Tesla has proven yet again that it can beat the odds after what was supposed to be a Tesla Semi reveal turned into much more, and companies are already flocking to reserve the future electric hauler.
Yes, despite many people waiting years for their Tesla Model Xs, and now some not-so-fast Model 3 production -- with some 500,000 people waiting patiently -- one would think that there might be some hesitation to jump on the "Tesla slew of new products bandwagon." Nope, this is not the case. The company continues to prove time and time again that many people have the utmost faith in Elon Musk and Tesla's future plans.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaking at the electric semi truck event.
This time, we're not even talking about a bunch of Average Joes. Now, the automaker has reeled in immediate support from corporate entities.
Tesla shares were slowly dropping as of late, mostly due to Model 3 production woes. But they jumped 4.5 percent almost immediately as J.B. Hunt Transport Services announced that it had already reserved "multiple" Tesla Semis. President and chief executive officer at J.B. Hunt, John Roberts shared:
"We believe electric trucks will be most beneficial on local and (daily) routes, and we look forward to utilizing this new, sustainable technology."
Not long after Hunt's announcement, Walmart revealed that it's planning to test the electric semis for use in its fleet. In fact, the retailer already pre-ordered 15 of the behemoths. Meijer, the Michigan-based grocery chain also picked up 4 copies.
The Tesla Semi, with 500 miles of range, far exceeded most people's expectations, as Musk promised it would. The event itself also caught us by surprise since Musk revealed the new Roadster, a strange but innovative pickup truck that can haul a pickup truck, and the company's new Megachargers - which will quickly charge the upcoming semi (400 miles of range in just 30 minutes reportedly).
Ben Kallo, senior research analyst at Baird said in a note:
"TSLA unveiled the Tesla Semi, a heavy-duty truck we believe could be disruptive to trucking markets given the strong specifications (~500 mile range) and low expected cost of ownership (potentially ~20% less expensive per mile than traditional trucks).
We believe the large U.S. market will support sales of the Tesla Semi as we think the vehicle should be competitive with many traditional heavy-duty trucks, and exceed performance of existing electric trucks."
Brad Delco of Stephens Research told CNBC in an email:
A look inside the Tesla Semi
"This news is not unexpected. Transportation companies are always looking for ways to lower operating costs given the competitiveness in the industry. My assumption is that they will purchase a few trucks and test them in a more localized freight network before making a bigger purchases decision."
In regards to Walmart -- which has a fleet of more than 6,000 trucks servicing the U.S. and Canada -- five of the preorders will be tested in the U.S. while the other 10 are Canada-bound. The retailer told CNBC:
"We have a long history of testing new technology – including alternative-fuel trucks – and we are excited to be among the first to pilot this new heavy-duty electric vehicle.
We believe we can learn how this technology performs within our supply chain, as well as how it could help us meet some of our long-term sustainability goals, such as lowering emissions."
And it turns out, Walmart is not the only retailer in Canada that's biting. Canadian grocery store chain, Loblaws, just joined the electric semi club with its order of 25 Tesla Semis. Catherine Thomas, a spokeswoman for the grocer, said that plans are in place to have a fully electric corporate fleet by 2030.