The Xebra trucks are fitted with a lockable cargo box for the Coca-Cola delivery service.

The Xebra trucks are fitted with a lockable cargo box for the Coca-Cola delivery service.

Photo: Zap

The Coca-Cola Company and alternative transportation pioneer ZAP announced a project to use 30 Zap Xebra compact electric trucks for a new beverage distribution system in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Coca-Cola recently announced a pledge to the environment as part of its policy of corporate social responsibility. The beverage company will focus on three areas of great impact: water use, packaging, and energy use and climate protection. Jorge Apesetche, distribution manager for Monresa (Uruguay) says the project with ZAP is the kind of initiative Coca-Cola wants to make to do its part in good environmental policy.

New Distribution Model Created

As cities become more and more congested, making door-to-door deliveries becomes more difficult. Parking is more difficult, especially in older cities that do not have service alleys to keep delivery vehicles out of street traffic. And the alternative, double-parking, simply magnifies the problem.

Around the world, rising fuel prices, traffic congestion, pollution, and parking shortages restrict the use of large delivery trucks. Coca-Cola officials say the new distribution model using the Zap electric trucks averages about 20 percent of the fuel consumption of the former model.

Coca-Cola subsidiary Monresa has received its initial order of 30 ZAP Xebras and is now placing them into service to deliver beverages throughout Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. The Xebras will be incorporated into a mobile distribution hub model where larger delivery trucks will no longer be used throughout the city, but will transfer beverages into ZAP trucks at distribution hubs.

Modified with enclosed, lockable cargo boxes, the ZAP Xebras can easily navigate narrower, inner-city streets, making deliveries to smaller retail locations. Because the ZAP trucks operate more easily in this environment, officials from Coca-Cola say their drivers can deliver goods and collect payment at the same time, whereas collections were not practical when using the larger trucks.

UPS Uses a Similar Model

Coca-Cola’s new distribution model is similar to the one set up recently by United Parcel Service (UPS) in Northern California. A fleet of 42 ZAP trucks and sedans were used to expand small parcel deliveries during peak holiday demand. After UPS delivery vans transfer smaller packages to a locked storage unit, a Xebra transports the packages into dense urban and residential areas where parking and traffic are easier for the smaller vehicles. 

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Paul Dexler

Paul Dexler

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Paul Dexler is a former contributor to Bobit Business Media's AutoGroup.

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