In Lloyd's excellent and balanced take on Elon Musk's year, he points to a certain irony in the big Tesla Semi orders coming in from Pepsi and Budweiser. After all, we used to have local breweries and soda pop bottlers, until the interstate system ruined everything. So why not go back to what we once had?
It's not an unfair or inaccurate argument. And I for one have been delighted by the growth in local breweries, especially when they deliver by tricycle. But I confess, in the age of Amazon, I have a hard time imagining us going back to a predominantly local economy—certainly doing so with the haste we need to stave off the worst effects of climate change.
So, in my typically fence-sitting way, I tend to delight in news of both shifts toward a localized economy and in news of big global players going greener. So here's the latest news related to the latter, courtesy of Reuters: UPS just topped the Pepsi deal by placing an order for 125 Tesla Semi rigs. Reuters says that puts the total of Semi pre-orders announced at 410, although presumably there are others that have not been made public too.It all bodes well for electrification of freight, as long as Tesla can deliver on its promises to start production in 2019. Of course, it would be nice if that freight shifted to rail instead, but Elon probably hates freight trains as much as he loathes transit—so we may have to look elsewhere for that particular revival.