Modelling energy consumption of electric urban freight vehicles

Electric Freight Vehicles (EFVs) are a promising and increasingly popular alternative to conventional trucks in urban pickup/delivery operations. A research topic is to develop trip-based Tank-to-Wheel (TTW) analyses/models for EFVs energy consumption. There are just a few studies in this area.

EFVs energy consumption/ recovery patterns are either not considered or modeled with simplified approaches/assumptions, preventing the development of effective energy-oriented applications.

Leveraging on earlier research on passenger electric vehicles, a paper by Chiara Fiori and Vittorio Marzano from the Università degli studi di Napoli Federico II  aims at filling this gap by proposing a microscopic backward highly-resolved power-based EFVs energy consumption model (EFVs-ECM). The model is estimated and validated against real-world data, collected on a fleet of five EFVs in the city center of Rome, for a total of 144 observed trips between subsequent pickup/delivery stops.

Findings and future research

Different model specifications were tested and contrasted, with promising results, in line with previous findings on electric passenger vehicles. The proposed model can be easily integrated with traffic simulation models, and thus applied in the context of several analyses, such as energy-oriented optimization problems, primarily energy-oriented routing optimization, or comparison between optimization routing problems performed for conventional freight vehicles with electric freight vehicles.

The conventional and electric powertrains are completely different and in the latter case also the energy recovery is enabled thanks to the presence onboard of electric and reversible devices, e.g. the electric motor works as a motor during traction and as a generator during recovery cycles.

A further interesting potential application is the evaluation of the optimal location for charging stations. The origin-destination patterns, as well as speed profiles also influenced by the level of traffic, can be useful in the identification of the best location for charging stations and charging strategies. A final consideration can be done on the prospective city-wide impact of large adoption of EFVs, based on the estimated model; what is the daily electricity consumption in a city when urban freight goes full electric?


Fiori, C., & Marzano, V. (2018). Modelling energy consumption of electric freight vehicles in urban pickup/delivery operations: analysis and estimation on a real-world dataset. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 65, 658-673.

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