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Albertsons ignores the noise, orders 10 Tesla Semi trucks

 Elon Musk stands in front of two Tesla Semi models during a grand unveiling in 2017.
Elon Musk stands in front of two Tesla Semi models during a grand unveiling in 2017.

With the ongoing, high-profile negative news surrounding Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), there is still interest in the company’s electric semi. Albertsons Companies, which operates well-known food and drug retailers across the country such as Albertsons, Safeway, Jewel-Osco and Shaw’s, has purchased 10 Tesla Semi all-electric trucks.

In all, Albertsons operates 20 brands across 35 states and operates a truck fleet of more than 1,400 units.

“Our employee promise is to Make Every Day a Better Day,” said Albertsons Companies President and CEO Jim Donald. “That means being a good community partner and a committed steward of the environment. We take that obligation seriously because our company is growing and innovating at lightning speed. And when we move forward, we leave a trail behind.”

“Advancing supply chain efficiency and sustainability is an important goal for our company,” said Tom Nartker, vice president of transportation. “We’re excited to pilot this expansion of our transportation program with trucks that help us limit our overall carbon footprint.”

After announcing an initial flurry of orders for the Tesla Semi, news of orders has cooled down, and with speculation surrounding Tesla’s Model 3 and possible financial troubles of the company, the fate of the Semi program was unknown.

Early fleet orders included UPS (NYSE: UPS), FedEx (NYSE: FDX), PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP), J.B. Hunt (NASDAQ: JBHT), Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD).

In May, Seeking Alpha analyst John Engle speculated that the Semi program may be on hold following no mention of it during a Tesla earnings report. Only after being asked specifically about it did CEO Elon Musk respond and his answer was somewhat cryptic, Engle noted.

“I actually don’t know how many reservations we have for the Semi. About 2,000? Okay. I mean, we haven’t really tried to sell the Semi. It’s not like there’s like an ongoing sales effort, so sales – orders for Semi are like opportunistic, really companies approaching us. Yeah, it’s not something we really think about much,” Musk answered.

Tesla also announced it was cutting back on its capital expenditures for the year. In September, following a number of executive departures, Tesla announced that Jerome Guillen, who was leading the Semi project and had previously truck experience with Daimler, would be taking over its automotive division as president, including supply chain operations.

No replacement was named for Guillen.

Last month, NFI Industries, which has also ordered 10 Tesla Semis, said it expected them to be delivered in 2020. Albertsons did not say when it expected delivery. The Albertsons vehicles will operate in its Southern California fleet, serving Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions stores. The trucks will be able to travel 300 up to 500 miles on a single charge, even with a fully loaded trailer, and use less than 2 kilowatt hours of energy per mile, Albertsons said in a release.

Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]