"We have a long history of testing new technology – including alternative-fuel trucks – and we are excited to be among the first to pilot this new heavy-duty electric vehicle," said a company spokesperson in a statement to CNBC. "We believe we can learn how this technology performs within our supply chain, as well as how it could help us meet some of our long-term sustainability goals, such as lowering emissions."
It should be noted, however, that Walmart's current fleet consists of roughly 6,000 trucks, so just over a dozen Tesla Semis is just a drop in the bucket for the company. This is more of a small-scale pilot test on Walmart's part to determine the viability of electric semis for its shipping needs. According to the company, 10 of the trucks will be used for its Canadian operations, while five will be used in the United States -- at least initially.
Logistics company J.B. Hunt Transport Services also indicated that it has preordered "multiple" Tesla Semis for its own operations, with CEO John Roberts stating, “Reserving Tesla trucks marks an important step in our efforts to implement industry-changing technology. We believe electric trucks will be most beneficial on local and dray routes, and we look forward to utilizing this new, sustainable technology."
The Class 8 heavy-duty Tesla Semi has 4 independent electric motors on the rear axles, and can travel 300 or 500 miles per charge depending on configuration. CEO Elon Musk also claimed that the Tesla Semi can reclaim 400 miles of range with a 30-minute recharge. The Tesla Semi is capable of hitting 60 mph with a full 80,000-pound load in around 20 seconds.