PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America division is setting the wheels in motion this week for what will ultimately be the largest fleet of commercial all-electric trucks in North America. New York City will become the first U.S. city to see Frito-Lay snacks delivered by fully electric delivery trucks, with five new trucks beginning routes this month.
A Frito-Lay electric truck is seen with the New York city skyline in the background Tuesday,...
A Frito-Lay electric truck is seen with the New York city skyline in the background Tuesday, September 7, 2010. The truck is one of five all-electric trucks that Frito-Lay is rolling out in New York City. (David Goldman-AP Images for Frito-Lay)

In total, Frito-Lay will be deploying 21 electric trucks this year. The company projects it will roll out 155 additional trucks in 2011, making Frito-Lay the largest commercial fleet of all-electric trucks in North America. The trucks, designed by Smith Electric Vehicles, generate zero tailpipe emissions and operate for up to 100 miles on a single charge.

Electric trucks reduce fuel consumption, noise pollution and CO2 emissions, compared to traditional delivery trucks. The initial rollout in New York was funded through a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

"There are real economic and environmental benefits to electric trucks," said Mike O'Connell, director of fleet capability for Frito Lay North America. "Once the planned 176 electric trucks are deployed we will eliminate the need for 500,000 gallons of fuel annually. Each truck emits 75 percent less greenhouse gases than a conventional diesel truck."

The program expands a long-running commitment by Frito-Lay North America and its parent company PepsiCo to environmental sustainability. 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. Electric vehicles give Frito-Lay an opportunity to leverage the latest advances in transportation technology as a significant way to reduce the impact of its fleet.

Frito-Lay's New York fleet program aligns with Mayor Michael Bloomberg's PlaNYC, which is an effort to reduce CO2 emissions and improve fuel efficiency of cars and other vehicles in New York City.

New York will be the first of three cities in the U.S., along with Columbus, Ohio and Ft Worth, Texas, where Frito-Lay will be piloting electric trucks on regular daily routes. The company has already deployed six electric trucks in Canada.

More Truckinginfo stories about Smith electric trucks:

7/26/2010 Smith Electric to Expand Production Capabilities, by Diana Britton, managing editor

7/15/2010 Going Electric,, including driving impressions, by Tom Berg, senior editor

12/16/2009 Smith Throws Switch on All-Electric Trucks, By Steve Sturgess, Executive Editor and Diana Britton, Managing Editor