UPS orders 125 Tesla big-rig electric trucks

UPS Inc. is making a big investment in all-electric big rigs by placing an order for 125 of the sleek new semi trucks from Tesla.

Published reports put the cost of the trucks at between $150,000 and $200,000 each and that the UPS order is the largest to date for a vehicle unveiled in November.

That could set the package and freight delivery company with its main air hub in Louisville back as much as $25 million.

Tesla expects to begin producing the vehicles in 2019.

“It’s too soon to know where they’ll be deployed,” said Mike Mangeot, UPS spokesman in Louisville. “We’d love to have some in Louisville to join the hybrid electric and compressed natural gas alt-fuel vehicles that we’re already using the metro area.”

The vehicles will save money because they are cheaper to operate, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said earlier this month at a California media event. A standard diesel truck would be 20% more expensive to operate than a Tesla truck: $1.26 per mile compared to $1.51 per mile, according to USA TODAY.

“For more than a century, UPS has led the industry in testing and implementing new technologies for more efficient fleet operations,” said Juan Perez, chief information and engineering officer for UPS. “We look forward to expanding further our commitment to fleet excellence with Tesla.”

He said the “groundbreaking electric tractors are poised to usher in a new era in improved safety, reduced environmental impact and reduced cost of ownership.”

It is part of the company’s goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from its ground operations 12% by 2025, the company said. Mainstream scientists blame those emissions for causing global warming.

Tesla claims up to 500 miles range on a single charge, enhanced on-road safety and significantly reduced long-term costs of ownership, according to UPS.

USA TODAY in November reported that the Tesla Semi’s interior was designed to make truck drivers swoon. In the place of a typical cramped two passenger compartment is an airy, walkable space.

The driver’s seat is in the center, far front, allowing greater road visibility.

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