Tesla’s Frito-Lay Semi was spotted on the road

Drivers are spotting Tesla’s Semis on the road, after the automaker began delivering the electric semi-trucks at a December 1 launch event. PepsiCo was Tesla’s first major client, and a pair of videos now shows one of the company’s Frito-Lay-branded Semis driving near Modesto, California.

One Tesla Owners Silicon Valley member shared videos of the Frito-Lay Semi driving on December 15, as detailed in a report from InsideEVs. The yellow and orange semi-truck includes a huge Frito-Lay decal above the driver’s cab, and it was spotted near the company’s Modesto distribution facility.

The Tesla Semi is seen in the videos towing a Class 8 trailer and is just the latest in sightings of the electric semi-truck. Another user on Reddit also spotted one of PepsiCo’s Tesla Semis in the wild earlier in December, that time bearing blue Pepsi branding as it drove silently down the highway.

PepsiCo is currently deploying 36 of the Tesla Semis from the initial 100-unit order initiated in 2017, according to an interview Reuters conducted with vice president Mark O’Connell. Modesto hosts 15 of the initial Semi batch, while the other 21 are located at the PepsiCo distribution center in Sacramento.

The rest of the Tesla Semi order for PepsiCo is destined for delivery to grocers and retailers, such as Kroger, Albertson’s and Walmart, and O’Connell says they’ll be delivered in 2023. Tesla also has open Semi orders with UPS and Sysco, though it has not begun delivering to either of these companies as of yet.

Costs for the Tesla Semi order were offset by a $40,000 federal subsidy per vehicle, and a $15.4 million state grant in California that helped PepsiCo purchase the Semis “outright.” Pepsi declined to state how much it’s paying for each Semi, and Tesla has remained quiet about the pricing model.

"It's a great starting point to electrify," said O’Connell. "Like any early technology, the incentives help us build out the program,"

Seeing as the Tesla Semis are the first round of electric Class 8 trucks to go out en masse, there are still some kinks to iron out. Additionally, Pepsi needed to install Megachargers, which O’Connell said Tesla did not help pay for. Despite these and other costs, O’Connell said that he expects operating costs to justify the cost in time, though there is still “lots of development” needed.

"We keep the trucks for a million miles, seven years," O'Connell said. "The operating costs over time will pay back."


Sources: Twitter / InsideEVs / Reuters