor is interested in the vehicle’s claimed autonomous driving capabilities.
In 2016, an Otto truck carrying nearly 52,000 cans of Budweiser completed an autonomous delivery of 132 miles from Anheuser-Busch’s brewery in Ft. Collins, Colorado, to a distributor in Colorado Springs. The news was heavily promoted by the company, which had previously expressed an interest in autonomous shipping applications.
“At Anheuser-Busch, we are constantly seeking new ways to make our supply chain more sustainable, efficient, and innovative,” said James Sembrot, senior director of logistics strategy, in a press release. “This investment in Tesla semi-trucks helps us achieve these goals while improving road safety and lowering our environmental impact.”
However, it’s not just beer companies buying Tesla’s truck. Walmart announced it had preordered 15 trucks immediately after its unveiling as part of a North American pilot program to see how they would perform. Transport services like J.B. Hunt, DHL, and Ryder have also placed orders with Tesla.
All told, it’s estimated that the manufacturer currently has about 150 reservations with various companies — most of which just want to suss out how well the electric trucks stack up against traditional diesel models. The Tesla-branded haulers start at $150,000 when equipped with power source good for 300 miles. But customers willing to spend $180,000 can have a version with a 500-mile range.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims the trucks should be available by 2019 and that the company will begin deploying “megachargers” that can can resupply enough energy for 400 miles of travel in around 30 minutes. While that’s a major improvement compared to the company’s existing supercharger network, it’s still not as fast as the fueling islands slinging diesel at roadside truck stops.
[Image: Tesla Motors]