Tesla, BYD Score Electric Truck Orders as Food Freight Greens

October 07, 2019 by John O'Dell

Food companies such as brewing giant Anheuser-Busch and snack purveyor Frito-Lay are adding electric trucks to their fleets as they work to reduce emissions from their supply chains.

Anheuser-Busch plans to add 21 Class 8 electric trucks from BYD to its fleet. The companies claim it is the largest deployment of all-electric Class 8 trucks in North America to date.


Frito-Lay, meanwhile, launched a project last week to transition the company’s Modesto, Calif., manufacturing facility into a zero- and near-zero- emission site.

“Frito-Lay is continuously looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact,” said Michael O’Connell, vice president of supply chain, PepsiCo, the snack company’s owner. “The Modesto project is indicative of our commitment to sustainable business practices that lead to innovation, increased productivity, operational excellence and business growth.”

The two-year, $30.8 million, Modesto project will integrate commercially available and prototype green technologies in numerous applications that include fleet vehicles and electric charging stations for EV semi-trucks, the company said. It also will have renewable energy generation and energy storage systems.

Frito-Lay said it plans to base 15 heavy-duty Tesla battery electric tractors, six Peterbilt 220EV battery-electric box trucks, 3 BYD 8Y battery-electric yard tractors and 12 Crown battery electric forklifts at the facility.


“We believe this is important real-world validation for the Tesla Semi and EVs more broadly and expect the pace of EV adoption in freight to accelerate from here,” Morgan Stanley Research analysts said in a report Monday.

The Transportation sector is responsible for nearly 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, the analysts said, citing Environmental Protection Agency data. They said 23 percent of those emissions come from medium and heavy-duty trucks.

“We believe the group is likely to be targeted for its environmental footprint and many other companies with large transportation needs will increasingly feel the need to be green, accelerating investment in and adoption of EVs,” the analysts said.


Anheuser-Busch also is pushing into green transport. It previously committed to acquiring as many as 800 Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks from Nikola Motors and 40 battery-electric Class 8 trucks from Tesla.

Frito-Lay-ZANZEFF-VIP-Event-2“The transport industry is one that is prime for innovative solutions and we are excited to continue driving progress towards a zero-emission fleet through this partnership” with BYD, said Angie Slaughter, the brewer’s vice president for sustainability procurement. Anheuser-Busch has set a corporate goal of a 25 percent carbon emissions reduction across all of its business operations by 2025.


BYD assembles electric trucks and battery packs at plants in the high desert community of Lancaster, Calif. It uses truck chassis and battery cells made at BYD facilities in China. Assembly in the U.S. includes installing state and federally required safety and emissions components.

The project with Anheuser-Busch marks a shifting point for BYD. Previously, it built its Class 5-8 electric trucks mostly for small demonstration projects and test programs. Now the company is readying for regular retail operations.

“You will be hearing a lot more from our truck division,” BYD spokesman Jim Skeen told Trucks.com


The $11.3 million Busch-BYD “Zero Emission Beverage Handling and Distribution” program is part of a California Air Resources Board sustainable warehousing and distribution project. It will include the installation of truck charging systems at the Anheuser-Bush facilities.

The project includes the construction of a 958.5 kilo-Watt solar panel array for charging trucks at the Carson site.

The brewer will deploy the trucks at four facilities in the Southern California cities of Carson, Pomona, Riverside and Sylmar.

The program, including the solar power plant and charging facilities, is scheduled to begin late this year. It will be fully operational by early 2021.


The Class 8 trucks are BYD’s second-generation 8TT tandem-axle Cabover tractors.

The all-electric trucks have a 125-mile range and 65 mph top speed. They have a gross combined weight rating of 105,000 pounds, according to BYD’s online specifications sheet. Their 409-kWh battery packs recharge in as little as two hours using a high-speed direct-current system. Charging takes 13.5 hours on a standard 240-volt system. The trucks’ electric motors provide 432 horsepower and 1,770 pound-feet of torque.

Funds from California’s carbon “cap-and-trade” program will provide $5.5 million of the project budget. The three main participants in the project will provide a total of $5.8 million in payroll, goods and services. That includes engineering and procurement, vehicle operation and support and solar power system construction.


Regulators valued Anheuser-Busch’s contribution at $3.85 million; BYD’s at $292,250. Engie Services U.S., a clean energy systems developer, is kicking-in $1.62 million of in-kind and construction services.

Engie and the U.S. truck factory and national headquarters for China’s BYD are California-based; Anheuser-Busch is headquartered in St. Louis, Mo.

Atlanta-based Center for Transportation and the Environment, a nonprofit clean transportation group, is serving as program administrator. It is handling the $5.5 million cash contribution from the California Air Resources Board.

The air board approved $415 million in cash and in-kind funding for 11 clean freight projects last year.

Navistar Unveils NEW International ... x
Navistar Unveils NEW International MV Work Truck

One Response

  1. Michael Coates


    Good write up, but according to the release on this project the biggest deployment of trucks is 38 Volvo Trucks powered by low-NOx natural gas engines running on renewable natural gas. The Volvos, BYDs and forklifts are in production and deliverable now, the Tesla Semis are not real yet. Tesla hasn’t even announced a firm delivery date or a production site while they focus on getting the Model Y to market.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Subscribe to our mailing lists

Choose one or more topics: