Tesla Semi, as ordered by Walmart Canada
Source: Tesla

Retail giant Walmart Canada boosts its order of Tesla Semi trucks three-fold and pledges that its entire fleet will be “alternatively powered” by 2028

Walmart is setting the agenda for large-scale fleet electrification in Canada with an announcement today that it is ordering 130 Tesla Semi trucks, more than triple the number it had previously reserved.

Image of Tesla Semi, ordered by Walmart Canada
Source: Tesla

The news comes just days after Walmart Inc. made a dramatic commitment to achieve net zero operational carbon emissions by 2040 — and it represents a portion of the Canadian operations’ contribution to that goal. It also follows the unveiling of a five-year, $3.5-billion growth and transformation plan in July.

Today’s announcement also comes with a pledge to convert 20 per cent of Walmart Canada’s fleet to electric power by 2022 and to have it 100 per cent “alternatively powered” by 2028.

“[W]e are putting safety, innovation and sustainability at the forefront of our logistics network”

John Bayliss, SVP, Logistics and Supply Chain, Walmart Canada

Innovation and sustainability

Tripling our reservation of Tesla Semi trucks is part of our ongoing effort to innovate the business and prioritize sustainability,” said John Bayliss, senior vice-president, logistics and supply chain, Walmart Canada in a company news release. “[W]e are putting safety, innovation and sustainability at the forefront of our logistics network.”

The Tesla Semi model it is ordering costs US$230,000 per truck, meaning the purchase is potentially worth over US$20 million. The trucks offer the ability to travel up to 804 kilometres on a single charge — a range commensurate with Walmart’s current general fleet system, which the company says will enable a faster rate of conversion from diesel.

Image of Tesla Semi, ordered by Walmart Canada
Source: Tesla

The trucks will also employ braking technology that recovers 98 per cent of kinetic energy to the battery and come with enhanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking, automatic lane keeping and lane departure warning.

“We are tremendously excited to equip our drivers with this next generation equipment. The safety and smart elements in the design are at the heart of our smart transportation ambition which will use technology and data to lower our operating costs and improve safety for associates,” said Francis Lalonde, vice-president, transportation, Walmart Canada.

Loblaw also stepping up

Walmart Canada is not the only national retail giant taking strong action to cut vehicle emissions. Loblaw Co. announced last week that it will be Canada’s first owner of Freightliner’s eCascadia semi. The grocery chain previously announced in 2017 an order for 25 Tesla Semis. The Freightliner order is initially for five vehicles, with the first two trucks arriving in 2022.

Tesla advertises that its electric Semi will save operators over US$200,000 in fuel and “will deliver a far better experience for truck drivers, while increasing safety and significantly reducing the cost of cargo transport.”

The company plans to begin Semi truck production at its Texas gigafactory in 2021.