Research: exploring the feasibility of electric vehicles in the short food supply chain

The transition towards more sustainable approaches in the Food Supply Chain was concretely visible in the implementation of alternative models, like Short Food Supply Chains. Some authors raise doubts on the environmental impact of this model, in particular for the externalities caused by the transport system, suggesting the adoption of Electric Freight vehicles.

By adopting a multi-stakeholder approach, the objective of this recent study by Galati et. al. is to explore both the barriers and potentialities involved in the adoption of Electric Freight vehicles in the Short Food Supply Chain and the existence of a shared strategy at the system level able to foster their adoption (in the case of this study: Sicily).

Results suggest that, for entrepreneurs, Electric Freight vehicles appear as a viable option, although more efforts are still needed at a governmental level, through the promotion of public measures in the form of support for purchasing costs or rental rates and offering technical expertise services.

the current average battery duration of 120 km (in some cases longer) and the distance usually traveled around 70 km for a single trip, together with the recharging options through the brake system during urban trips, ensure the feasibility of the investment. While for the return trip, public charging points both along city streets and inside the main supermarket carparks and fuel stations are enough for this purpose. 

In terms of infrastructure, as is clear from interviews, improving the charging infrastructure efficiency to ensure EFVs shift optimization and increasing the number of charging points are today a priority. Overall, more collaborative methods should be inaugurated, contributing to a shared vision of urban mobility which takes into account all supply chain actors (charging point operators, automotive industry, rental car services, farmers, and local authorities) to ensure the system works in a more efficient way.

Source: Galati, A., Giacomarra, M., Concialdi, P., & Crescimanno, M. (2021). Exploring the feasibility of introducing electric freight vehicles in the short food supply chain: A multi-stakeholder approach. Case Studies on Transport Policy9(2), 950-957.

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