Frito-Lay Modesto facility trucks

Frito-Lay Focuses on Sustainability in Transformation of California Facility

The manufacturing site demonstrates the benefits of zero-emission and near zero-emission technologies.
Frito-Lay Modesto facility

PLANO, Texas — Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo Inc., is gearing up to take the wraps off of its Modesto, Calif., facility, which has been transformed into a showcase for sustainable manufacturing, warehousing and distribution technologies.

Boasting 500,000 square feet and sitting on 80 acres, the site is one of the largest Frito-Lay manufacturing facilities in the United States. It is the first Frito-Lay manufacturing facility to implement site-wide alternative fuel vehicles, on-site renewable energy generation, energy storage equipment and employee electric vehicle charging stations.

The project, which began in 2019, sets to demonstrate the sustainability benefits of zero-emission (ZE) and near zero-emission (NZE) technologies. It is supported by the California Climate Investments (CCI) initiative in conjunction with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

"At Frito-Lay and PepsiCo, we are dedicated to operating within our planetary bounds and inspiring positive change. 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. "To date, the Frito-Lay Modesto transformation has resulted in a 91 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) 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 [miles per gallon] of 25.5, this reduction is the equivalent of removing just over 1,000 standard compact SUVs from the road."

The transformation at Modesto is a template for and can help accelerate the continued proliferation of large-scale commercialization of ZE and NZE technologies at freight facilities and warehouses, magnifying emissions reduction benefits on a broad scale, according to Frito-Lay.

The upgrades in Modesto employ the latest in sustainable technology to reduce environmental impact, while also offering employees on-the-job training to maintain and operate the new high-tech equipment. These updates include the replacement of diesel fleet assets with ZE and NZE alternatives, fueling and charging infrastructure for the new fleet, and on-site renewable energy generation and storage.

These technology upgrades are another step in achieving pep+ goals:

  • Three BYD 8Y electric yard tractors improve operations efficiency, and the associated tailpipe emission reductions contribute to reducing GHG emissions across the company's value chain. Each yard tractor operates 20 hours per day and moves more than 150 trailers while only charging for two hours every day.
  • 1-megawatt solar carport with energy storage, which doubles the amount of solar generation capacity at the facility by supplementing the site's 1-megawatt of rooftop solar panels.
  • Twelve Crown Li-ion forklifts powered by lithium-ion batteries to improve energy and time efficiency.
  • 2.7 megawatt hours of on-site battery storage to help reduce the site's electricity costs and support grid capacity by reducing the facility's electricity load on the grid during peak times.
  • Electric Tesla over the road semis and four Tesla 750kW charging stations to provide the semis with up to 400 miles of range in one hour of charging. PepsiCo and Frito-Lay are now the first company to have a commercial fleet featuring the electric semi, according to the company.
  • 38 Volvo VNL compressed natural gas (CNG) tractors fueled by CNG with renewable natural gas attributes from a nearby, public access CNG fueling station owned and operated by Beyond6.
  • Six Peterbilt 220EV electric box trucks that provide zero-emission last mile delivery into the Modesto community, reducing tailpipe emissions and allowing Frito-Lay to deliver products directly to retail customers.
  • Seven dual-head employee electric vehicle charging stations capable of charging up to 14 vehicles at one time.

Additionally, in 2021 the Frito-Lay Modesto site achieved sourcing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. On-site solar power provides up to 20 percent of the Modesto facility's energy use daily.

"CARB's approach to fighting local air pollution is to work with industry and other partners on projects that demonstrate how a fleet can protect public health by shifting to clean vehicle technologies and equipment. This includes zero-emission trucks and related charging infrastructure," said CARB Executive Officer Dr. Steven Cliff.  "The transformation of the Frito-Lay facility in Modesto is a notable example of this approach. It also makes the case to other fleets and freight facilities in California — and throughout the nation — that a shift by companies and fleets to the cleanest trucks and equipment directly improves the air for communities adjacent to these facilities."

The total project grant for $15.4 million covered a portion of the Frito-Lay transformation and the placement of a publicly accessible CNG station, owned by Beyond6, formerly known as American Natural Gas. The grant share for Frito-Lay was $12.2 million and the match funding required $13.5 million in cash and in-kind services.

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 LLC, ChargePoint, Crown, Meritor, Peterbilt, Tesla and Volvo.

Headquartered in Plano, Frito-Lay North America is the $19 billion convenient foods division of Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo Inc. Frito-Lay snacks include Lay's and Ruffles potato chips, Doritos tortilla chips, Cheetos snacks, Tostitos tortilla chips and branded dips, SunChips multigrain snacks and Fritos corn chips. The company operates 30-plus manufacturing facilities across the U.S. and Canada, more than 200 distribution centers and services 315,000 retail customers per week through its direct-store-delivery model.

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