Supply Scan

News and Trends From Across the Food Supply Chain


Wine Distributor Goes Green With Hybrid Trucks

Peterbilt rolls out electric-diesel vehicles that cut fuel costs, emissions.

VinLux Fine Wine Transport, a wine distributor based in Napa, CA, is using two temperature-controlled hybrid electric medium-duty trucks to reduce fuel costs and emissions.

The Model 335 hybrid trucks are the first production models produced by Peterbilt Motors Co., Denton, TX. Last month, VinLux began using the trucks to service restaurants and retailers in the San Francisco Bay area from its Napa warehouse.

"We're committed to going green and protecting the Californian environment, and Peterbilt hybrids are a perfect solution for us," says Fred Biagi, owner of VinLux, a joint venture between warehousing and transportation company Biagi Bros. Inc. and Jackson Family Estates.

With diesel costs around $5 a gallon in California, the company expects to see a 30 percent to 40 percent improvement in fuel economy. The hybrids costs about 40 percent more than a regular truck, but Biagi estimates a 20 to 30 month payback based on fuel savings and tax incentives. The tax credit, currently available through 2009, is up to $12,000 for the Class 7 hybrid.

VinLux plans to use the hybrids in urban areas such as San Francisco, where frequent stops maximize regenerative braking, which allows vehicles to recoup some of the energy that is lost during stopping. The company has 35 trucks making deliveries from the Napa location as well as a warehouse in southern California. Biagi says that any new trucks added in the future will be hybrids.

"We expect that fuel efficiency and energy savings will be impressive while driving our high profile delivery routes," says Tom Tunt, president of VinLux. "Peterbilt's hybrid technologies will be an important component of our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint while still meeting the delivery needs of our California customers."

The vehicles were jointly developed with Eaton Corp., Cleveland, which has spent years developing a hybrid drive system for heavy vehicles.

The Model 335 is designed for a variety of applications, including inner-city pickup and delivery and beverage--making them a good choice for food and beverage distributors. According to Peterbilt, the truck utilizes components that provide up to an 80 percent reduction in engine idling in addition to the fuel efficiency gains.

The truck uses Eaton's hybrid electric power system with an electric motor that assists the PACCAR PC-6 engine with supplemental torque for improved fuel economy. The system stores energy during regenerative braking and then reuses it for acceleration. Fuel use, emissions and noise are greatly reduced.

In addition, Peterbilt is working on a Class 8 Model 386 hybrid electric tractor for WalMart's private fleet. The vehicle is expected to cut fuel use by 15 percent through improved over-the-road efficiency and by providing no-idle cooling, heating and electric power. The company expects to begin production of the vehicle by the end of 2009.

Peterbilt also announced a demonstration tour to allow prospective customers in the United States and Canada to evaluate the hybrids for applications such as beverage and delivery trucks. For more information, visit www.peterbilt.com.


Hennisngsen Selects On-Demand TMS

Henningsen Cold Storage, Hillsboro, OR, has chosen LeanLogistics' On-Demand TMS to manage inbound and outbound transportation from its frozen and refrigerated distribution centers.

LeanLogistics, the Holland, MI-based division of CHEP, will centralize transportation management for the entire Henningsen network from its load control center in its Scranton, PA distribution center. Centrally managing both inbound and outbound operations will allow Henningsen to eliminate inefficiencies in its transportation operations, lower freight costs and better meet customer delivery expectations.

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