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Frito-Lay buying 100 more Smith Electric Vehicle trucks in 2012; natural gas coming for tractor fleet

PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America division will purchase 100 Newton Series 2000 all-electric commercial vehicles in 2012 from Smith Electric Vehicles, bringing the total number of its electric fleet to more than 280. Over the past two years, 176 Smith Electric Vehicles trucks have been added to the Frito-Lay commercial delivery truck fleet. To date, these trucks have accumulated 1 million miles and eliminated the need for approximately 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

With the seventh-largest privately owned fleet in the US—comprising more than 20,000 trucks—Frito-Lay has set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gases and fuel consumption, both by 50%, by 2020. To minimize the fleet’s environmental impact, several types of vehicles have been introduced to meet the different needs of the Frito-Lay fleet. The all-electric trucks are delivery trucks used on urban routes with fewer daily miles.

With all electric trucks fully deployed on routes, Frito-Lay expects to reduce their fuel consumption by 500,000 gallons a year.

The first million miles with the electric trucks have been a journey of understanding and refining both how and where we use these vehicles, as well as providing input to help improve upon the performance for the next generation vehicle. We are now in position to more quickly accelerate our strategy and grow the electric vehicle fleet.

As we push to make Frito-Lay’s fleet the most fuel efficient commercial fleet in the US, we need to continue to build on our current strategy and look for options to address other types of trucks in the fleet—one of which will be compressed natural gas for our tractor fleet.

—Mike O’Connell, senior director of fleet capability for Frito-Lay North America

Compressed natural gas (CNG) tractors will be introduced this spring, and will be used to haul large loads. Each CNG vehicle, purchased from Freightliner, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23%, 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, including: Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Irving, TX; Phoenix, AZ; Beloit, WI; Frankfort, IN; Charlotte, NC; and Casa Grande, AZ. The company piloted 18 CNG vehicles to prepare for the roll-out.



It's apparently not a walkover on electric, as for a fleet of 20,000 behicles they must replace over 2,000 annually, so the purchase of 100 more electric trucks is tiny.
I'd love to know what their cost/benefit analysis shows.


Even if e-trucks represent only 1% of their fleet it is a step in the right direction. CNG is currently more suited for long rang heavy trucks.


Commentators have sneered at the 3% market share of hybrids in the US LDV market, but here EVs are 5% of Frito-Lay's replacement fleet already.  That's big, and it's not just a trial either.


Probably enough trucks to get the maximum tax benefits, if any are available.

Henry Gibson

The new DURATHON batteries from GE or the old ZEBRA batteries newly from FZ SONICK will provide cheaper batteries for such vehicles, but any such vehicles should be equipped with lightweight range extenders for emergency use only or no use at all. ..HG..

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