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Coca-Cola in Uruguay Using ZAP Xebra Trucks to Test New Urban Distribution Model

Larger delivery vans will transfer Coca-Cola shipments into 30 ZAP Xebra trucks for delivery into congested areas in Montivideo. Click to enlarge.

The Coca-Cola Company and ZAP announced a project to use 30 ZAP Xebra compact all-electric trucks to test a new urban distribution system in Montevideo, Uruguay. Officials from Coca-Cola subsidiary Montevideo Refrescos SRL (Monresa) and ZAP say that they are also testing new efficient motors as part of the project.

Monresa has received the initial order for 30 ZAP Xebras and is now placing them into service delivering beverages throughout Montevideo. The ZAP Xebras will be incorporated into a mobile distribution hub model in which larger delivery trucks will no longer be used throughout the city, but will transfer beverages into ZAP trucks at distribution hubs.

Modified with enclosed, lockable beds, the ZAP Xebras will navigate the narrower inner-city streets to make deliveries to smaller retail locations. Because the ZAP trucks will operate more easily in this environment, officials from Coca-Cola say their drivers can deliver vehicles and collect payment at the same time, whereas collections were not practical with the larger trucks.

If successful, Coca-Cola may expand their use to large cities around the world where rising gas prices, traffic congestion, pollution and parking shortages restrict the use of large delivery trucks. Officials say that the new distribution model using these trucks averages about one-fifth the fuel consumption of the former model.

Coca-Cola’s distribution model is similar to the one used recently by United Parcel Service (UPS) in Northern California in which a fleet of 42 ZAP trucks and sedans were used to expand small parcel deliveries during peak holiday demand. UPS delivery vans transferred smaller packages to a locked storage unit, then a Xebra transports the packages into dense urban and residential areas where parking and traffic are easier for the smaller vehicles.

ZAP is expanding the distribution for the Xebra worldwide as part of a strategic partnership with Shandong Jindalu vehicle company of China. ZAP is now distributing the cars and trucks designed for city-speed transportation. ZAP recently formed a joint venture with one of China’s newest car companies, Youngman Automotive Group, to manufacture electric and hybrid cars, buses and trucks. (Earlier post.)



I'm just not a real big fan of the Zap car. Sorry.


Even if you don't like the ZAP, the idea creates a market and the more that are sold contribute to the overall knowledge gained by using BEVs on the streets. There are many applications where a small three wheel BEV is all that's needed.


Doesn't this vehicle have a total payload capacity of about 500 pounds - they better not have to go up an hills


I think a hilly area is the perfect place for EV with regenerative braking. Recoup the potential energy, and take advantage of the good low speed torque of electric motors.


I love EVs...NEVs not much. In our wet weather, one NEV transports customers to possible real estate purchases & is not 100% weatherproof! & what's the deal with the open rear cargo area? Water or mud on customers' pants & shoes & on UPS & CC packages doesn't sound like money making deals. Hopefully Zap & Youngman seal the deal for sealed EVs.


DavidJ...Hope the good low speed torque on those hills is delivered at higher than 5, 10 or 15 MPH. The windings on the electric motors will be critical to deliver oomph up the hills.


The concept makes some sense. I have seen huge trucks deliver just one case of soda here in the U.S. That seemed more than a bit wasteful to me.

Jim G.

litesong: I think this is why they were testing in Northern CA where there's no rain. I don't know if was used in San Fran. but the hills there would also help there as DavidJ points out.

No idea what the climate is in Montevideo.


I think these little car are not only great fuel alternative vehicles that save a lot of money, they are great Brand recognition items. Coca Cola has tremendous experience with marketing, and if they are trying these cars out, it's not for the environment's sake, it's for sales and savings. I think it's a great little vehicle, and now that they are incorporating Lithium, I'm sure the performance will increase dramatically.

I saw this same concept in Germany in the fall last year so it's nothing new, the electric cars are new. In Germany I never saw a large truck in the city, they were all small diesel vans scooting around down back alleys delivering everything to restaurants, hotels and grocery stores. Maybe in North America our cities are actually designed around the 'Truck' hence spread out and cut by highways, making them non condusive to transit and cycling. Maybe it's a concept we should follow?

John Taylor

one-fifth the fuel consumption of the former model.

Sure Zap is a minimalist entry to the Electric car field, but it is here, and more better PEV's will follow if they get accepted.

Kudos to Coca-Cola & United Parcel Service (UPS) for leading the pack.


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