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6 more all-electric trucks join Coca-Cola fleet

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The giant beverage company continues to experiment with many different designs in its drive to have more than 750 clean vehicles on U.S. roads by yearend 2011.

Beverage company Coca-Cola will have more than 750 alternative fuel vehicles on the road in North America by the end of 2011, including six all-electric eStar trucks from Navistar that are being added in five cities during September.

The eStar trucks can travel up to 100 miles on a single charge; it takes six to eight hours to recharge but you can also swap out the battery in less than 20 minutes, which Coca-Cola is pitching as a way to keep the vehicles out and delivering products as much as possible. The windshield design offers 180 degrees of visibility, which isn't necessarily a green feature but should have an impact on safety. The new trucks will be added in Hartford, Conn., Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Mark Aubry, vice president of sales and marketing for electric vehicles with Navistar, said that the vehicles can help companies save about 60 percent of the fuel costs over traditional alternatives. When the vehicle has reached the end of its useful life, about 50 percent of the components are recyclable, he said.

The company will continue to invest in many different alternative fuel options for its fleet, including light-duty propane and natural gas.

Noted Brian Kelley, chief product supply officer at Coca-Cola Refreshments:

"Our energy efficiency work is focused on meaningful reducing the overall carbon footprint of our operations. We do this through a variety of technologies that produce energy efficiencies across all areas of our business, including fleet, manufacturing and sales, and marketing equipment. The new eStar vehicles are not only an example of our investment in innovation, but also an example of how we are delivering on our promise to grow the business without growing carbon emissions by consistently improving our energy efficiency practices."

Coca-Cola is a member of the federal "Clean Fleets" program and it is widely acknowledged as having the largest hybrid vehicle fleet in the United States.

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Heather Clancy

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Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure