Tesla scores Semi truck orders from DHL, Titanium and others
Companies with large fleets, including Ontario's Titanium Transportation, continue to plunk down deposits for Elon Musk's electric heavy-duty truck.
Chris PaukertFormer executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015.
Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
More big companies with trucking fleets are ready to give the Tesla Semi a try. Logistics and transportation firms DHL Supply Chain, Titanium Transportation Group and Fortigo Freight Services have all announced they've ordered small quantities of the Silicon Valley company's electric Class 8 semi tractor.
According to The Wall Street Journal, DHL has preordered 10 Tesla Semis to use on local shuttle runs to transport goods between distribution centers and factories, as well as for same-day customer deliveries. It also plans to evaluate the vehicle's suitability for longer-distance runs and subject them to various driver-related tests.
The heavy-duty trucks were apparently reserved for $5,000 per unit, the originally announced deposit figure. Tesla has since quadrupled the reservation fee to $20,000. When reached for comment, Tesla declined to discuss reservations or customers.
Perhaps most interestingly, the Journal notes that DHL Supply Chain's North American president, Jim Monkmeyer, says his company has actually already test-driven some early Semi models (presumably prototypes) while working with Tesla.
Tesla Semi looks set to tower over the competition
In a statement released Thursday, Ontario's Titanium Transportation Group announced it has also reserved five Tesla Semi trucks. The company operates around 450 trucks and provides freight logistics, warehousing and trucking, including cross-border services.
Fellow Canadian logistics company Fortigo Freight Services has reportedly also reserved its own Semi for evaluations.
DHL, Titanium and Fortigo join trucking firms J.B. Hunt and Ryder among the companies that have ordered small quantities of the electric Semi after its reveal on Nov. 16. Retailers Walmart and Meijer are also among the reservation holders.
Tesla has promised that initial deliveries of the Semi will come in 2019, but it's worth noting that the innovative electric vehicle company has serially struggled to meet its own production targets, most recently with its new Model 3 sedan.
That reality seems at odds with the deadline-prioritizing world of logistics and freight transportation, but it's likely that these early reservation holders are aware of Tesla's track record and are planning accordingly. The WSJ quotes DHL's Monkmeyer as saying, "Something like this that's new and is as complex as the Semi, I don't know if we can count on specific dates. We understand the challenges that they are facing... this is the future and we want to be in on the ground floor."