ST. LOUIS — An iconic name-brand from Missouri is closing out the year by making an environmental splash. St. Louis based Anheuser-Busch announced earlier this month that it’s reserved 40 of the new Tesla electric semi-trucks that are scheduled for production in 2019.
The company could use the vehicles for shipments to wholesalers up to 250 miles away from its breweries. Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk announced in November the truck would be able to travel 500 miles between charges.
Anheuser-Busch was among the first major companies to invest in the vehicles. Walmart, DHL and a Canadian supermarket chain purchased smaller fleets of the trucks prior to the Anheuser-Busch announcement, while PepsiCo has since reserved 100 of them.
The new truck will be powered by the same semi-autonomous technology as Tesla’s other vehicles, meaning it’ll be able to drive itself. In a statement, Anheuser-Busch said the technology will improve safety and efficiency, particularly for truck drivers who operate the vehicles.
Tesla is reported to be charging between $150,000 and $180,000 per truck.
The brewing company has been praised by environmental groups, including the Missouri Sierra Club for taking aggressive steps to cut greenhouse gases. Busch has committed to reducing its operational carbon footprint 30 percent by 2025.
The company’s Senior Director of Logistics Strategy, James Sembrot, said the brewer is always trying to find new ways to make its supply chain more sustainable and efficient. “This investment in Tesla semi-trucks helps us achieve these goals while improving road safety and lowering our environmental impact,” said Sembrot.
The company claims to have made the first ever commercial beer delivery using autonomous driving technology in 2016. It used Uber technology to complete a 132-mile driverless truckload shipment from its Ft. Collins, Colorado brewery to its distributor in Colorado Springs.