Frito-Lay snacks on electric delivery trucks

Its Smith Electric trucks will first be used in New York, with other regions to follow, as the snack food giant and PepsiCo subsidiary adds 176 EVs to its fleet.

Frito-Lay plans to have 176 all-electric trucks in its U.S. fleet by the end of 2011. Smith Electric Vehicles

PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay announced on Wednesday that it plans to add more than 176 all-electric trucks to its delivery fleet over the next year and a half.

Five all-electric trucks have been deployed for the company's New York routes this month, with plans to implement a total of 21 all-electric trucks by the end of the year that will include the company's Columbus, Ohio- and Fort Worth, Texas-area routes.

Another 155 all-electric trucks will be added to Frito-Lay's U.S. fleet by the end of 2011. The company already has six EVs operating in its Canada fleet.

The trucks are made by Smith Electric Vehicles, get up to 100 miles on a single charge, and, like any electric vehicle, are virtually silent.

Frito-Lay launched its first EV trucks in the New York metropolitan area in part because it was given a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

A transition to EVs from such a high-profile company can be seen as a win for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been campaigning through his PlaNYC program to encourage companies and residents to go EV in an effort to reduce city air pollution, as well as fuel consumption.

It's also an odd partnership, since Frito-Lay has also been the object of indirect criticism from the mayor on a completely unrelated issue. Reducing salt in processed foods is another issue taken up by Bloomberg in an effort to arguably make the city's residents healthier. The company--so famous for its snack foods that it nabbed the domain been criticized along with other leading food manufacturers for the amount of sodium and food additives used in some of its products.

Frito-Lay estimates that once all 176 EVs are implemented, it will save the company 500,000 gallons of fuel a year.

"With the seventh-largest privately owned fleet in the U.S., Frito-Lay has set a goal of becoming the most fuel-efficient fleet in the country," the company said in a statement.

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