Frito-Lay Plugs in to the Demand for Electric Vehicle Fleet Trucks

Electric Vehicle Fleet Trucks

The Opportunity

Being on the forefront of emerging energy technology, Chateau Energy Solutions has been installing Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) at some of its larger customer facilities. The move to invest expertise and development in to the Electric Vehicle (EV) market was a logical evolution for Chateau Energy Solutions as it is a proven industry leader in energy efficiency consulting and controls on an enterprise level.

It came as no surprise that when Frito-Lay, the country’s largest manufacturer and distributor of snack foods and operator of the world’s seventh-largest privately-owned fleet, decided to begin converting to EV they approached Chateau Energy Solutions to be sure the initiative met their established energy goals.

The EV Infrastructure Deployment initiative at the snack food maker began in 2010 when they took delivery of a handful of Smith Newtons, battery-electric-powered trucks designed for distribution applications. Smith Newtons have a top-speed of 50 mph, can travel up to 100 miles on one charge, and have a payload of more than 16,000 lbs. They cost roughly $30,000 more than a comparable diesel truck, but the inherent savings mitigate the extra expense within a few years of operation.

Following the successful use of these first vehicles, the snack food maker decided in 2010 to permanently upgrade its fleet by committing to add 176 additional all-electric trucks to its fleet before 2012. The decision was supported by a $32 million U.S. grant to Smith designed to keep the cost of the vehicles down. Frito-Lay’s Electric Vehicle program has grown to 330 trucks and has a strong commitment to further advance the electric vehicle program.

The Solution

Frito-Lay approached Chateau Energy Solutions to install pilot EVSE technology in its distribution center in Fort Worth, Texas. The initial scope of the project was to install 10 EV charging stations with supporting electrical distribution modifications including charger pedestals with an option for load-monitoring equipment, and a charger monitoring system. The existing electrical service size and capacity was 800 amps at 480 volts (664 kVa), terminated in a main-lug only. Chateau Energy Solutions recommended adding a 225 amp circuit breaker as well as a 225 amp feeder, which would be routed to an outdoor transformer. Chateau also added a 240 volt panel with a 90A/2P circuit breaker for each charging station.

There are many options available for fleet charging solutions depending on scheduling and power needs. “Level 2” charging stations can take a few hours to charge a vehicle completely necessitating a short period of downtime to complete the charge. “Level 3” charging stations have greater power capability by offering a higher current and can augment “Level 2” stations by enabling quicker battery refueling, particularly on the road. In this case, the fleet had shorter routes and periods of downtime, so “Level 2” charging station made the most sense.

Chateau Energy Solutions EV Infrastructure Deployment solution offered Frito-Lay a number of benefits:

  • Turn-key design and installation program;
  • No disruption to day-to-day activity during design and construction;
  • UL Listed and compliant charging stations;
  • External control input, which allows external control from a smart meter, billing, or load management device;
  • CCID with automatic re-closure; and
  • Multiple levels of safety for both personnel and equipment.

The Results

The installation took approximately six weeks and the results were well received. Based on the success of this first installation, Frito-Lay has contracted and installed $6 million in EV Infrastructure and Controls in more than 25 locations. Furthermore, additional contracts are in place to install EV Infrastructure in a number of additional facilities across the nation.

One of the unique aspects of Chateau’s EV Infrastructure Deployment solution is the availability of a comprehensive charger monitoring system, which can give a customer global monitoring and control of the charging stations. The system is based upon an open stand-alone, BAC net-based system 32 bit controllers chosen because they meet site construction specifications and offer a web-based platform for monitoring and control. Important information such as charge supply voltage, power usage, charger schedules, and alarms can be managed from a remote location using this controller. Also, detailed trends and records of charger performance, utility costs, and equipment runtime can be provided in real time.

Other benefits of the charger monitoring system:

  • Charger can be scheduled in areas with Off-peak / On-peak utility rates;
  • Offers charger diagnostics and alarming;
  • Can provide information for sustainability reporting (Carbon footprint);
  • Provides global monitoring via Internet and is compatible with Automatic Demand Response (ADR)programs;
  • Offers Smart Grid Integration with Silver Spring Networks™; and
  • Integrates into facility EMS systems via NiagaraAX open system driver framework.

Commercial all-electric solutions are becoming more prevalent as more models are being modified to accommodate the EVSE technology. Some experts predict that rising fuel prices will accelerate adoption of Electric Vehicle technology, as will the decreasing costs associated with lithium battery production. For fleet managers, reduced maintenance costs along with state and federal grants and incentives can also help drive the decision to adopt EV technology.

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