A lifetime in LaSalle instilled a sense of community in Rob Piccioni, and when he decided to start his own trucking business, he built Fuel Transport in the heart of his hometown. He is progressive as a trucking industry leader and does not do things in the usual way. Always looking forward, he has ordered some of Tesla’s electric Semis, and his innovative spirit does not stop there.
When Tesla unveiled its Semi last year, Piccioni was struck not only by the vehicle offering greater power and reduced energy costs, but also by the way Tesla seemed to understand the needs of the trucking industry. Fuel Transport, themselves a company that pushes innovation, pre-ordered four and is one of the first Canadian buyers.
« Production starts in 2019, so we will need to wait and see, but we want to be at the front of the line when they are out, » Piccioni explains. « Tesla has a proven track record, but what hooked me was when Elon Musk touched on the issues that matter to the industry. »
Mr. Musk spoke to issues that Piccioni holds dear – safety, infrastructure, comfort and efficiency. He believes that his industry is suffering from mediocracy and stagnation and Tesla is offering solutions that the trucking industry has avoided for decades. « Elon has been able to identify solutions. Are his solutions viable? Will they be sustainable? I hope. But the mentality and spirit are there » he says.
And that spirit is how he defines Fuel Transport itself, and though he calls the purchase a reckless adventure due to all the unknowns, he is willing to take the chance.
Piccioni may be a fan of Tesla’s accomplishments and advancements, but number one on his list of priorities is safety. Tesla’s promise of cutting edge safety features and their trucks being jack-knife proof fall in line with Fuel’s philosophy.
« We don’t give bonuses for quick deliveries or more runs. We look for and hire drivers who are diligent. Our bonuses are based on their safety records. They know that we value that. Safety for not only for their cargo, but for themselves as well, » explains Fuel Marketing Manager Joey Cuscuna.
The company is constantly re-investing in research to find new ways to improve the industry as a whole.
« It cannot just wait for Tesla. We need to move ahead from the current stagnation. The trucks still break down too much. Time is lost due to inefficiency. We are implementing automation, analytics, satellite and cellular tracking. We are proactive, not reactive, » says Piccioni.
According to Statistic Canada, almost 20% of traffic involves transport vehicles, with a significant number of collisions caused by trucks in poor operating condition. Fuel transport and Tesla are actively working to change that statistic.