PepsiCo will launch 100 Tesla Semis by 2023 according to a top executive

PepsiCo will roll out 100 semi-duty Tesla Semis by 2023. The soda manufacturer’s fleet chief told Reuters that the company plans to use the trucks for deliveries to Walmart and Kroger.

PepsiCo Inc., who ordered large trucks in 2017, plans to purchase them “outright” as well as upgrading its facilities, such installing four 750-watt Tesla Inc. charging stalls at its Modesto, and Sacramento, California locations, PepsiCo Vice president Mike O’Connell stated in an interview. Part of the cost is offset by a $15.4million state grant and $40,000 Federal subsidy per vehicle.

O’Connell oversees company’s vehicle fleet and said, “It’s a great start point to electrify.”

He said that incentives helped him build the program, just like any other early technology. However, he also noted the “a lot” of infrastructure and development costs.

PepsiCo was the first to test the Tesla Semis, a battery-powered electric vehicle that can reduce its environmental footprint. Continue reading

United Parcel Service Inc. and Sysco Corp. also have reserved the trucks while Walmart Inc. is currently testing alternative options.

PepsiCo’s intentions to use Semis were reported. O’Connell, however, provided more details about how O’Connell is using the Semis and the timeline it will be using. Initial statements by Tesla CEO Elon Musk that the trucks would be ready for production in 2019 were delayed by battery limitations.

PepsiCo stated that it will deploy 15 trucks out of Modesto, and 21 out of Sacramento. O’Connell stated that the Semis will first be deployed in the Central United States, then on the East Coast.

Frito-Lay, the company’s division selling lightweight food products makes it an ideal candidate for electric trucks. Heavy batteries can limit your cargo space.

O’Connell stated that the Semis will transport Frito-Lay products up to 425 miles (684km), although heavier soda loads will require trucks to travel around 100 miles (160km) at first. O’Connell stated that PepsiCo will then use Semis for transporting beverages within the 400-500 mile range.

Oliver Dixon, senior analyst with consultancy Guidehouse, stated that “dragging a trailer filled of chips around isn’t the most intensive, difficult ask.”

Dixon stated, “I believe Tesla still has a lot to prove” to the wider commercial vehicle market. Dixon cited Tesla’s inability to provide pricing and payload information.

PepsiCo plans to use some trucks at the Sacramento location for deliveries to Walmart, Albertsons Cos Inc and other grocers like Kroger Co O’Connell stated that the trucks from Modesto Frito Lay have been delivered to PepsiCo Distribution Centers.

The Semis that go to PepsiCo have a range of 500 miles (805 km). O’Connell said that Tesla may start using 300-mile trucks (480 km) in the future. PepsiCo will “rotate those up” in its fleet when Tesla builds them, O’Connell said.

PepsiCo refused to reveal details about the truck’s price, which Tesla kept secret. Mark Barrott, a consultant at Plante Moran said that competitors sell for between $230,000 and $240,000. The 500-mile-range Tesla Semi’s 1,000-watt-hour (kWh), battery pack, which is twice as large than many other competitors, could lead to a higher price.

O’Connell stated that the trucks are kept for a million-miles, or seven years. The operating expenses over the long-term will be recouped.”

Gatorade manufacturer declined to reveal details about the truck’s weight, which is another secret kept by Tesla.

According to him, Tesla didn’t pay for trucks’ megachargers. However, it provided engineering and design services for these facilities that include solar and battery storage.

O’Connell stated that the Semi’s battery can be reduced to 20% by traveling 425 miles (684 km) with Frito-Lay products. Recharging takes between 35 and 45 minutes.


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