Frito-Lay, an iconic American snack company under the PepsiCo umbrella, is revolutionizing sustainability at their Modesto, California facility with the recent delivery of Tesla Semi battery-electric trucks and a nearly 90% reduction in fleet greenhouse gas emissions. The sustainability transformation from this leading snack brand could set an example to others in similar industries worldwide.
The company has made waves as it recently underwent a series of green initiatives at its massive Modesto facility. One of the largest among Frito-Lay sites with its 500k square feet and 80 acre expanse – not to mention 1,100+ employees, this location is now utilizing alternative fuel vehicles across the entire site in addition to onsite renewable energy generation technology for storage equipment and employee electric vehicle charging stations.
In 2019, California launched the groundbreaking project that harnessed cutting-edge zero and near-zero emission technologies to boost sustainability. The initiative was supported by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the state’s Climate Investments program and its Air Resources Board. It promises far reaching environmental benefits in reducing air pollution across our beautiful Golden State.
The project is upgrading its fleet to zero- and near-zero emission alternatives while taking further steps towards sustainability by installing onsite renewable energy sources. The undertaking also includes investing in fueling and charging infrastructure for their revised fleet including on-site renewable energy generation and storage.
PepsiCo and Frito-Lay are taking aggressive action towards clean energy with their recent adoption of Tesla Semi electric commercial fleets into their Modesto facility. With four 750kW charging stations, these semi-trucks can experience up to 400 miles of range in only one hour’s time. In addition, the facility also utilizes six Peterbilt 220EV battery-electric box trucks for zero emission last mile deliveries within the community.
The fleet also includes 38 Volvo VNL compressed natural gas (CNG) tractors fueled by CNG with RNG attributes from a nearby, public access CNG fueling station owned and operated by Beyond6 (formerly ANG).
In the lot, Three BYD 8Y electric yard tractors improve operations efficiency and associated tailpipe emission reductions. Each yard tractor operates 20 hours per day and moves more than 150 trailers while only charging for two hours every day. Inside, 12 Crown Li-ion forklifts are powered by lithium-ion batteries to improve energy and time efficiency.
In 2021, the Modesto Frito-Lay site achieved sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources. Onsite solar power provides ups to 20% of the facility’s daily energy use and a recently added 1-megawatt solar carport with energy storage doubles the amount of solar generation capacity at the site by supplementing the facility’s 1-megawatt worth of rooftop solar panels. With 2.7 megawatt hours of on-site battery storage, the site can reduce electricity costs and support grid capacity by reducing the facility’s electricity load on the grid during peak times.
“The transformation at Modesto is in direct support of our PepsiCo Positive (pep+) commitment to building a circular and inclusive value chain and achieving net zero emissions by 2040,” said Steven Williams, CEO of PepsiCo Foods North America, in a news release.
He noted that to date, the Modesto facility transformation has resulted in a 91% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from direct fleet operations, or 5,250 metric tons of GHG emissions.
“If the standard four-person compact SUV drives on average 15,000 miles per year with an average mpg of 25.5, this reduction is the equivalent of removing just over 1,000 standard compact SUVs from the road,” he said.
Officials from the company as well as the government are showcasing Modesto as an example of how zero-emission technology can be implemented on a large scale to help reduce emissions at freight facilities and warehouses.
Frito-Lay Modesto has the support of several organizations including California Climate Investments and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District who provided a sizable investment in the project. A $15.4 million grant was allocated for Frito-Lay’s transformation, which included an accessible CNG station owned by Beyond6 (formerly American Natural Gas). Despite needing to raise over $13 million in cash and services as match funding, this ambitious project looks set to revolutionize air quality standards in its area of influence.
Other project participants include Café Coop, CALSTART, Project Clean Air, University of California and Riverside CE-CERT. Equipment and technology suppliers for the project include BYD Motors, ChargePoint, Crown, Meritor, Peterbilt, Tesla and Volvo.