In order to reserve a Tesla Semi, the buyer has to pony up a $20,000 deposit. That means Albertsons, the second largest grocery chain in the US after Kroger, has just forked over $200,000 to pre-order 10 Tesla Semis whenever they become available. The latest thinking is that will happen sometime in 2019. Although, 2020 may be more likely, since the company currently has no production facility (that we know of) for the all-electric tractors. Plus, “Tesla time” and all that.
If you’re not familiar with the name Albertsons, that’s because it operates under several names, including Safeway, Shaw’s, Vons, and Pavilion. It also owns the Jewel-Osco chain of drugstores. In all, Albertsons operates 20 brands across 35 states and operates a truck fleet of more than 1,400 units, according to FreightWaves.
In a press release, Tom Nartker, vice president of transportation for Albertsons, says, “Advancing supply chain efficiency and sustainability is an important goal for our company. We’re excited to pilot this expansion of our transportation program with trucks that help us limit our overall carbon footprint.”
The company plans to use the Tesla trucks as part of its operations in southern California. It has ordered the upgraded version of the Tesla Semi, which is expected to have a range of 500 miles towing a fully loaded semi-trailer. The price of those units is around $180,000 a piece.
During a conference call in May of this year, Elon Musk said the company has received about 2,000 pre-orders for the Semi, despite the fact that the company has made no effort to solicit orders for the vehicles. “We haven’t really tried to sell the Semi. Orders for the Semi are, like, opportunistic,” Musk said at the time, according to Car and Driver. “It’s just not something we really think about much.” How nice to have customers beating a path to your door.
To do a little math again, 2,000 times $20,000 = $40,000,000. That’s a lot of reservations for a concept electric semi truck that has seen only a tiny amount of showtime.
“Our employee promise is to Make Every Day a Better Day,” says Albertsons CEO Jim Donald. “That means being a good community partner and a committed steward of the environment. We take that obligation seriously because our company is growing and innovating at lightning speed. And when we move forward, we leave a trail behind.” Clearly, Albertsons wants that trail to contain as few carbon emissions as possible.