Anheuser-Busch is starting to dip its toes into the electrification of its fleets with the purchase of a staggering 21 fully electric Class 8 trucks from BYD.
The new trucks will hit the streets in Anheuser-Busch’s California fleet as part of a state-led project to explore sustainable warehousing and distribution transportation options. The new vehicles constitute the largest Class 8 fully electric truck deployment in North America and will prove to the world that fully electric trucks can hold their own in real fleets in real applications.
The 21 second generation BYD 8TT Class 8 trucks will be put to use at 4 of Anheuser-Busch’s Southern California distribution facilities in Sylmar, Riverside, Pomona, and Carson. As the name implies, the new ‘The Zero Emission Beverage Handling and Distribution at Scale‘ project aims to test the capabilities and limitations of fully electric Class 8 vehicles in beverage handling applications at a larger scale than has previously been tested. For the last few years, BYD has partnered with numerous agencies and private companies on pilots of its heavy trucks, but this new project increases the scale significantly by adding far more vehicles and more locations than have been previously tested.
$5.5 million in funding for the project came from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) through the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) CTE has been tasked with keeping the nuts and bolts of the projects intact by providing project management services for the project to ensure it delivers the scope on time, at quality, and on budget. Matching funds of $5.8 million were also put up by stakeholders for a total project cost of $11,326,169.
“With this exciting project, Anheuser-Busch is providing a real-world demonstration of the future for moving goods and products throughout California,” said Richard Corey, Executive Officer at the California Air Resources Board. “I congratulate all the companies partnering on this impressive effort for embracing zero-emission trucks, and showing other businesses a zero-emissions solution to moving goods and cargo that cleans the air, protects our children’s health, and fights climate change.”
BYD and Anheuser-Busch partnered with a local team from ENGIE to lead the design and installation of the necessary charging infrastructure at all four facilities. This is an area where fleet applications of electric vehicles differ significantly from their passenger vehicle counterparts as high power charging solutions can be custom tailored to meet the needs of the business to deliver charging where needed, and how it is needed.
The project not only includes the necessary scope for the vehicles themselves, but also looks at the electricity needed to power the vehicles. ENGIE will be installing a 958.5 kW solar array at the Carson site which will help power the local facility and offset some of the power needed to charge the new vehicles.
“At Anheuser-Busch, we are committed to leading our industry towards a more sustainable future by reducing our carbon emissions across our value chain by 25% by 2025,” said Angie Slaughter, Vice President of Sustainability Procurement at Anheuser-Busch. “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.”
The initiative kicked into high gear when BYD delivered an initial truck to Anheuser-Busch for demonstration purposes the week of April 15th. The vehicle has been fully inspected and vetted to confirm that it met the needs of the client before the remainder of the trucks were built and delivered to Anheuser-Busch.
Upgrading the 21 trucks from traditional diesel Class 8 trucks to a fully electric trucks from BYD is estimated to eliminate 910 metric tons of CO2 per year. That’s like pulling 200 passenger vehicles off the road. It’s not going to change the world by itself, but the results of a successful completion of the project have the potential to have far reaching ramifications in the beverage transportation and distribution space and beyond. CARB is already expecting the project to be replicated across the state as fleets work to electrify their fleets to improve local air quality, slash CO2E emissions, and save money by electrifying their fleets.
“This project represents a huge step forward in integrating clean energy and clean transportation to realize the full environmental benefits of battery electric vehicles,” said Joel Donham, an Engineering Consultant at CTE. “CTE commends ARB, the CCI program, and all the project partners for their leadership in an effort to demonstrate the viability, benefits, and scalability of holistic energy and transportation systems.”
Stakeholders are currently expecting to have the full fleet of 21 BYD electric Class 8 trucks in operation by the end of 2019 with the project running through early 2021. Over that time, data will be collected to validate initial project assumptions including emissions, cost savings, and vehicle performance.