What Makes Food And Beverage Companies Want The Tesla Semi?

Tesla Semi

MAR 7 2018 BY EVANNEX 31

Tesla Semi

The Tesla Semi truck (Image: Tesla)


A number of companies around the world have placed pre-orders for the Tesla Semi, and a preponderance of those orders seem to be coming from purveyors of food and beverages. PepsiCo has ordered 100, Anheuser-Busch has ordered 40, restaurant supplier Sysco is taking 50, and Canadian grocery chain Loblaw’s wants 25. Why is this particular industry so interested in electric trucks? As a recent article in Popular Mechanics points out, there are several good reasons.

Jon Samson, Executive Director of the Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference, notes that most food suppliers organize their deliveries on a hub-and-spoke model. “When you look at beverage companies and grocery chains, a lot of what they’re moving is going to be on a short-haul basis, like trucking product from a beverage distribution plant to regional distributors. From an electric standpoint that’s a fantastic setup. You don’t have to deal with diesel fuel, and you’d be able to have that dedicated infrastructure set up for charging stations along the way while you go back and forth.”

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris.

“Food and beverage companies… often have a hub model where their inbound product will come into the distribution center through one fleet, and then their delivery fleet will deliver it to regional stores, like a grocery store,” says Dakota Semler, founder and CEO of Thor Trucks, which hopes to be a competitor of Tesla. “A lot of these delivery fleets support businesses in residential neighborhoods, which creates conflict for residents who don’t want loud, dirty diesel trucks driving through their neighborhood. With electric, you can have a fleet that operates without anyone ever hearing them. They create less road noise than a conventional gas passenger car. That’s really impactful for quality of life.”

Above: Spy video recently surfaced showcasing the impressive acceleration of the Tesla Semi truck (Youtube: Richard Fielder)

Another, related reason to go electric has to do with idling, one of the obnoxious realities of modern urban life. “With diesel trucks, there are all sorts of restrictions on idling rules, and those engines actually have to be on to power supporting systems like lift gates and refrigeration,” says Dakota Semler. “Electric vehicles are great because you don’t have to have an engine idling for an hour or two hours while you unload the vehicle. You can draw directly from the battery pack of the vehicle.”

For James Sembrot, Senior Director of Strategy and Logistics at Anheuser-Busch, Tesla’s attention to driver comfort is a big selling point. “One of the biggest areas of headache for trucking companies is retaining drivers, and these trucks have a very innovative design. It is a more comfortable experience for the driver: They’re surrounded by windows and there are other features that we think can help make a very tough job a better job. So we view that as a potential source of return, less turnover in the drivers that drive our products to market.”

Tesla Semi

The expansive windows inside the Tesla Semi (Image: Tesla)

Anheuser-Busch presents a good case study in the advantages of going electric. The company has a fleet of 750 trucks hauling suds from its breweries to wholesalers. Every year, trucks transporting Anheuser-Busch products travel enough miles to circle the Earth 18,000 times, sucking up about $120 million worth of fuel. According to Tesla’s estimates, the 40 Semis Anheuser-Busch has ordered should save it about $8 million a year in fuel costs. The beer behemoth is exploring other possibilities as well – it is working with Nikola Motor Company, developer of a hydrogen fuel cell truck.


Written by: Charles MorrisSource: Popular Mechanics

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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31 Comments on "What Makes Food And Beverage Companies Want The Tesla Semi?"

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(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

They need to make electric garbage trucks. Those are some louadass mofo’s!!!

BYD (sometimes referred to as the Chinese Tesla) are making electric garbage trucks. They started to deliver them late 2017.

Presently, I rent the basement apartment that is in the back of the house, and I can still hear when the garbage truck is working on the street.

You are right they are loud.

Volvo also makes a hybrid garbage collection truck.

It’s a natural fit. While they are delivering groceries they could charge up as many stops might take an hour or so.
For long haul, diesel will still rule, but for set hub & spoke routes, evs will eventually dominate.

Are meat and proxuce truck take about 20 mins tops to unload. So no That doesnt work

The point is to not have to charge at the destination. The point is to get back to your hub and the recharge. Food and beverage deliveries include a very short hop at the end and the entire round trip should be doable on one charge. Contrary to what Musk is claiming, the Tesla will not be king of the highway. It is instead finding a niche for last mile from the warehouse to the store.

And how much is 20 minutes times 4 or 5 stops Will?

I’m guessing math is not your strength.

Keep in mind, literally all grocery stores have plentiful roof space that could host a large solar PV array and help self generate a goodly amount of power and of course they almost always have heavy duty electrical service perfect for a SC.

You’are a smart math dude who has never seen the back of a supermarket. Trucks are backed in and often need clearance on the sides to reverse in. There isn’t a logical place where you would place a bank of chargers.

Well I worked one summer as a kid at a grocery store loading dock. There is space outside of the actually truck parking.

Have you ever heard of a thing called a cable or wiring to the actual charger junction?

It allows the equipment to be farther away then the parking area.

Right. Probably nobody is going to install Megachargers at loading docks just to charge 20 minutes at a time. In the first place, that would often be on the property of the customer of the trucking company, not on the property of the trucking company itself. Secondly, as you say, they would just be in the way of moving the trucks around at the loading bays.

Megachargers will be located in truck depots and truck parking areas, where the truck can be hooked up to a Megacharger and left there for hours, in places where they won’t get in the way of moving other trucks in and out.

Exactly. The range afforded by a single mega-charge is likely enough for the entire round trip of these kinds of deliveries. Secondly, most stores are not on highways and these trucks do a lot of start-stop. That is exactly the sweet spot where EVs shine with re-gen and efficiency. The market is telling Tesla something important here. If they grab the opportunity (and perhaps rework the cabin to be better suited to short haul), there is a huge market to be had here.


“There isn’t a logical place where you would place a bank of chargers.”

what about underground?

dig a hole.
put everything in (basically just the cable and the plug, the rest can be installed a bit further away depending on…)
cover with a stable lid.


it’s easy.


or go fancy and add wireless charging to the semi and your docking bays…

Or just wait till you get back to your hub!

The obvious reason is refrigeration takes electricity.

I worked for a grocery chain for a number of years. Their trucks would leave the warehouse, drive 5 – 150 miles, unload at between one and five stores in the area depending on the type of load and return. Some runs may be less than 50 miles total. With planning, they could do several runs a day with an hour or so to juice up; lunchtime for the driver. I’m sure the warehouse could put in a big charger as they already use a huge amount of electricity for freezers/refrigeration.

Apparently two Tesla Semis are starting right now from the Gigafactory to the Fremont factory, if Elon’s twitter is to be believed.

It would be awesome if they succeed, and hugely embarrassing if they don’t.

Keep on trollin’ trollin’ trollin’….

I’m surprised Tesla isn’t having any issues with a center seat configuration. Mail trucks with a seat on the right are subject to special certification for their drivers. A center seat is a non-standard position as well.

I wonder if they’ve already covered this with NHTSA or if it’ll be a future surprise?

You have to imagine they received some communication about the center seat…

The most logical theory to why Tesla solved a problem that didn’t exist by moving the seat and controls to the center is to reduce the developmental costs of RHD…

Lots of truckers have complained about them as they believe they cannot hand documentation out the window without getting up…

Hand documentation? What is this, 1987?

This sight is subjected to incredible group think. If someone has a different opinion he or she is ridiculed. I’ve owned 5 electric cars and am still able to think objectively about their issues. We would be wise to listen to different opinions and suggestions.

Unfortunately, EVs have become a ‘left wing’ topic in the US as opposed to a broad based technological shift for the entire country like in China. So, if you say anything that one of these guys disagee with, the response is that you are an enemy of the revolution, a russian troll, or some such reason why you must be completely destroyed. It is not just about EVs – this is the general state of discourse in most US cities.

I don’t think it is as difficult as you think. How do cars with single seat work? Same concept. The left and right thing probably only matters when you have 2 seats. But in a single seat layout, I don’t think that is a problem.

Cars are not as wide as semi tractors. The truck driver would indeed have to get up off his lazy arse and walk a couple of steps to the window, to give or receive paperwork.

However, the cabs are built with standing room, so I’m having a hard time understanding why this would be seen as a “problem” or worthy of discussion.

IMHO a much bigger problem is that a central seating location means the driver can’t lean out the window when backing up, to make sure he has a direct line of sight on where he’s going.

The central seat location does seem to me to violate the “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” rule.


Wow! I just realized that it took me 36 years to get to know about the

“Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” rule

…explains a lot of the electronic scrap in my cellar…


Yep, their goes notorious anti-EV/RE troll Curt’s ASSumption!

“A lot of these delivery fleets support businesses in residential neighborhoods, which creates conflict for residents who don’t want loud, dirty diesel trucks driving through their neighborhood. With electric, you can have a fleet that operates without anyone ever hearing them. They create less road noise than a conventional gas passenger car.”

No doubt they produce markedly less noise that current diesels, but less than conventional gas passenger cars? This claim seems dubious. Rolling/tire noise seems to be the loudest component of ICE vehicles driving in my neighborhood and Semi’s have some pretty big tires to go around.

The acceleration video in this thread is probably a poor example, but quieter than a passenger car it was not.

This article really beats around the bush.

It’s fairly simple: Semi tractor-trailer rigs are rarely used for local deliveries. The one major exception is that semi rigs are used on local runs to supply supermarkets.

Since Tesla Semi trucks will be most economical where they are returned to a central fleet depot at the end of every day for recharging, they will have the best appeal (in economic terms) for those using them to make local deliveries to supermarkets.

Naturally, the biggest suppliers to supermarkets are companies selling food products.

The article mentions driver retention as being a selling point but I think the miss the biggest selling point in this area: not having to deal with double-clutch shifting through 18 or so gears especially in stop and go traffic on congested city highways and roads.