Frito-Lay Adds Electric Delivery Trucks in California
Besides the environmental impact, few incentives exist for companies considering to go electric.
Frito-Lay, the snack-food division of PepsiCo, said it would add 45 electric delivery trucks in California by the year's end. While that won't do anything to reduce the excessive amounts of sodium in most processed foods (like Cheetos), Frito-Lay's 275 electric trucks will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to the tune of 500,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year.
The trucks, sold by Smith Electric Vehicles of Kansas City, Mo., have a range of 80 miles and pack 480 lb-ft of torque. They cost about $30,000 more than a comparable diesel-powered truck and are not eligible for tax credits because of their weight (the law applies only to EVs with a gross weight of 14,000 pounds or less). According to the Los Angeles Times, California gave Frito-Lay $2.2 million in grants and rebates.
Office-supply company Staples, based in Framingham, Mass., currently uses 53 Smith Electric trucks, and even the U.S. Marine Corps has purchased two. In February, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Staples released a study showing that an all-electric truck fleet could reduce per-mile operating costs by 9 percent a year -- but only when utility companies can credit companies sending excess electricity back into the grid. Experts agree we're still a long way from that.
[Source: PR Newswire.]
Electric vans are fine for inner city deliveries, but give it a few years, and a battery can be developed that could go several hundred miles on a charge, to allow all-day delivery before the battery runs down. The problem of short ranges and long recharging times has limited all-electric vehicles to a niche market. If a battery can be developed that could go at least 400-500 miles on a charge, and charge fully in an hour or less, then the electric vehicle market will become more mainstream. Hybrid gas/electric vehicles are the best solution at this point.
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