Frito-Lay Expands EV Fleet, Adds CNG Trucks

by | May 11, 2012

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Frito-Lay will purchase 100 all-electric trucks in 2012, bringing its electric fleet to more than 280, and will deploy compressed natural gas vehicles in the coming months.

The electric trucks, designed by Smith Electric Vehicles, generate zero tailpipe emissions and operate for up to 100 miles on a single charge.

The new trucks join an existing electric fleet that charged its way to a million miles this month. Frito-Lay uses the all-electric delivery trucks on urban routes with fewer daily miles.

To date, these trucks have eliminated the need for about 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel. With all-electric trucks fully deployed on routes, Frito-Lay North America expects to reduce fuel consumption by 500,000 gallons a year.

Electric delivery trucks can cost between 9 and 12 percent less to operate than their diesel cousins, according to an MIT study published earlier this year.

Frito-Lay – a division of PepsiCo – will also introduce CNG tractors for hauling large loads this spring. Each CNG vehicle, purchased from Freightliner, is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23 percent, compared to diesel. With 67 CNG vehicles planned to be on route by the end of the year, Frito-Lay will eliminate the need for more than 900,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.

The CNG vehicles will be used at seven Frito-Lay North America distribution centers: Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Irving, Texas; Phoenix, Ariz.; Beloit, Wis.; Frankfort, Ind.; Charlotte, NC; and Casa Grande, Ariz. The company piloted 18 CNG vehicles to prepare for the roll out.

Frito-Lay says its fleet of 650 sales cars has already been converted to hybrid vehicles.

With the seventh largest privately owned fleet in the US—made up of more than 20,000 trucks—Frito-Lay has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gases and fuel consumption both by 50 percent by 2020.

Earlier this month, Sunny Delight Beverages put into service a fleet of three CNG vehicles for distribution in southern California. The company says this will cut about 400,000 gallons of diesel fuel in 2012, and cut well-to-wheel greenhouse gas by 23 percent versus diesel-powered engines.

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