Freight transport accounts for 8 to 15% of total traffic flow in urban areas within the European Union. The majority of these deliveries are undertaken by diesel-powered vehicles with disproportionate levels of CO2, NOx, and particulate matter emissions. Accordingly, a variety of strategic options have been advanced as key solutions for addressing fossil fuel demand and emissions in urban freight transport.
A paper by Papadia et.al. progresses the discourse on hydrogen vehicles as viable strategic options for addressing sustainability concerns in urban logistics by undertaking a comprehensive total cost of ownership analysis. Outcomes of this study not only support the economic competitiveness of hydrogen vehicles but also analyze the implications of several future policies and market scenarios.
This study found that diesel vehicles remain the most competitive option for commercial use in the UK, even after consideration of tax relief and grants for low emission vehicles. However, both BEVs and HFCVs, with these considerations, do fall within the total lifetime cost range of a number of diesel vehicles and can, therefore, be considered competitive under current conditions. Competitiveness can be accelerated with an increase in subsidies that was found to be crucial, especially for HFCVs. BEVs would remain competitive with a reduced grant, however, this would obviously slow down uptake.