Anheuser-Busch buying 40 Tesla Semis & working with Nikola on hydrogen fuel cell use

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Budweiser buys Tesla trucks

From a team of those famous Clydesdale horses to an even larger team of all-electric trucks, Anheuser-Busch announced today that it is ordering 40 Tesla Semis, one of the largest publicly reported purchases yet for the battery-powered hauler.

Though Tesla still has not officially published numbers on torque, horsepower and vehicle weight for its Semi, Anheuser-Busch certainly felt comfortable enough in buying the truck that company founder Elon Musk says has a range of up to 500 miles.

Anheuser-Busch did not report which version of the semi it’s acquiring. Three are available: a 300-mile variant of the Semi costs $150,000; the 500-mile model, $180,000; and a Founders Series runs at $200,000.

A reservation cost for the truck has increased from $5,000 to $20,000. Those wanting to reserve the Founders Series model will have to shell out $200,000 up front. Walmart, JB Hunt, JK Moving Service and DHL Supply Chain are among the fleets known to have reserved the Semi.

Anheuser-Busch said it purchased the trucks, which come with autonomous driving capabilities, as part of its commitment to reduce its operational carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2025—the equivalent of removing nearly 500,000 cars from the road globally each year.

“At Anheuser-Busch, we are constantly seeking new ways to make our supply chain more sustainable, efficient, and innovative,” said James Sembrot, senior director of Logistics Strategy. “This investment in Tesla semi-trucks helps us achieve these goals while improving road safety and lowering our environmental impact.”

In its press release, Anheuser-Busch refers to its drivers’ roles in the high-tech, autonomous-capable semis, though it does not define those roles: “This technology will also improve safety and efficiency, particularly for truck drivers while they are operating these vehicles, and will help ensure drivers continue to play a central role in beer distribution far into the future.”

Anheuser-Busch is no stranger to self-driving tech in Class 8 trucks. In 2016, an Otto truck carrying 51,744 cans of Budweiser completed an autonomous truckload shipment from Anheuser-Busch’s Ft. Collins, Colorado brewery to a wholly-owned distributorship in Colorado Springs, a distance of 132 miles, marking the first ever commercial beer delivery using autonomous driving technology.

In addition to its partnership with Tesla, and a range of other recent investments in its transportation operations, Anheuser-Busch is also working with a number of innovative companies, including: Nikola, to develop and implement hydrogen-powered engines within its network, Otto and Uber Freight, to test autonomous driving technology, and Convoy to access on-demand trucking capacity.

“We can’t wait to get these trucks on the road, and keep leading our industry forward to a greener, smarter future in partnership with some of the world’s most innovative companies,” said Mr. Sembrot.  “The transportation industry is evolving fast, and we’re really excited to play a leadership role in driving this evolution by integrating these new technologies across our network.”