Watch Now

Anheuser-Busch charges into California electric truck demonstration race

Beverage maker plans to deploy 21 BYD Class 8 trucks for beer deliveries

Anheuser-Busch will test 21 Class 8 electric trucks from BYD for beer deliveries in South California. (Photo: BYD)

Anheuser-Busch, one of the biggest customers in line for hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric trucks from Nikola Corp., is jumping into California’s electric truck demonstration race with 21 BYD battery-electric beer delivery trucks.

BYD is partnering with the non-profit Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), and ENGIE Services U.S. for what BYD said is the largest Class 8 electric truck deployment in North America. The first trucks will be in operation before the end of the year. All the trucks will be deployed by early 2021.

Numerous competitors

Freightliner, a unit of Daimler Trucks North America, delivered the first two of 20 Class 8 eCascadia heavy-duty trucks in August following the delivery of a Class 6 eM2 model straight truck to Penske Truck Leasing in December 2018. 

Volvo Trucks North America said September 12 that it plans to deliver the first five of 23 Class 8 VNR trucks as part of its Volvo LIGHTS demonstration project before the end of the year.

BYD is the Shenzhen, China-based electric vehicle maker partly owned by MidAmerican Energy Co., a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway Energy. It is testing cabover Class 8 electric trucks at the ports of San Diego, Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland, spokesman Jim Skeen said.

Anheuser-Busch’s goal

Anheuser-Busch distribution facilities in the Southern California cities of Carson, Pomona, Riverside and Sylmar will host the trucks.

“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,” Angie Slaughter, Vice President of Sustainability Procurement at Anheuser-Busch, said in a statement.

The beverage maker’s biggest commitment to that goal is a pending order for 800 fuel cell-powered electric trucks from Nikola, which expects to begin deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2022. Anheuser-Busch also has ordered 40 electric Class 8 trucks from Tesla Motor.

CO2 reduction

ENGIE is designing and installing charging infrastructure at all four facilities as part of the project. ENGIE also is installing and commissioning a 958.5 kW solar array at the Carson site. It will generate zero-emissions power to replace conventional energy used in charging.  

The CTE is helping pay for the “Zero Emission Beverage Handling and Distribution at Scale” project with money from the California Air Resources Board collected by California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade funds into reducing greenhouse gas emissions, 

The project is expected to result in emissions reductions of 910 metric tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking almost 200 passenger vehicles off of the road. It includes equipment testing, a one-year demonstration period, data collection and other reporting.  

Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.