It might not be the only customer to get the Tesla Semi within several months (at least by the year end).
Frito-Lay announced that by the end of 2021, it will replace all existing diesel-powered vehicles at its Modesto manufacturing plant in California, with zero-emission (ZE) or "near-zero emission" (NZE) vehicles.
The switch is actually almost completed, including infrastructure and nearly 60 vehicles: tractors, box trucks, yard trucks or forklifts, which are battery-electric or "natural gas with renewable attributes".
The only missing part is now "15 electric tractors." that are expected to be deployed later this year. Those vehicles are Tesla Semis, ordered in 2019, alongside 38 Volvo ultra-low carbon renewable natural gas trucks, 12 battery-electric BYD forklifts, 6 Peterbilt e220 battery-electric straight trucks and 3 battery-electric BYD yard trucks.
"To date, the equipment and infrastructure in place at the site includes nearly 60 tractors, box trucks, yard trucks or forklifts powered by electric, lithium-ion technologies or natural gas with renewable attributes, with the remaining 15 electric tractors expected to deploy later this year. Infrastructure to support the project incorporates an adjacent natural gas station with renewable attributes, as well as solar carports, battery storage, truck charging systems and employee electric vehicle charging stations."
If Frito-Lay anticipates receiving its 15 Tesla Semi by the end of this year, it only confirms that the Semi market launch is near.
At this point, we don't know the exact date yet or what version (300- or 500-mile range version).
There might be also other customers that would like to get at least some of the ordered vehicles. Being among the first to deploy Tesla Semis is like free advertisement because new Tesla products attract a lot of media attention.
Frito-Lay's project in big part was financed through a grant. Only time will tell whether the electric semis will become affordable enough to attract the fleets without support.
"The $30.8M project is the result of a partnership with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD), which received a grant from California Climate Investments (CCI), a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.
CCI funding is awarded by several state agencies including the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The grant is matched by investments from Frito-Lay and American Natural Gas (ANG), a Beyond6 company, as well as in-kind contributions from Café Coop – to support the Modesto sustainability initiative."