Dec. 22–The parent of Plano-based Frito-Lay is looking to update its fleet of heavy-duty trucks and reduce its carbon footprint with an order of 100 of Tesla’s coming-soon semis.
PepsiCo, which prides itself on its eco-efficiency, placed one of the largest orders publicly discussed for the all-electric 18-wheelers. On Tuesday, United Parcel Service said it had ordered 125 of the trucks — which is widely being reported as the largest order of Tesla Semis to date.
Anheuser-Busch, retail giant Wal-Mart, Sysco, the largest food-service distribution network in the world, and delivery firm DHL have also placed orders, according to published reports.
Officials with Tesla were not available for comment.
The PepsiCo semis could be used for the Plano-based snack maker or its sister division, which makes drinks including Pepsi-Cola.
In North America, PepsiCo has about 50,000 vehicles in its fleet, Mike O’Connell, senior director of PepsiCo’s supply chain operation, said in an emailed response.
Of those, about 10,000 are semis, also called class 7 or 8 vehicles, which bring raw materials to company plants and deliver products to customers and consumers.
“The initial reservation we placed will allow us to deploy the Tesla semi trucks across both our snacks and beverage businesses to evaluate how best to leverage the technology moving forward,” the company statement said. “At this point, we don’t have specific plans in place regarding
of the vehicles.
The current PepsiCo vehicle fleet is made up of several fuel-efficient models, including electric vehicle box trucks and compressed natural gas tractors.
“The Tesla semi truck represents one part of our broader strategy, offering us a unique opportunity to explore electrification across our class 7 and 8
, which is exciting,” O’Connell said.
Improving the fuel efficiency of its fleet has been a goal of Frito-Lay for years.
From 2008 to 2016, Frito-Lay’s North American business cut its diesel fuel usage by 32 percent, according to PepsiCo’s 2016 sustainability report.
Its fleet of vehicles powered by compressed natural gas had logged 100 million miles by 2016. Those trucks produce 23 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the trucks they replaced, the report said.
The company described Frito-Lay’s fleet of nearly 200 all-electric vehicles as the largest fleet of electric trucks in the U.S.
Medium and heavy-duty trucks account for 23 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions attributed to the “transportation” sector of the economy.
Even with strides already made, the transportation sector still has
About 95 percent of the world’s transportation energy comes from petroleum-based fuels, largely gasoline and diesel, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
At the unveiling of the Tesla Semi, co-founder Elon Musk said the trucks, which go into production in 2019, will have a 500-mile range and autopilot and auto-braking features.
“This is a massive increase in safety,” he said, adding that they reduce the risk of rollover due to a lower center of gravity.
He also issued the bold guarantee that the trucks would not break down for 1 million miles.
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