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Walmart will test Tesla Semi trucks for transporting merchandise

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Reuters Staff / Reuters

The Tesla Semi already has one very large guinea pig for an electric fleet: Walmart. The retail juggernaut has some 6,000 trucks and moves merchandise all over the country and as of last May, it was the world's largest retailer. The company eyeing EVs for logistics sends a pretty clear message about the viability of the tech's commercial applications. And Walmart isn't the only company interested in Tesla's truck. According to Bloomberg, trucking logistics company J.B. Hunt and grocery chain Meijer have also reserved multiple Semis.

"We believe we can learn how this technology performs within our long-term sustainability goals, such as lowering emissions," Walmart said in a statement to CNBC. This pilot program for the 500-mile range trucks likely won't start anytime soon. After all, Musk said that Tesla Semi trucks won't start production until 2019.

Walmart has other options too: Mercedes has its own all-electric semi, as does diesel-maker Cummins. They're shorter range, but given Tesla has fallen behind schedule for Model 3 production, the alternatives could be road ready before Musk's fleet.

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