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DHL joins rush to pre-order Tesla electric trucks

Specifications have exceeded expectations with 500 miles on a single charge and a price of around US$200,000
Tesla's electric truck
Many logistics companies are expressing interest in the Tesla Semi

Deutsche Post AG's (ETR:DPW) DHL has joined the rush of transport companies to pre-order the new Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) Semi electric truck within days of its release.

The logistics postal services company has placed an order for 10 of Tesla’s commercial heavy-duty trucks.

DHL Supply Chain handles logistics operations for retailers and manufacturers. It intends to use the Tesla trucks for shuttle runs and same-day customer deliveries in major US cities.

Plan to test trucks on longer runs

DHL also plans to test the electric trucks on longer runs, and to evaluate its impact on driver safety and comfort.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk revealed the commercial heavy-duty truck last Thursday and the company expects to begin production in 2019.

The truck will run up to 500 miles on a single charge, surprising many analysts who had expected 200 miles.

READ: Wal-Mart and J.B. Hunt place pre-orders for Tesla's electric truck

Within 24-hours of the release Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. made reservations.

Wal-Mart has pre-ordered 15 trucks, including five for its US operations and 10 for Canada.

J. B. Hunt has made reservations to buy “multiple” Tesla Semis to support divisions in its West coast operations.

Price is surprisingly competitive

The truck’s price is surprisingly competitive with estimates suggesting it will be sold for just shy of US$200,000 for the top spec. That compares with around US$110,000 for a brand new diesel rig.

DHL Supply Chain president of transportation in North America Jim Monkmeyer said the company has been working with Tesla over the past few months and has test-driven some of the vehicles in California.

The company ordered the trucks last week, for US$5,000 per reservation but hasn't yet worked out the vehicle specifications or final cost.

READ: Tesla’s new semi-truck could save companies up to US$30,000 a year in fuel costs

In most cases, the orders have been small, with buyers planning to test out the Semi on short routes, such as between ports and nearby warehouses, or warehouses and stores.

The specifications announced by Tesla exceeded expectations for many industry observers.

At the launch, Musk revealed that Tesla would guarantee truckers electricity rates of 7 cents per kilowatt hour, which could work out US$30,000 a year cheaper compared to the fuel costs of an average diesel truck.

Cost to reserve Semi has jumped

The cost to reserve a Semi has jumped, to $20,000 for a base reservation from $5,000 at the time of the initial announcement.

Monkmeyer said he isn’t concerned about timely delivery from Tesla, which has faced delays with production of its Model 3 sedan.

“Something like this that's new and is as complex as the Semi, I don’t know if we can count on specific dates.

“We understand the challenges that they are facing. This is the future and we want to be in on the ground floor.”

Fortigo Freight Services Inc., a Canadian logistics firm that manages trucking fleets for retailers and manufacturers, last week reserved a Tesla Semi for about C$26,000.

The balance, just under $181,000, will be due "when the Tesla is delivered, date to be confirmed," said chief executive Elias Demangos.

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