Electric Cars

UPS preorders 125 Tesla Semi electric trucks

It's the largest order to date, which I feel is a phrase I'll be writing often.

Tesla

Right now, I feel like it's a race to see which megacorporation can lay claim to the largest Tesla Semi order. Last week, it was PepsiCo. This week, it's UPS.

UPS announced today that it placed an order for 125 Tesla Semi electric trucks. This is the largest known order to date, a record that I'm sure will stand for at least one week -- maybe two, with Christmas and New Year's coming up.

"These groundbreaking electric tractors are poised to usher in a new era in improved safety, reduced environmental impact, and reduced cost of ownership," said Juan Perez, chief information and engineering officer at UPS, in a statement.

When will they start being manufactured? Why, that's a very good question.

Tesla

UPS is no stranger to alternative propulsion. The company relies on many sources of fuel for its logistics efforts, including compressed natural gas, biomethane, ethanol and propane. The company also said back in May that it would test a hydrogen fuel-cell delivery vehicle this year, as well. Electricity is just another alt-fuel thrown into the mix.

UPS has set some pretty solid goals for itself, too. The company wants 25 percent of its consumed electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025. In that same timeframe, it wants to improve the amount ground fuel that isn't gasoline or diesel fuel from 19.6 percent to 40 percent. It also wants one out of every four vehicles it purchases by 2020 to use an alternative fuel or other advanced technology.

Considering UPS operates some 8,500 vehicles across the globe, that's no small feat.

In that vein, the Tesla Semi makes sense. Tesla claims the long-range version of its Semi will cover 500 miles between charges, which will come from Semi-only "Megachargers." It'll come equipped with an advanced version of Tesla's semi-autonomous Autopilot, and its claimed running costs are staggeringly low, compared to modern semis.

Right now, Tesla's site says the Semi requires a $20,000 reservation. If UPS paid the full reservation price for each truck, the company just plunked down a cool $2.5 million for, at least the foreseeable future, little more than the publicity. But UPS did get a thank-you from Elon Musk on Twitter, which is priceless, so perhaps it all evens out.