Tropicana adds hybrid trucks in Chicago area

The Tropicana division of PepsiCo has added two diesel-electric hybrid Peterbilt trucks to its downtown Chicago operation. The medium-duty vehicles will be leased through Paccar Leasing

The Tropicana division of PepsiCo has added two diesel-electric hybrid Peterbilt trucks to its downtown Chicago operation. The medium-duty vehicles will be leased through Paccar Leasing (PacLease).

“PacLease is extremely pleased to partner with PepsiCo’s Tropicana division on this state-of-the-art transportation equipment,” said Olen Hunter, PacLease director of sales & 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.”

According to Hunter, the vehicles are expected to reduce fuel consumption by 35% and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an equivalent amount.

The two trucks also include a hybrid refrigeration unit from Kidron. The Ultra Temp units draw power from the truck’s powertrain, storing it for later use to maintain ambient temperature in the cargo area.

“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 said.

Powered by a 300 hp Paccar PX-6 engine providing 660 lbs.-ft. of torque, the hybrids utilize a 6-sp. Eaton hybrid transmission. 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.

According to Bill Davis, national fleet manager for Tropicana, the trucks are expected to get 10 mpg or better. “That has a lot of potential for Tropicana and PepsiCo,” Davis said.

The acquisition of the two hybrids follows the decision to lease 72 new medium-duty Peterbilts through PacLease. The standard diesel trucks are equipped with 260 hp Paccar PX-8 engines and Allison 3000 5-spd. transmissions. They have averaged 6.75 mpg, a 35% improvement over the models they replaced.

The combination of all the newer vehicles will eliminate 16 tons of particulate matter per year and cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 373 tons per year, PacLease said.

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