HFA member City Furniture became the first furniture retailer in the U.S. to announce the pre-order of five all-electric Tesla semi trucks, marking the next step in the company’s innovative “green” approach to all facets of its business.
“We expect all-electric trucks to change the playing field in the years ahead,” said City Furniture chief operating officer Andrew Koenig. “Based on the ROI we’ve already seen by converting most of our delivery fleet to alternative fuel vehicles, we anticipate the Tesla semis will bring major savings in energy costs and maintenance, while taking performance and reliability to a level that hasn’t yet existed.”
City Furniture is in the midst of a $100 million expansion in south and central Florida that will include a distribution center and showroom just west of Orlando in Ocoee, Fla., plus stores in Altamonte Springs and in Orlando’s Mall at Millennia area.
With production slated to begin in 2019, the Tesla semi’s specs call for 0-60 mph acceleration in five seconds, compared to 15 seconds in a comparable diesel truck. With full 80,000-pound load, 0-60 mph is projected at 20 seconds. Running smoothly and quietly, with no need for shifting or clutching, the semis ordered by City Furniture will have range up to 500 miles on one charge, plus a host of enhanced safety features.
The furniture company expects to use the Tesla trucks to transport merchandise from City Furniture’s main distribution center in Tamarac to the planned Central Florida distribution facility. Since 2014, the company has converted 80 percent of its approximately 100 smaller delivery vehicles to bi-fuel trucks that run primarily on compressed natural gas (CNG). Traveling nearly 5 million miles yearly on deliveries throughout its 29-store Southeast, Southwest and Central Florida showroom network, the company has reduced its emissions by about 47 percent by converting to CNG fuel.
City Furniture has already recouped its $4.5 million investment in CNG bi-fuel trucks and at its on-site CNG station at its Tamarac headquarters, Koenig said. City’s leadership on the issue has earned the company a national Top 50 Green Fleets Award each of the last three years—one of only two private fleets to make last year’s list, which included the State of California and the New York City Police Department.