Tesla Semi has the potential to be a revolutionary product in the trucking industry and the automaker is seeking feedback from customers before bringing the vehicle to market.
Now, the company is giving an electric semi truck test drive to an important new customer.
As we reported last month, Albertsons Companies, one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States and the owner of Safeway, announced that they ordered 10 all-electric Tesla Semi trucks to be used in its Southern California fleet.
The company operates an important fleet of over 1,400 trucks and it could potentially become a large customer for Tesla’s electric truck program.
Tomorrow, Tesla is giving them a “demo” of the vehicle and they will let Albertsons test drive the Tesla Semi prototype.
A user on Tesla’s subreddit posted a memo about them seeking drivers for the test drives at their Safeway distribution center in Tracy, California (via u/MGC1987):
“On 12/05/2018 we will be hosting the Tesla team along with our own corporate leadership for a demo of the new Tesla tractors. We will be selecting a few drivers to represent the company and test drive the tractor here at the DC.”
The new test drive follows a tour of Tesla Semi reservation holders earlier this year.
At the time, we tried to track the Tesla Semi prototype. It drove to J.B. Hunt in Arkansas almost 2,000 miles away from its home base and then to UPS’ hub in Addison, Illinois, which is about 600 miles north from J.B. Hunt in Arkansas.
A test driver for UPS said that it was ‘one smooth ride’.
While Tesla itself has no experience in making semi trucks, they hired several engineers that worked on other semi truck programs.
Jerome Guillen, who was leading the Tesla Semi program for over a year before being promoted to President of Automotive, used to lead Daimler’s Cascadia program.
But the company still has a lot to learn about the industry and Guillen said that they would be working closely with customers to launch the vehicle.
This new test drive with Safeway seems to be the latest example as Tesla still works on the vehicle ahead of the launch.
When unveiling the vehicle last year, Tesla said that they plan to bring it to market in 2019 and it hasn’t officially updated the timeline yet.
After Tesla revealed the pricing of its electric semi trucks last year, we learned that the regular production versions for the 300-mile and 500-mile range versions will be $150,000 and $180,000 respectively, while the company is also listing a ‘Founders Series’ version for $200,000.
But Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that he expects that the production version could be even more efficient with a range closer to 600 miles.
More details are expected to come next year.
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