Tesla’s new semi-truck may be built by California, but it looks like Michigan company Meijer will be one of the first to drive it. The supercenter chain has pre-ordered four of Tesla’s upcoming electric semi-trucks, with a $5,000 deposit for each, giving Meijer the right to be one of the first to test drive the new EV. Then, Meijer will get to decide whether or not to buy the trucks. Other retail, trucking, and distribution companies have made significant pre-orders as well, including UPS, Pepsi, and Walmart.
Production of the Tesla semi will begin in 2019, but Meijer has been focusing on reducing emissions and increasing fuel efficiency in its fleet for a while. The company has worked to reduce its carbon footprint by 60 percent since implementing the EPA’s 2010 emissions standards, as reported by M-Live.
According to Reuters, Tesla faces competition from German automaker Daimler AG, who has brought an electric semi to customers in New York, as well as Volkswagen AG’s Trucks and Bus, who hope to launch a model in 2019. Could this be another market opportunity for Michigan automakers, who have long discarded their heavy-duty truck and bus divisions? If the upstart Tesla can do it, why not one of Michigan’s own?