Shipping giant UPS announced this morning that it has pre-ordered 125 all-electric Tesla Semi trucks. The order is the largest yet for the truck, trumping last week’s order of 100 vehicles from PepsiCo.
It adds to a growing list of big-name companies who have signed on for the truck, also including Anheuser-Busch, Walmart, trucking company JB Hunt, and grocery chain Meijer. A Morgan Stanley analyst recently estimated that total pre-orders for the truck may have already topped 1,200.
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Some of those orders are small and tentative.Walmart only ordered 15 trucks, for instance, for what it described as a “pilot” program. But UPS (UPS) is showing greater faith in the vehicle, both with the size of its order and some glowing rhetoric. In a statement, UPS chief information and engineering officer Juan Perez called the trucks “groundbreaking” and “poised to usher in a new era” in the safety, environmental impact, and cost of trucking operations.
The cheapest model of the truck is currently expected to cost $150,000 and have a 300-mile range. The truck’s operating costs are estimated to be substantially below those of current diesel trucks, and Tesla is also promising charging subsidies.
The reservation fees, at $20,000 a piece for the standard Semi, will also provide at least a modicum of needed capital for Tesla (TSLA), which is spending fast and faces debt deadlines in 2018. Markets seem to be noticing the wave of truck orders, as well as rumors that Model 3 production is getting back on track: Tesla stock is up more than 10% since December 5.
The Tesla Semi is slated to begin production in 2019.