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Frito-Lay Closes in on 300-EV Fleet

August 13, 2012 in Electric Drive, EVs, Fleet Order by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Frito-Lay Talks Up California’s Largest EV Truck Fleet

“California will be home to 105 all-electric delivery trucks, the largest deployment in any state,” PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America unit said last week as the company hosted officials including California Governor Jerry Brown at the Frito-Lay distribution center in Torrance, Calif.

California Governor Jerry Brown (left) and Smith Electric Vehicles CEO Bryan Hansel at last week’s Frito-Lay electric truck event in Torrance, Calif. John Shearer/Invision photos

Nationwide, Frito-Lay has 176 EVs and will have 285 by year-end. The vast majority are Newton trucks by Smith Electric Vehicles, of Kansas City. They can operate for up to 80 miles on a single charge.

Their deployment will give Frito-Lay the largest commercial fleet of all-electric trucks in the country. In May of this year, Frito-Lay reached a milestone of one million all-electric miles driven.

“We’re in our third year of EVs and we’re getting it down,” commented Frito-Lay fleet engineering director Joe Gold.

The initial rollout of all-electric trucks in California has already saved an estimated 50,000 gallons of fuel and eliminated a million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, Frito-Lay said last week.  “When all 105 trucks are deployed by the end of this year, Frito-Lay expects to eliminate 200,000 gallons of fuel and nearly 4.5 million pounds of greenhouse gases annually in the state of California,” the company said.

One of Frito-Lay’s Smith Newton trucks gets a ClipperCreek charge in New York. David Goldman photo

The new battery trucks will be based at distribution centers in Alameda, City of Industry, La Mirada, Manteca, San Diego, San Jose and Torrance.

Charging infrastructure decisions have yet to be made, Gold told F&F, noting that there is a growing selection of charger providers. Past Frito-Lay charge suppliers have included ClipperCreek (F&F, December 12, 2011).

“Nearly 20% of our medium-heavy duty delivery trucks in the state of California are slated to be transitioned to all-electric vehicles,” Frito-Lay North America senior supply chain VP Leslie Starr Keating said in the firm’s EV announcement last week. “We have seen the accelerated growth and acquisition of this innovative technology because of the support from California,” Keating said. “It’s these private and public partnerships that create the momentum that alternative fuel vehicles need to become even more competitive.”

Frito-Lay has had financial support for the EV deployment from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC), specifically in the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The company also received funding from the California Energy Commission and via HVIP, the California Air Resources Board’s Calstart-administered Hybrid Truck Bus Voucher Incentive Project.

‘Efficiency, Elegance and Renewable Energy’

“These electric vehicles prove we possess the capacity, technology and imagination to make change happen,” Gov. Brown said in the Frito-Lay announcement. “That’s the significance of today,” he said in Torrance – “efficiency, elegance and renewable energy coming together for a private company, in partnership with state and federal government.  It’s a great day, and a great milestone – and is just the beginning of a lot of steps forward.”

Across PepsiCo, in addition to battery electric trucks, the company has introduced 267 hybrid electric trucks and 67 compressed natural gas (CNG) tractors. Of these, 176 hybrid electric vehicles and14 CNG tractors are to operate in California.

In addition to the Smith trucks, Frito-Lay has ordered five Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp vehicles with drivelines from EVI – Stockton, Calif.-based Electric Vehicles International (F&F, August 5).

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