Tropicana, a division of PepsiCo, has taken delivery of two new hybrid diesel-electric medium-duty Peterbilt trucks, which service downtown Chicago
With the new hybrids, Tropicana expects to achieve an additional 35 percent improvement in fuel economy over its diesel-powered trucks.
With the new hybrids, Tropicana expects to achieve an additional 35 percent improvement in fuel economy over its diesel-powered trucks.
. The two were placed into service through a full-service lease agreement with Paccar Leasing.

"The hybrid diesel-electric truck is expected to reduce fuel consumption by 35 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an equal amount," said Olen Hunter, PacLease director of sales and marketing.

The hybrid trucks are equipped with a refrigeration system called Ultra Temp, manufactured by Kidron Body Company. The system allows Tropicana to eliminate emissions and fuel consumption associated with the refrigeration engine, through the use of a hybrid refrigeration system. The system draws power from the truck's powertrain and stores it. Using that stored energy, it maintains ambient temperature in the cargo area within set specifications throughout the delivery route.

Tropicana's direct store delivery unit operates trucks at 22 locations, including Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle. Over the next few years, the PepsiCo unit will continue to replace its older trucks with the more fuel-efficient, environmentally preferable trucks.

Tropicana recently replaced 72 older delivery trucks with Peterbilt medium-duty models, equipped with 260 horsepower Paccar PX-8 engines, and Allison 3000 5-speed transmissions. According to the company, the new trucks are getting 6.75 mpg on average, a 35 percent improvement over the trucks they replaced.

"With the new hybrids, we're very optimistic about getting an additional 35 percent improvement in fuel economy over that of our standard diesel-powered Peterbilts," said Bill Davis, national fleet manager for Tropicana. "Based on numbers we've gotten from Peterbilt and PacLease and on the experience of other companies that have adopted similarly equipped hybrid trucks, we expect to get 10-plus mile per gallon.

"The higher fuel economy and lower carbon emissions will help Tropicana reduce the transportation carbon footprint for the Chicago fleet," Davis said.

Tropicana's leased hybrid trucks are equipped with 300 horsepower Paccar PX-6 engines providing 660 pounds-feet of torque powered through Eaton 6-speed hybrid transmissions. The truck's Eaton diesel-electric hybrid power system integrates a transmission-mounted 60-horsepower electric engine, which can start moving the unit without using the diesel engine. The electric engine assists the diesel engine when the unit needs more torque and power for acceleration. The engine works with a frame-mounted, 340-volt lithium-ion battery pack that recharges every time the unit brakes to reduce speed.

The hybrid system is monitored through an in-dash display. As the power requirements for different driving conditions change, the screen constantly updates the driver on system status.