PacLease delivers Peterbilt Model 337 hybrids to Tropicana

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Tropicana, a division of PepsiCo, is taking steps to upgrade its chilled delivery fleet operation to “greener” models starting with two new hybrid diesel-electric medium-duty Peterbilt trucks, which service downtown Chicago. Last month, Tropicana placed into service the two trucks under a full-service lease through Paccar Leasing (PacLease).

“PacLease is extremely pleased to partner with PepsiCo’s Tropicana division on this state-of-the-art transportation equipment,” says Olen Hunter, PacLease director of sales and marketing. “By working closely with PepsiCo, Peterbilt and Kidron Body Company, we developed a transportation solution centered around Peterbilt’s new class 7 Model 337 hybrid diesel-electric straight truck platform. The hybrid diesel-electric truck is expected to reduce fuel consumption by 35 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an equal amount.”

The hybrid trucks are equipped with a refrigeration system called Ultra Temp manufactured by Kidron. 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.

“The combination of the Peterbilt hybrid truck and the Kidron body with hybrid reefer technology will be one of the most fuel- and emissions-conscious delivery vehicles on the road,” Hunter says.

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.

Acquisition of the hybrid trucks comes on the heels of the company’s move to replace 72 older delivery trucks with Peterbilt medium-duty models also placed into service under a full-service lease through PacLease. The standard diesel-powered Peterbilts, each equipped with 260-hp Paccar PX-8 engines and Allison 3000 5-speed transmissions, 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,” says 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-miles per gallon. That has a lot of potential for Tropicana and PepsiCo. First-in-class offerings from Peterbilt provide our drivers comfort, quality workmanship and reliability. Furthermore, the combination of replacing the 72 older trucks and introducing the two new hybrids to our fleet are helping lead to better fuel economy and lower carbon emissions. The higher fuel economy and lower carbon emissions will help Tropicana reduce the transportation carbon footprint for the Chicago fleet.”

PacLease national account sales executive Ron Festervan says the replacement of the 72 older delivery trucks and the acquisition of the hybrid trucks has resulted in the Tropicana division reducing particulate matter emissions by an estimated 16 tons per year and nitrogen oxide emissions by 373 tons per year. “This accomplishment is in direct alignment with parent company PepsiCo’s sustainability initiative, for which it should be commended,” Festervan says.

Tropicana’s leased hybrid trucks are equipped with 300-hp Paccar PX-6 engines providing 660 lb.-ft. of torque powered through Eaton 6-speed hybrid transmissions. The truck’s Eaton diesel-electric hybrid power system integrates a transmission-mounted 60-hp 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.

Festervan says companies like PepsiCo benefit from the flexibility that PacLease offers with its full-service leasing, which includes PacLease’s 24-hour call center and full-service maintenance of the company’s new trucks. “PacLease allows companies to acquire the latest truck technology designed to save fuel, reduce emissions and enhance driver productivity without expending capital or tying up credit lines in a challenging economic environment,” he says.