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J.B. Hunt and Walmart have already reserved multiple Tesla trucks


J.B. Hunt Transport Services has announced that it has reserved multiple Tesla trucks after the truck was just unveiled by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

After much anticipation, the Tesla truck was finally revealed on Thursday. J.B. Hunt, a Michigan-based grocery chain Meijer, Inc., placed a $5,000 deposit on 4 of the new trucks – totaling $20,000.

Meijer fleet manager Dan Scherer told Bloomberg’s Dana Hull, “Electricity is cheaper fuel than diesel, and you are less dependent on the spot-pricing of fossil fuel.”

CNBC reported, the truck has a 500-mile range on a single charge and is electronically connected with a fleet’s management system. The vehicle allows the driver to stand and put the steering wheel in the center with a touchscreen panel on both sides of the cab.

John Roberts, president and chief executive officer at J.B. Hunt, said, “We believe electric trucks will be most beneficial on local routes, and we look forward to utilizing this new, sustainable technology.”

Musk explained that the truck will go into full production in 2019. Tesla has delayed the production of the Model 3 car because they focused developmental energy towards the Tesla truck.

Baird Equity Research senior research analyst, Ben Kallo, said, “Tesla 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 the performance of existing electric trucks,” Kallo added.

In a press release, Tesla states its truck “is more responsive, covers more miles than a diesel truck in the same amount of time, and more safely integrates with passenger car traffic.”

J.B. Hunt claims that it plans to use the Tesla Truck on the west coast, along intermodal and dedicated routes.

Stephens Research Analyst, Brad Delco, said in an email to CNBC, “This news is not unexpected. Transportation companies are always looking for ways to lower operating costs given the competitiveness of 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.”

For example, Musk stated on Thursday that a Tesla truck would be 25 cents cheaper to operate per mile than a standard diesel truck, at $1.26 a mile versus $1.51. J.B. Hunt has to be looking to cut costs if they reserved multiple Tesla trucks.

According to RBC Capital Markets analyst Joseph Spak, the U.S. Class 8 semitrailer market is about $30 billion in size so every 1 percent is worth $300 million.

After J.B. Hunt reserved multiple trucks, Tesla stock jumped 3.86% to $324.56 in premarket trading Friday. J.B Hunt stock doesn’t trade premarket but gained 1.42% to $102.98 by the closing bell Thursday, according to The Street.

The price difference per mile alone could be worth J.B. Hunt testing the durability and longevity of the Tesla truck. The use of the Tesla truck by J.B. Hunt is the first reported instance where the Tesla truck will be used in a real-world trucking environment – only time will tell if this truck can live up to its reputation.

Update: Walmart today CNBC today that they have already preordered 15 Tesla trucks. Walmart explained that 5 trucks will be used in the U.S.; whereas, 10 will be used in Canada.

Walmart 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.”

Currently, Walmart has a fleet of about 6,000 trucks, but the 15 Tesla trucks will be the first of its kind added to the fleet.

Following the reservation of 15 trucks by Walmart, Tesla stock increased another 1%.

Read more about the live Tesla truck reveal here.


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