Leading three EPA lists isn’t environmentally-friendly enough for PepsiCo, the company formed by the merger of Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay, Inc. With energy a key focus in its overall commitment to corporate sustainability, PepsiCo has gone even greener with the shift to using hybrid vehicles for its fleet.

Prius Pays Off
According to Pete Silva, director-fleet procurement, the PepsiCo fleet has more than 20,000 units, which include company cars, service vehicles, and light-, medium-, and heavy-duty delivery trucks. Nearly 650 of PepsiCo’s cars and trucks are hybrids, which will likely increase to more than 1,500 units in the next three years, he says.

PepsiCo began using hybrids in 2005, testing Toyota Prius in an effort to improve operating costs. Today, most of the company’s hybrids are Toyota Prius’ and Ford Escapes, used as company cars.

Though fleet maintenance costs haven’t changed much with the addition of hybrid vehicles, fuel costs have declined. “Our Prius vehicles average around 45 mpg, which is a significant improvement over previous mid-size vehicles,” Silva says. “Other cost factors we continue to look at are the acquisition price and residual values to get our total cost picture.”

Vehicle replacement schedules vary by vehicle size, use, and company division, but company cars are replaced every three years.

Hybrids Get a High-Five
Implementing hybrids into a fleet does present challenges, such as vehicle availability, long lead-times, and lack of available options, but suppliers continue to introduce new models with other options that can help fleets. Suppliers have also been working hard to reduce lead times, Silva says.

“Overall, the hybrids have been well-received by our drivers, who understand the overall sustainability strategy,” Silva explains. “PepsiCo has made a concerted effort to explain our commitment to sustainability and how the new hybrid company cars are an important part of this effort.”

As Green as it Gets
Silva says many fleet owners are exploring various technologies, including hybrids and small, fuel-efficient, clean diesel engines, and PepsiCo continues to search for solutions to improve fuel economy, reduce emissions, and deliver good lifecycle economics.

In April, the company announced the largest purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) to date. Comprised of more than 1 billion kilowatt-hours annually, the three-year purchase is EPA-estimated to be enough electricity to power nearly 90,000 average American homes.

Earlier this year, PepsiCo was also recognized by the EPA as “Energy Star Partner of the Year” for outstanding energy management and reductions in greenhouse emissions.