Just under two weeks after Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Semi Truck on 16 November, DHL Supply Chain has placed an order for ten Tesla Electric Class 8 Semi Trucks, making DHL one of the first third-party logistics companies to order the trucks.
The supply chain division of DHL Deutsche Post will test the trucks at its customer operations in major US metro cities, once the trucks begin rolling off the production line in 2019, if Tesla can buck its habit of missing deadlines. The trucks will be used for shuttle deliveries and same-day customer deliveries and will be tested for mileage efficiency on longer runs from major markets to other DHL operations across the country.
The fairly limited orders for the new technology truck reflect the uncertainty about the market for electric commercial vehicles and just how they will perform in real world situations. The 800 km range between charges for the Tesla Semi is about half the range between fill-ups of a diesel Class 8 truck and heavy batteries cut payload and add cost. The estimated price tag of nearly USD200,000 per truck is likely another contributing factor to market reticence. DHL did not specify the value of its order.
“At DHL Supply Chain, we’re always thinking beyond today’s shipment – whether that be thinking about tomorrow, next month or two years from now when these trucks become available,” said Jim Monkmeyer, president of Transportation at DHL Supply Chain North America. “This is a revolutionary approach to trucking and we want to be a part of it for our customers, for our employees and for our industry.”
DHL Supply Chain also plans to evaluate the trucks’ impact on drivers’ quality of life and job satisfaction. DHL Supply Chain’s 2017 talent gap research report highlights a supply chain talent gap that has the potential to spiral into a talent crisis. And according to the American Trucking Association, the shortage in drivers could double from 48,000 in 2015 to almost 100,000 in 2020.
“Factors like comfort and time on the road play a large role in driver job satisfaction,” added Monkmeyer. “While we always try to optimise transportation routes to allow our drivers to be home same-day, we’re also excited about the potential to bring our drivers the comfort and safety benefits that the Tesla Class 8 truck could offer.”
The Deutsche Post DHL Group said it plans on being the industry’s driver of electromobility and market leader in green logistics. Its e-mobility initiative is also part of its ambitious GoGreen programme, an environmental protection project that will help the Group become the first logistics company to reduce all logistics-related emissions to net zero by 2050.
Thanks to 5,000 StreetScooter e-vehicles, developed and manufactured in-house and some 10,500 e-bikes and e-trikes, Deutsche Post DHL Group today operates the largest electric fleet in Germany. For the good of the environment and its customers, the company plans to replace its entire mail and parcel delivery fleet in the mid-term with electric vehicles that are charged with electricity generated from renewable energy sources.