Natural Gas – Conversions, Vehicles and Technology

Green Initiatives Surge in Commercial Truck Fleets

December 2010, Green Fleet Magazine - Cover Story

by Staff

As companies strive to reach their sustainability goals, truck fleets are transitioning to include more alternative-energy vehicles, including compressed natural gas (CNG), propane autogas, gasoline-hybrid, and all-electric vehicles.

Converting to alternative fuels not only decreases greenhouse gas emissions, but can also lower fuel costs. Support from local and state governments in the form of rebates and parallel sustainability initiatives make the transition to alt-fuels easier. In addition, advanced technologies from various companies, such as electric vehicles with longer range that allow travel for a full workday in one charge, give companies more options than ever before.

Some large fleets that have made headlines with their alt-fuel truck purchases and green initiatives are highlighted.

Frito-Lay Pilots All-Electric Trucks

PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America division is piloting 21 all-electric trucks in 2010 on daily routes in New York City; Columbus, Ohio; and Fort Worth, Texas. The company expects to roll out 155 additional trucks in 2011.
The trucks, designed by Smith Electric Vehicles, generate zero tailpipe emissions and operate for up to 100 miles on a single charge.|

Mike O'Connell, director of fleet capability for Frito-Lay North America, said deployment of the planned 176 electric trucks will eliminate the need for 500,000 gallons of fuel annually.

The initial five-truck rollout in New York was funded through a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

The 10-truck initial rollout in Columbus was facilitated through a partnership with Clean Fuels Ohio, a statewide non-profit organization working to advance Ohio's energy, economic, and environmental security. Frito-Lay received a portion of funding awarded to Clean Fuels Ohio from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Frito-Lay is already utilizing six electric trucks in Canada.

Cintas Orders 100 Hybrids for California Fleet

Uniform supplier Cintas Corp., ordered 100 hybrid-electric walk-in Ford E-450 vans, its first large-scale deployment of green technology, for use in its California vehicle fleet.

Cintas currently manages more than 10,000 vehicles in its North American fleet and maintains an approximate 15-year lifecycle expectation for its vehicles.

The 100 units will be deployed in Sacramento, San Leandro, and Ontario, Calif. Cintas will continue to evaluate further deployment of green fleet technology to additional Cintas locations in the U.S. and Canada.

Azure Dynamic's Balance hybrid-electric drive system manages the conventional 5.4L Triton gasoline engine and the five-speed automatic TorqShift transmission on the Ford E-450 chassis. The Cintas vans utilize a delivery body from Utilimaster.

The new hybrid-electric vehicles qualify for a $25,000 per vehicle credit under California's hybrid voucher incentive program.

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