Frito-Lay North America is adding 100 new medium-duty electric trucks to its delivery fleet, bringing its total fleet of electric trucks to more than 280 vehicles.
That makes Frito-Lay, a $13 billion PepsiCo division, the largest single U.S. customer of Smith Electric Vehicles, which manufactures the Smith Newton delivery truck.
This spring, the foods company said it also will roll out about 70 compressed natural gas-powered tractors to haul larger loads from seven distribution centers.
Frito-Lay, which operates more than 20,000 vehicles in one of the largest U.S. private fleets, plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2020.
The battery-powered electric trucks are zero-emission vehicles. The CNG trucks will emit 23 percent fewer greenhouse gasses than diesel trucks, Frito-Lay said.
The company already has logged more than 1 million miles with electric trucks.
“We are now in position to more quickly accelerate our strategy and grow the electric vehicle fleet,” said Mike O’Connell, senior director of fleet capability.
Kansas City, Mo.-based Smith Electric, or SEV, is a pioneer in the electric truck market with roots in a British electric vehicle manufacturer founded in the 1920s.
The company has made steady progress over the last two years introducing its Newton truck and Edison van to commercial users, largely private fleets, in the U.S.
The 16,000-pound to 26,500-pound gross vehicle weight Newton is the only battery-powered medium-duty delivery truck available in North America.
It’s GVW ratings put the Newton in the Class 5 and 6 and lower Class 7 bracket.
In addition to Frito-Lay, SEV customers include Coca-Cola, New York retailer Duane Reade and distributor New Deal Logistics and express carriers DHL and FedEx.
Frito-Lay said it will use the Newton on local delivery routes. When fully deployed, the electric trucks will cut fuel use by 500,000 gallons a year, Frito-Lay said.
The fleet of Class 8 CNG-powered tractors from Freightliner Frito-Lay plans to deploy this year will save the company 900,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year.
“We need to continue to build on our current strategy and look for options to address other types of trucks in the fleet,” including CNG, said O’Connell.