Anheuser-Busch Places Massive Tesla Semi Order To Electrify Its Beer Delivery Network

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Some laughed at the thought of Tesla developing a big rig capable of competing with the large fleets of diesel trucks that crisscross the United States. Given the company's penchant for product delays and quality glitches, many wondered who would actually pony up the cash to purchase a Tesla Semi.

Apparently, Anheuser-Busch isn't bothered by such questions, as it has made the largest order to date of Tesla Semis. The beer manufacturer has pre-ordered 40 trucks in an effort to the increase the efficiency of its fleet and reduce its environmental impact.

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On the latter point, Anheuser-Busch says that it will reduce is "operational" carbon footprint by up to 30 percent by the year 2025. For a company the size of Anheuser-Busch, this is the equivalent of removing half a million cars the road, globally.

The Semi doesn't come cheap, and Tesla is requiring $20,000 deposits to secure each truck. That means, Tesla is receiving a sudden $800,000 cash infusion (which it could definitely use right now as it struggles to ramp up production of the mainstream Model 3 EV). Depending on what the product mix is of the Semis that Anheuser-Busch has ordered, the total bill will come in at $6 million to $7.2 million.

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“We can’t wait to get these trucks on the road, and keep leading our industry forward to a greener, smarter future in partnership with some of the world’s most innovative companies,” said James Sembrot, Senior Director of Logistics Strategy.  “The transportation industry is evolving fast, and we’re really excited to play a leadership role in driving this evolution by integrating these new technologies across our network.”

The Tesla Semi incorporates four independent electric motors into the rear axles, and promises energy consumption of less than 2 kWh per mile. The Tesla Semi can travel at up to 65 mph while on a 5 percent grade, and will accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in 20 seconds with a full 80,000-pound load. The truck will come with a suite of autonomous driving functions to help aid in safety for the driver and surrounding vehicles.

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The 300-mile version of the Tesla Semi is priced at $150,000, while the 500-mile version rings in at $180,000. There is also a Founders Edition that is priced at $200,000; however, that version requires that companies pay the entire cost of the truck upfront rather than forking over a "mere" $20,000 deposit.

Anheuser-Busch joins other big names that have jumped on the Tesla Semi bandwagon including Walmart, Meijer, Ryder, J.B. Hunt and DHL Supply Chain. The trucks won’t enter production until 2019 at the earliest… if Tesla can stick to its stated timeline.