Hybrids – Vehicles, Battery & Hydraulic Technology

Coca-Cola Enterprises Invests Big in Hybrid Trucks

July 2009, Green Fleet Magazine - Feature

by Shelley Mika - Also by this author

As the largest bottler of Coke products worldwide, Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) puts a lot of trucks on the road - and that means when it comes to its fleet, even a small change can make a big impact on the environment. Recently, CCE took a significant step toward running a greener fleet, earning the bottler the title of the largest hybrid delivery truck fleet operator in North America. 

In 2008, CCE operated 142 hybrid side-load delivery trucks, including 120 Kenworth T370s, transporting its broad portfolio of beverages to retail customers in the United States and Canada. Recently, the company purchased 150 Kenworth T370 diesel-electric hybrid tractor trailers and an additional 35 hybrid T370 side-load trucks for a total of 327 hybrid trucks - more than doubling its hybrid truck fleet. In addition, the hybrid tractor trailers are the largest hybrid trucks on the road. 

"The recent Coca-Cola Enterprises order was very timely for Kenworth and got us off to a fast start in 2009," said Andy Douglas, Kenworth's national sales manager for specialty markets. "Coca-Cola Enterprises has shown great leadership with their hybrid purchases, and we look forward to working with additional customers that place a high value on environmental responsibility and sustainability." 

Hybrids an Element in CCE Corporate Commitment

CCE's large leap forward in its hybrid truck fleet comes as part of a commitment to its Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CRS) program, which consists of five focus areas: product portfolio/well-being, diverse and inclusive culture, water stewardship, sustainable packaging/recycling, and energy conservation/climate change. The company's dedication to hybrid technology falls in the final focus area.  

CCE's hybrid trucks help the bottler progress on its sustainability goals by creating 30-percent fewer emissions, driving a 30 percent increase in fuel economy, and reducing noise pollution.  

"Fleet operations is an integral part of our Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability commitment at CCE, particularly in our CRS focus area of energy conservation/climate change," said Gary Kapusta, vice president of indirect procurement for CCE.  

He added, "CRS is a pillar of our company's operating framework. Particularly in these tough economic times, CCE is advancing our commitment to hybrid trucks because it provides a benefit to our business, communities, and employees. Overall, CRS helps create operational efficiencies, drive innovation and effectiveness, and eliminate waste, while simultaneously protecting the environment." 

Technology Supports Bottler's Unique Needs

CCE has been researching hybrid technology since 2001. Initially, staff explored all-electronic vehicles, but soon realized that solution wasn't feasible for the company's unique demands. CCE needed trucks that could handle particularly heavy loads and navigate the many starts and stops along their paths in congested urban areas. Hybrid trucks support these needs.  

Partnering with Kenworth Truck Company for truck production and Eaton for hybrid technology, CCE found the right trucks to fit its particular needs and accommodate the large volume of vehicles added to its fleet. CCE uses the hybrid side-load vehicles for smaller deliveries to such outlets as gas stations and convenience stores, while the hybrid tractor trailers focus on high-volume deliveries to large retailers.  

Incentives & Tax Credits Add to Hybrid Attraction

Currently, hybrid trucks are more expensive than conventional vehicles, but as a pioneer in operating a large hybrid truck fleet, CCE has been willing to make this investment. However, as more companies add hybrids to their fleets, the per-vehicle cost is likely to drop.  

"Now is a great time for customers to consider hybrid technology," Douglas said. "With federal stimulus money available in 2009 IRS tax credits and other state and local programs, the return on investment on hybrids has never been better." 

CCE plans to continue investing in green technology and exploring new markets in which hybrid trucks can be used. Recently, the company launched a pilot program for hybrid delivery trucks in Belgium and is examining opportunities to expand the test to other areas of western Europe. The initiative helps CCE pursue its CRS mission: to focus on sustainability where its business touches the world and the world touches CCE business. WT


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