When Tesla Inc. moved its headquarters to Texas a year ago, the former head of the powerful California Air Resources Board said Elon Musk lacked gratitude for the role the state played in the carmaker’s rise.
California’s zero-emission vehicle mandate required automakers that didn’t sell enough electric vehicles to buy credits from Musk’s company before it was making any money.
Tesla has grown to where it can now stand on its own two feet, but it still has reasons to be thankful for its former home state. This week’s Semi delivery event is a perfect example: Five years after Musk rode on stage in a prototype during an unveiling event, some of his first production trucks will go to a project CARB supported with $15.4 million in funding.
CARB awarded the grant in September 2018 to an air district in California’s Central Valley that partnered with PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay to transform its manufacturing site in Modesto, Calif. The company wanted to replace all of its diesel-powered freight equipment with zero-emission trucks and install solar panels and energy-storage systems.
The $30.8 million project — half of which CARB paid for — includes 15 Tesla Semi trucks, six Peterbilt electric trucks, three BYD electric yard trucks, 12 electric forklifts and 38 low-emission Volvo tractors. Tesla’s Semis were the last piece of the project.
PepsiCo will host an event to showcase the Modesto facility’s transformation on Jan. 18. But rather than hold court where its customer will be the first to operate a commercial fleet of Semis, Tesla will stage its event Thursday at its massive factory near Reno, Nev.