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EV Briefing: Frito-Lay Adds Smith Electric Trucks; Ram 1500 PHEV; IKEA, Kohl’s Work with ECOtality

PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America will roll out eight new electric trucks in the Boston area, bringing the company’s all-electric trucks fleet up to 176 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada. The trucks, designed by Smith Electric Vehicles, generate zero tailpipe emissions and operate for up to 100 miles on a single charge. Frito-Lay said distribution in 18 U.S. cities and surrounding areas is partially serviced by the trucks. The company said that its electric fleet eliminates the need for 500,000 gallons of fuel annually, and each truck emits 75 percent less greenhouse gases than a conventional diesel truck.

The Chrysler Group will deliver a demo fleet of ten Ram 1500 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) pickup trucks to DTE Energy of Detroit. The Ram 1500 PHEV includes a liquid-cooled 12.9kWhr lithium ion battery pack and a 6.6 kilowatt (kW) on-board charger.  Additional features include AC power generation of up to 6.6kW; directional charging; reverse power flow and full regenerative braking used to capture more energy, Chrysler said. In addition to DTE Energy of Detroit, more than 100 vehicles have been delivered to 16 different cities in the past six months. Federal funding – a total of $48 million – for the program came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), through the Transportation Electrification Initiative sponsored by the DOE. The Chrysler Group matched funding  for the vehicle at $49.4 million, the company said. Chrysler will track urban use statistics on the demo fleet to evaluate battery performance and overall hybrid efficiency, and the company has not announced any plans for a production version of the PHEV Ram 1500 trucks.

IKEA has turned on four Blink Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations at its Emeryville, California, store its seventh such project in the U.S. in a partnership with ECOtality.

ECOtality is the project manager of public-private The EV Project, which aims to build up infrastructure to support the deployment of EVs. The project received funds from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the DOE, IKEA said. Installation also is planned at two other IKEA stores in the Western U.S. Customers activate the station with a radio frequency identification (RFID) card.

Kohl’s will install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at 33 Kohl’s stores in a partnership with ECOtality and Coulomb Technologies. The stores involved in the nationwide pilot program will have one to four parking spaces reserved for EV drivers who can charge their vehicle at no cost while they shop, the company said. Kohl’s has partnered with Coulomb Technologies’s ChargePointNetwork for 19 of the charging stations. The charging stations can be activated by EV drivers using RFID cards available at a Kohl’s customer service desk and via phone numbers provided on the charging stations.

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