The addition of the 20 electric-powered vans will bring the total fleet number to 35 – thanks to funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Frito-Lay launched its first five electric vans back in 2010 under the same funding program.
Along with the new vans, Frito-Lay has set up 20 charging stations – for practical use but also to improve understanding on use of electricity as an alternative fuel.
Mike O’Connell, senior director of fleet operations for Frito-Lay North America said the new charging stations mark a significant step forward in the firm’s sustainability plans.
“Not only will the stations benefit our operations in real-time, they also allow the state of New York to gain a better understanding of the vehicles, providing the critical information needed for the state to continue to invest in this alternative vehicle technology,” he said.
The charging stations have been funded through governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Charge NY initiative – dedicated to building electric vehicle use in the state.
A green drive: Electric and CNG fleets
The move comes just two months after Frito-Lay pledged to shift 20% of its diesel-fuelled fleet over to CNG by the end of 2013. Using CNG in 208 vehicles, it said, would eliminate 7,863 metric tons of carbon emissions, the equivalent of over 1,125 cars annually.
Frito-Lay claims to have the largest CNG and electric-powered fleets in the US. By the end of the year, its electric fleet will be 269-strong – a number expected to eliminate the need for around 600,000 gallons of fuel annually.
But it is not the only snack or food major in the working towards more eco-friendly distribution vans.
Grupo Bimbo and Nestlé driving eco-friendly too
Last year Mexican bread titan Grupo Bimbo struck an alliance with Mercedes-Benz for eco-friendly vans that operate on natural gas technology – NGT BlueEFFICIENCY. The vehicles have a bi-fuel system allowing them to run on both petrol and natural gas.
Nestlé has also used trucks powered by methane to transport goods in the UK. The food major worked with logistics firm Eddie Stobart on the trucks which are said to cut CO2 emissions by 14% compared to diesel trucks.