Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Semi in mid-November.  Since then, a number of companies, including Wal-Mart, PepsiCo and UPS have placed pre-orders for the electricity-powered big rig. Tesla photo.

Tesla Semi charging stations to be installed on buyers’ own premises

Reuters reports Tesla is working with some of its Tesla Semi buyers, including Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo and United Parcel Services, to build on-site charging stations at their facilities.

According to the report, details concerning the partnerships are still being hammered out, but they do include design and engineering from Tesla.  Companies declined to comment on what portion of the building costs, if any, Tesla would be responsible for, or if Tesla would be compensated for the work.

So far, nine major corporations have placed pre-orders for the Tesla Semi.  Companies that spoke with Reuters said that the first step in the process of getting ready for the delivery of the electric semi trucks is to install charging equipment on their own premises.

PepsiCo told Reuters that it may eventually explore sharing charging facilities and costs with other companies.  PepsiCo reserved 100 of the Tesla Semis and PepsiCo executive Mike O’Connell says his company has had a number of meetings with Elon Musk’s company to discuss the recharging effort.

“We have a lot of in-house capability around energy and engineering … and certainly Tesla brings their expertise to the table on energy and charging,” O‘Connell, senior director of supply chain for Frito-Lay North America told Reuters.

James Sembrot, senior director of supply chain for Anheuser-Busch says the brewing company is looking at installing its own charging equipment for its 40 Tesla Semis at large breweries and other locations.

“What was important to us was to make a big investment in this cutting-edge technology and secure our place in line,” Sembrot said.

UPS, which ordered 125 Semis at the end of 2017, says it also expects to work closely with Tesla on building on-site charging stations.

Canadian food retailer Loblaw Companies Ltd., is looking to use solar power for its charging stations.  Loblaws pre-ordered 25 Semis, according to Catherine Thomas, company spokeswoman.  She said that the company is considering Tesla as well as a “few other companies” for technology and design.

While none of the companies offered any estimates for costs for the facilities, Reuters reports analysts and automotive industry executives say the charging stations could easily reach into the millions of dollars.

Factors impacting the costs include the number of big rigs to be recharged, the energy source for the electricity and existing energy infrastructure.

Base prices for the Tesla Semi range from $150,000 to $200,000, significantly higher than $120,000 for a typical diesel.

So far, no major US trucking firms have bought in.  Werner Enterprises Inc, YRC Worldwide Inc, Daseke Inc and Old Dominion Freight Line tell Reuters they are concerned about the promised recharge time, range, price and payload capabilities.

Derek Leathers of Werner told Reuters he doesn’t doubt Tesla will produce the Semi, but “I just think their timeline is extremely aggressive”.