Research: efficiency of electric vehicles in last-mile parcel deliveries

City authorities are confronted with the challenge: how to fulfill the expectations and needs of city users in the context of a transport system functioning in view of reducing the negative impacts of urban freight transport in terms of safety, air pollution, or noise. One of the solutions that help reduce the negative environmental impacts of urban freight transport is making use of vehicles that produce less air pollution, such as electric vans. It proved to be very effective in decreasing transportation footprint by reducing local emissions of e.g. PM or NOx.

However, one of the key limitations is the potential short driving range of such vehicles, which results from the battery capacity and charging infrastructure availability. In recent years, some analyses related to that issue have been made. Nevertheless, the studies have taken into account passenger cars only.

A new paper presents the results of a study aimed at verification of electric vans’ energy efficiency in real-life conditions at DPD Poland, i.e. when delivering courier consignments. The electric van used for the purposes of the experiment was the Nissan eNV200. The research study was carried out under the EUFAL international project, funded under the Electric Mobility Europe program.

The results of the research show a high potential of electric vehicles and the usefulness of electromobility in last-mile deliveries. The business partner of the research is now on the stage of electric freight vehicles implementation into vehicles fleets.

There is a visible increase in the amount of energy consumed per stop and per delivery address correlated with the increase in the percentage of distance covered within the delivery area. This means that driving consisting of continuous acceleration and stopping of the vehicle and keeping it in operational readiness causes much more energy consumption than continuous driving. 

According to the results of the study, a longer distance between the warehouse and points of delivery will not increase the energy consumption, unlike the number of stops. Therefore, the energy consumption declared by the producers (kW/100 km) is not a reliable indicator for assessing the suitability of an electric van to carry out parcel delivery tasks. The most important parameter which should be considered during the electric freight vehicles routes planning is the number of deliveries per vehicle.

Source: Stanisław Iwan, Mariusz Nürnberg, Mariusz Jedliński, Kinga Kijewska, Efficiency of light electric vehicles in last mile deliveries – Szczecin case study, Sustainable Cities and Society, 2021 and on Elsevier Science

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