Beginning in September, six Navistar eStar all-electric, zero-emission trucks (earlier post) will be part of Coca-Cola’s growing fleet of alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) in North America; the AFV fleet will surpass 750 units by the end of this year.
Currently, Coca-Cola has the largest heavy-duty hybrid electric fleet in North America with more than 650 hybrid delivery trucks deployed in major US cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Miami. The new eStar trucks will be deployed in San Francisco, New York City, Washington, D.C. and Hartford, Conn., with two trucks in Los Angeles.
The launch of the eStars coincides with a new partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE recently recognized Coca-Cola as a partner of the National Clean Fleets Partnership Program. Announced by President Barack Obama, the public-private partnership helps companies reduce diesel and gasoline use in their fleets by incorporating electric vehicles, alternative fuels and fuel-saving measures into their daily operations. The partnership aims to accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient vehicles nationwide.
The eStar trucks run up to 100 miles per charge and can be fully recharged in six to eight hours. A quick-change cassette-type battery can be swapped out in 20 minutes, enabling around-the-clock operations and aligning the vehicles as an absolute alternative to fossil-fuel urban delivery trucks. The eStar vehicles have been purpose-built for electric power with a low center of gravity and strategic battery placement.
The eStar also features a windshield design with nearly 180-degree visibility, improving safety, and a low-floor design allowing easy loading and unloading.
In North America, Coca-Cola is also evaluating light-duty propane and natural gas options and is training its drivers in eco-driving techniques, such as minimal braking and early gear changes, through the company’s proprietary Smartdriver program.