PepsiCo Enlists Heavy-Duty Tesla Semis for Future Deliveries

electric trucks

(Credit: PepsiCo)

by | Dec 21, 2022

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PepsiCo plans to roll out 100 heavy-duty Tesla Semis in 2023 to make deliveries to customers like Walmart and Kroger. 

PepsiCo Inc., which ordered the trucks in 2017, is purchasing them “outright,” and is also upgrading its plants, including installing four 750-kilowatt Tesla Inc. charging stalls at both its Modesto and Sacramento locations in California,” PepsiCo Vice President Mike O’Connell said in an interview. A $15.4 million state grant and $40,000 federal subsidy per vehicle will help offset a portion of the costs.

PepsiCo’s plans for the semis have been widely publicized, but O’Connell provided new information on how the company intends to use them, as well as a timeline for deployment. Tesla CEO Elon Musk initially stated that the trucks would be available in 2019, but this was pushed back due to battery constraints. PepsiCo intends to send 15 trucks from Modesto and 21 trucks from Sacramento. It is unclear where the others will be located, but O’Connell stated that the Semis will first be introduced in the central United States, followed by the East Coast.

The trucks will be used by PepsiCo to distribute products from its Sacramento facility to Walmart and other grocery stores like Kroger Co. and Albertsons Cos. According to O’Connell, the trucks at the Frito-Lay plant in Modesto had just left for PepsiCo distribution centers.

The New York Times reported that when Tesla unveiled its first semi-truck in 2017, it said that the vehicles will “cost $1.26 per mile to operate, compared with $1.51 a mile for a diesel truck.” The price can decrease even more — to 85 cents per mile, according to Tesla — if truck convoys are formed, which minimizes wind drag.

PepsiCo declined to share details on the price of the trucks, a figure that Tesla has kept quiet. Competing vehicles sell for $230,000 to $240,000, said Mark Barrott of consulting firm Plante Moran. He added that the 500-mile range Tesla Semi could be priced higher because its 1,000-kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery pack is about twice the size of many of its rivals.

In recent years, PepsiCo has demonstrated a commitment to sustainability: Just last year, the company introduced pep+, a strategic end-to-end transformation with sustainability at the center of how the company will create growth and value by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for the planet and people. Pep+ was created to guide how PepsiCo will transform its business operations: from sourcing ingredients and making and selling its products in a more sustainable way, to leveraging its more than one billion connections with consumers each day to take sustainability mainstream and engage people to make choices that are better for themselves and the planet.

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