Frito-Lay plans to put 45 more electric delivery trucks on California roads in the coming months, bringing its fleet of such vehicles in the state to 105 by the end of the year.
The trucks are made by Smith Electric Vehicles, a private manufacturer in Kansas City, Mo., that names its truck models after famous inventors and scientists. Its biggest truck is the Newton while the smaller vehicle is called the Edison.
The chip company uses the Newton, which employs Lithium-ion battery cell technology and is designed for urban settings with heavy “stop-and-go” driving.
Frito-Lay, the chip and snack division of PepsiCo, said the electric trucks produce 75% less greenhouse gas than similar diesel-operated vehicles and can travel up to 80 miles on a single battery charge.
The trucks are housed in distribution centers across the state outfitted with electrical infrastructure that charges the vehicles overnight.
Frito-Lay declined to say how much it is spending on the vehicles but noted that the investment is “a little higher” than traditional diesel trucks. The snack company that that the fuel and maintenance savings over diesel vehicles “make the electric trucks very competitive.” The electric vehicles will save Frito-Lay about 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.
The state of California put about $2.2 million of grants and rebates into the project.
Frito-Lay has more than 1,800 delivery trucks in California. It also is starting to bring natural gas fueled vehicles into the fleet and will have 14 by the end of this year. The company says it wants to have “the greenest fleet in North America.”