Tesla Semi Truck
Tesla's new electric semi truck is unveiled during a presentation in Hawthorne, California, U.S., November 16, 2017. Image Credit: Reuters

Tesla Inc. is poised to hand over the first of its electric Semi trucks, a milestone for the automaker more than five years after it first unveiled the big rigs.

Little is known about the "delivery event," which will be held Thursday evening at Tesla's battery factory near Reno, Nevada. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk typically appears at Tesla events, though he hasn't specified whether he'll be there.

While electric passenger cars get most of the buzz, the move to electrify big rigs could be transformative for an industry known for high emissions and hefty fuel costs. Adding driver assistance features also can help operators save on labor expenses.

Big fleet operators like PepsiCo Inc., Walmart Inc., Meijer Inc. and J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. were among the companies that placed non-binding reservations for the Semi five years ago. Some of the first deliveries will go to PepsiCo's Frito-Lay plant in Modesto, California.

Tesla shares rose 1.8% at 9:42 a.m. in New York. The stock is down about 45% this year through Wednesday's close.

During Tesla's last earnings call, Musk said the company is tentatively planning to produce 50,000 Semis for North America in 2024. He appears to have taken the product off the back burner after the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, which makes tax credits of as much as $40,000 available to commercial vehicles.

The Semi has a central seating position for the driver, an estimated range of 500 miles per charge and its own "Tesla Semi" chargers, according to Tesla's website. The introduction will add a fifth vehicle to Tesla's lineup - which currently features the passenger models S, X, 3 and Y - and fulfills Musk's longstanding pledge to move into heavy-duty trucks.

As he predicted in his "Master Plan, Part Deux" opus from 2016, "the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate."