All of Coke’s New Chevy Express Service Vans to Get Hybrid Upfit
In a big boost for XL Hybrids, Coca-Cola announced that it’s converting all 100 of its 2014 Chevrolet Express service vans to hybrid electric operation using equipment from the Massachusetts start-up. “Early test results of this hybrid technology were positive, showing a 15 to 20% fuel reduction compared to the Company’s conventional vans,” states a Coca-Cola release.
The trucks will work for ten years, Coke says, and “as a result of the low maintenance and fuel savings, the powertrain unit pays for itself three times over its life span.”
“Our company’s goal is to accelerate fuel and emissions reductions at a large scale,” XL co-founder and business development VP Justin Ashton says in the Coca-Cola release. “We had to design and commercialize technology that provides a solid economic return on investment to corporate customers.”
Knapheide and Riverside Vans
“Adoption of this hybrid technology supports Coca-Cola’s goal to reduce the carbon footprint embedded in ‘the drink in your hand’ by 25% by 2020,” said Coca-Cola environment and sustainability VP Bruce Karas. “We continue to make energy-saving investments because they are good for business, good for the communities we serve and good for the planet.”
(“Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system,” Coke says, “consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of more than 1.8 billion servings a day.”)
The 100 GM vans are being converted for Coke by Knapheide, previously announced as an XL Hybrids installer (F&F, May 14) and by Riverside Vans in Colon, Mich., says Coca-Cola North America fleet manager Tony Eiermann. Coke’s timing necessitated the use of an addition upfit house, he told F&F.
Smith EV Reefers, Some NGVs Too
Coca-Cola also notes that it recently rolled out 16 first-of-a-kind refrigerated plug-in electric vehicles for delivery of its Odwalla brand beverages in the San Francisco Bay Area. The trucks from Smith Electric Vehicles have cold plate refrigeration systems with only a fan drawing battery power. “We’re getting around 60 miles-plus” on a charge, Eiermann says.
The Coca-Cola fleet boss also told F&F that Coke’s fleet of Class 7 hybrids, the largest in North America, has now topped more than 730 vehicles. It’s a mix of Freightliner, Kenworth and Navistar International trucks, all with Eaton parallel drives. Depending on route and driver, fuel savings can be as high as 30%, Eiermann says.
Coca-Cola has 11 Class 8 tractors operating on natural gas out of Downey, Calif., and just this week deployed three natural gas-fueled Kenworth T660s in Houston.
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Source: Coca-Cola North America with Fleets & Fuels follow-up