If you’re anxious to give that new all-electric semi tuck from Tesla a go, then you’re not alone. Despite the fact the truck still doesn’t exist, and may not until 2019 at the earliest, that hasn’t slowed interest in the vehicle. When Tesla owner and CEO Elon Musk introduced the concept in November, Wal-Mart said it had already placed an order for 15 units so it could test the battery-operated semi on the road. With a fleet of more than 6,000 trucks in its arsenal, there’s no doubt the test run could have a major impact, depending on how it goes. Furthermore, it turns out that Wal-Mart isn’t the only company interested in the new-age semi truck.
Big Orders Already Coming in
Word is that several other large logistics companies also want a piece of the action. Among the other big companies to put their names on the waiting list include Anheuser-Busch and UPS. In all, Tesla has already received close to 400 reservations for their futuristic new big-rig. That’s great news for the company, but Tesla is not alone in the battery-operated truck market. There are several other companies that are making waves in the industry and some of them might even beat Tesla to the punch.
Introducing the Competition
One such company is startup Proterra, which already received an order from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation for 25 battery-operated buses, each with a price tag of around $700,000. That order could be huge for the company, as the department is the in the middle of converting its fleet of 359-vehicles to all electric. At the same time, the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is also switching its fleet from natural gas to electric. BYD, based in China, and New Flyer were the recipients of orders totaling $138 million from the agency.
Number of Electric Vehicles Expected to Rise
The market for electric buses is seeing overall gains across the nation. In fact, electric buses that can travel about 200 miles a day in the city made up about 10% of U.S. transit agency orders last year. Electric bus makers like Proterra and BYD expect those numbers to continue to rise, especially as they continue to improve the performance of their vehicles. Furthermore, with operating costs much lower than those of diesel and CNG models, the electric bus industry has a promising future.
Future of Electric Looks Bright
Meanwhile, Tesla is still seeing great interest in its semi and will no doubt still be a big player in the market, no matter how long it takes to actually get its vehicles on the road. That’s because it claims its semi can get up to 500 miles per charge and the company promises operating savings of at least $200,000 over gas-powered vehicles, as well as a “two-year payback” period. With numbers like that, it’s no wonder some of the biggest names in shipping are showing great interest. It’s true that several important questions must still be answered regarding Tesla’s semi. However, there’s no question that the electric big-rig vehicle market is only in its infancy, meaning Tesla, as well as its competitors in the industry, appear to have a bright future.