European Research Projects and Papers

European Research Projects and Papers

Nowadays, a number of city logistic activities and projects involve modifying freight vehicles, including alternative fuels such as electric vehicles [Thompson 2015]. Development of electric freight vehicles in city logistics is one of the most important options for implementation of sustainable goods deliveries. This measure could reduce significantly the environmental impact of urban freight transport. Especially, considering local pollutions, like CO, NOx, SOx, PM, etc. Moreover, thanks to the low level of noise, this measure could be connected with the other city logistics measures, like night deliveries. These issues are analysed from the beginning of present century or even earlier.

One of the first successes in terms of EV implementation in city logistics is described in [Taniguchi 2000]. It pertained to using EFVs within a cooperative framework for the purposes of urban freight transport, wherein its main idea was to establish EFVs based depot in the centre of Osaka and enable their use by multiple distribution companies. The project involved 28 electric freight vehicles, and 79 companies volunteered to participate in the undertaking. As a result of the system implementation, the number of kilometres covered was reduced, which led to a decrease in congestion. Another implementation involved a 3-year project described in [Markowitz and Duvall 2007] that was mainly aimed at long-term measurements of fuel and energy consumption, travel range when using an electric motor, driveability, lithium-ion battery capacity and durability. A van prototype was proposed, equipped with a parallel architecture of hybrid drive based on 5-cylinder 2.7 l diesel engine. The electric drive system was based on a permanent magnet 90 kW motor and 15 kWh lithium-ions (Li-Ion) battery. Another attempt at developing a modular structure of electric light trucks or vans (ELTVs) was the OPTIBODY project described in [Del Pozo De Dios 2013]. This time, the new architecture was to contribute to improve the passive vehicle safety, in order to reduce the number of fatal accidents and injuries.

Electromobility in City Logistics - European Projects and Actions

One of the first research projects in Europe focusing on utilisation of EVs in city logistics was the ELCIDIS project – Electric Vehicle City Distribution [Vermie 2002]. In recent years, many other initiatives of this kind have been implemented, such as:

  • EVD Post (Electric vehicles deliveries in postal services), time period: 1998-2000 – demonstration of implementation of electric vehicles in the postal services in Germany, Finland, Sweden, France and Belgium;
  • ELCIDIS (Electric Vehicles City distribution systems), time period: 1998-2002 – implementation in some European cities: Rotterdam, Stockholm (large electric vans with payload of 1000-1500 kg and hybrid electric trucks with payload of max. 11 tonnes; La Rochelle (EVs with a payload of approximately 500 kg); Stavanger, Milan and Erlangen (hybrid EVs for in-house goods and mail distribution for companies);
  • CIVITAS – Cleaner and better transport in cities, time period: 2002-2016 – under this programme some different projects focused on some topics related to EFVs utilisation have been completed, such as: TRENDSETTER: Deployment of EVs for the department store in Graz (Austria); VIVALDI: Bristol logistics platform demonstrator, using Smith EVs operated by DHL (UK); TELLUS: Demonstration of EVs in Rotterdam (the NL); RENAISSANCE: Usage of 2 Smith EVs for the Urban freight Logistics in Bath (UK); MODERN: Utilisation of freight EVs in Brescia (IT); MIMOSA: Running up Cargohopper; DYN@MO: 'Mobility 2.0' systems and services, electric mobility solutions, using new electric and hybrid vehicles for mobility planning;
  • CO2NeuTrAlp – CO2 –Neutral Transport for the Alpine Space, time period: 2009-2012 – Inteporto: tested 1 EV that includes refrigerated units for perishable goods distribution;
  • TURBLOG (Transferability of urban logistics concepts and practice from a worldwide perspective), time period: 2010-2013 – total of 9 cases were developed: 2 in the EU focused on two different approaches: 1 French and 1 Dutch; 3 covering Latin America: 1 Brazilian, 1 Peruvian, and 1 Mexican; 1 case in China; 3 cases in other parts of the world: 1 Japanese, 1 from the USA, and 1 from India;
  • ENCLOSE (Energy efficiency in City Logistics Services for small and mid-sized European Historic Towns), time period: 2012-2015 – the ENCLOSE project will support the development of Sustainable Urban Logistic Plans in 9 SMHT involving partners from 13 European countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK;
  • SMARTFUSION (Smart Urban Freight Solutions), time period: 2012-2015 – testing of EV and HV for distribution of perishable goods; testing of EV equipped with metering devices;
  • SELECT (Suitable electromobility for commercial transport), time period: 2012-2015 – empirical research trials of EVs in Austria, Denmark and Germany based on detailed surveys and questionnaires in different companies and sectors;
  • GridMotion launched in 2017 by a consortium of companies: The PSA Group, Direct Energie, Enel, Nuvve, Proxiserve and the Danish University of Technology, time period: two years – stabilishing the power grid and building a model of society efficiently managing energy;
  • Sustainable Porto Santo (Portugal), time period: 2018-2020 – the partners of the project want accelerate the energy system transformation and reduce CO2 emissions on the island as much as possible. Main stakeholders are from Portugal, other are form France, Germany and Switzerland;
  • Low Carbon Logistics, time period: 2017-2019 – the activities were implemented in the 5 South Baltic regions (0Iofstrćim, Rietavas, Bad Doberan, Stargard and Neringa) to present good practice examples for smarter and more environmentally friendly transport services. This included the following steps: analysis of initial situation, concept development, breakdown of the concept to the specific regional needs, elaboration of one action plan per region/institution, and start of the implementation process;
  • SULPITER, time period: 2014-2020 – the project has enhanced their capacity in urban freight mobility planning in order to develop and adopt sustainable urban logistics plans (SULPs). Policy makers in Bologna, Budapest, Poznan, Brescia, Stuttgart, Maribor and Rijeka have worked together with further local, regional and national non-partner authorities and with technical partners. They have focused on transnational policy capacity building, and on the development of transnational analytical and governance tools, resulting in improved and adopted policies for the future energy and environmental sustainability of freight transport in central European FUAs;

Thanks to projects mentioned above as well as the other experimental works realized around the world, more and more effective measures have started to be implemented in cities in recent years [Vermie 2002, Thompson 2015, Lebeau et al. 206, Quak et al. 2016, Paddeu 2017, Iwan et al. 2018]. These activities helped to analyse the efficiency of the vehicles, availability of the proper conditions for their utilization as well as the expectations regarding business models, low regulations, technological issues and needed local or regional regulations related to the improvement of their utility. However, based on the results of mentioned above works, the costs of purchasing electric vehicles are still perceived to be a substantial barrier to their wide-spread use [Taef et al. 2017]. Additionally, a substantial difficulty lies in selecting vehicles with operation parameters that fulfil the needs of the logistic processes they are to serve. Therefore, the key challenge is optimisation of the transport fleet while taking into account a multi-criteria evaluation of benefits. Although today’s EFVs demonstrate better and better performance parameters (longer travel range, more capacious batteries and more carrying capacity), their actual usability in urban logistics still remains limited. Under the FREVUE project [], some challenges and factors that influence successful implementation of EFVs in everyday logistic operations in a city has been specified [Nesterova 2013]:

  • technical performance – from focus on the range to the importance of aftersales,
  • operational performance – fine-tuning urban logistics operations to EFVs,
  • economics – searching new forms of ownership and successful business models,
  • environmental, social and attitudinal impact – confirmation of positive trends,
  • local policy and governance structure – to a more integrated city management approach.

The analysis made in the above projects and activities inspired the Authors to connect utilization of EFVs with one of the simplest and well-known city logistics measure – unloading bays. Previous, works were mostly focused on direct analysis of EFVs efficiency and typical charging infrastructure development. However, the Authors asked the question, how can we improve the utilization of EFV by short-time charging process, realized during the delivery realization? Based on this assumption, the major idea and experiments concept has been established.

Electromobility in City Logistics – Research Works and Papers

According to the analysis, more and more scientists are preparing publications concerning new fuel sources and e-mobility. The observed growth is likely to be stimulated by greater eco-awareness. Taking into account the extensiveness of the subject, the following keywords have been selected.

Table 1 Result of keywords analysis in the context of electromobility and utilization of EFVs in city logistics for 2015-2019.

Source: MUS

Each of the above keywords has been gaining in popularity over the years. It isn’t hard to notice, that the most popular term is “electric car”. The increase in number of articles concerning it, is about 10-17 percent year-to-year. Another, popular search is “delivery and electric vehicle”, which average increase is over 16 percent. Other keyword are less popular but their increase is constant and solid too (e.g in the case of “delivery and electromobility” almost 44 percent in 2015-2016 and 50 percent in 2017-2018).

Figure 1 The increase of number of the papers related to the electromobility and utilization of EFVs in city logistics for 2015-2020.

Source: MUS

In addition, by the June of 2020, there were 33 electromobility publications, 3259 electric cars publications, 697 delivery + electric car publications, 1574 delivery + electric vehicle publications, 479 last mile + electric vehicle publications, 156 BEV, PHEV publications and 20 delivery + electromobility publications (Fig. 2).

Figure 2 Results of keywords analysis in the context of electromobility and utilization of EFVs in city logistics by June 2020.

Source: MUS

Chosen Papers related to utilization of EFVs in city logistics (in alphabetical order)
  • Allen, J., Thorne, G., Browne, M. BESTUFS. Good Practice Guide on Urban Freight Transport, 2007.
  • Banasik, A., Bloemhof-Ruwaard, J.M., Kanellopoulos, A. Claassen, G.D.H., van der Vorst, J.G.A.J. Multi-criteria decision making approaches for green supply chains: a review, Flexible Services and Manufacturing J. 2016, doi: 10.1007/s10696-016-9263-5
  • Cullinane, S., Edwards, J. Assessing the environmental impacts of freight transport; A. McKinnon: Green Logistics, Kogan Page Limited, 2011.
  • Dablanc, L. Goods transport in large European cities: Difficult to organize, difficult to modernize. Transportation Res. Part A, 2007, 41(3), 280-285.
  • Davis, B., Figliozzi, M. A Methodology to Evaluate the Competitiveness of Electric Delivery Trucks, Transportation Research Part E 2013, 49, 8-23.
  • Del Pozo De Dios, E., Dávila, A., Alba, J.J., Avalle, M. Optibody project: Optimizing vehicle structures for electric light trucks and vans, Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering 195(7), 2013; pp. 633-640.
  • Eberle, U., von Helmolt, R. Sustainable transportation based on electric vehicle concepts: a brief overview. Energy & Environmental Sc. 2010, 3(6), 689-699.
  • Foltyński, M. Electric Fleets in Urban Logistics. Social and Behavioral Sc. 2014, 151, 48-59.
  • eu, accessed on 15.01.2019.
  •, accessed on 1.03.2020
  • Iwan S., Kijewska K., Johansen B. G., Eidhammer O., Małecki K., Konicki W., Thompson R. G.: Analysis of the environmental impacts of unloading bays based on cellular automata simulation, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, Vol. 61, Part A, June 2018, Pages 104-117.
  • Iwan S., Allesch J., Celebi D., Kijewska K., Hoé M., Klauenberg J., Zajicek J., Electric mobility in European urban freight and logistics – status and attempts of improvement, Transportation Research Procedia, Volume 39, 2019, Pages 112-123
  • Iwan S., Kijewska K., Kijewski D., Possibilities of Applying Electrically Powered Vehicles in Urban Freight Transport, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 151, Elsevier 2014, Pages 87-101
  • Iwan, S., Kijewska, K., Kijewski, D. Possibilities of Applying Electrically Powered Vehicles in Urban Freight Transport. Social and Behavioral Sc. 2014, 151, 87-101.
  • Kester, B. K. Sovacool, L. Noel, G. Z. de Rubens, Rethinking the spatiality of Nordic electric vehicles and their popularity in urban environments: Moving beyond the city?, Journal of Transport Geography, Volume 82, January 2020.
  • Jedliński, M. The Position of Green Logistics in Sustainable Development of a Smart Green City. Social and Behavioral Sc. 2014, 151, 102-111.
  • Kiba-Janiak, M., Cheba, K. How Local Authorities are Engaged in Implementation of Projects Related to Passenger and Freight Transport in Order to Reduce Environmental Degradation in the City. Social and Behavioral Sc. 2014, 151, 127-141.
  • Kijewska K., Iwan S., Małecki K., Applying Multi-Criteria Analysis of Electrically Powered Vehicles Implementation in Urban Freight Transport, Procedia Computer Science 159, Elsevier 2019, pp. 1558–1567
  • Lebeau P., Macharis C., Van Mierlo J. Exploring the choice of battery electric vehicles in city logistics: A conjoint-based choice analysis. Transp. Res. Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review 2016; 91:245–258.
  • Lebeau, P., van Mierlo, J., Macharis, C., Lebeau, K. The electric vehicle as viable solution for urban freight transport? A total cost of ownership analysis. In 13th WTCR, July 15-18, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2013.
  • Lee, D.Y., Thomas, V.M., Brown, M.A. Electric urban delivery trucks: Energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and cost-effectiveness, Environmental Science and Technology 2013, 47(14), 8022-8030.
  • Li Y., Lima M. K., Tan Y., Lee S. Y., Tseng M.-L., Sharing economy to improve routing for urban logistics distribution using electric vehicles, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Volume 153, February 2020.
  • Markowitz, J., Duvall, M. Plug-in hybrid electric van fleet test and demonstration in New York City, Electric Drive Transportation Association - 23rd Int. Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exposition 2007, Battery, Hybrid, Fuel Cell Conf. Proc. - Sustainability: The Future of Transportation 4, 2007; pp. 2295-2302.
  • Marmiroli B., Venditti M., Dotelli G., Spessa E., The transport of goods in the urban environment: A comparative life cycle assessment of electric, compressed natural gas and diesel light-duty vehicles, Applied Energy, Volume 260, 15 February
  • Melo, S., Baptista, P., Costa, Á. Comparing the Use of Small Sized Electric Vehicles with Diesel Vans on City Logistics. Social and Behavioral Sc. 2014, 111, 1265-1274.
  • Moll C., Plötz P., Hadwich K., Wietschel M., Are Battery-Electric Trucks for 24-Hour Delivery the Future of City Logistics?—A German Case Study. World Electr. Veh. J. 2020, 11, 16.
  • Moolenburgh E. A., van Duin J. H. R., Balm S., van Altenburg M., van Amstel W. P., Logistics concepts for light electric freight vehicles: a multiple case study from the Netherlands, Transportation Research Procedia, Volume 46, 2020, pp. 301-308.
  • Muñuzuri, J., van Duin, J.H.R., Escudero, A. How efficient is city logistics? Estimating ecological footprints for urban freight deliveries. Social and Behavioral Sc. 2010, 2(3), 6165-6176.
  • Nesterova, N., Quak, H., Balm, S., Roche-Cerasi, I., Tretvik, T. FREVUE 2.1 final report D1.3: State of the art city logistics and EV, European Commission Seventh framework programme, FP7-TRANSPORT-2012-MOVE-1, Demonstration of Urban freight Electric Vehicles for clean city logistics (theme: GC.SST.2012.1-7), 2013.
  • Niculae D., Iordache M., Stanculescu M., Bobaru M. L., Deleanu S., A Review of Electric Vehicles Charging Technologies Stationary and Dynamic. THE 11th INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON ADVANCED TOPICS IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING, March 28-30, Bucharest, Romania 2019
  • Nürnberg M., Iwan S., Application of Telematics Solutions for Improvement the Availability of Electric Vehicles Charging Stations. In: Mikulski J. (eds) Development of Transport by Telematics. TST 2019. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1049. Springer 2019, Cham
  • Nyquist, C. E-Mobility NSR, WP 7.5. Analysis of user needs for ICT solutions assisting the driver, Sweden, 2013.
  • Paddeu D., The Bristol-Bath Urban freight Consolidation Centre from the perspective of its users, Case Studies on Transport Policy 2017, Vol. 5, Issue 3, pp. 483-491.
  • Quak H., Nesterova N., van Rooijen T., Dong Y. Zero Emission City Logistics: Current Practices in Freight Electromobility and Feasibility in the Near Future. Transportation Research Procedia 2016; 14:1506–1515.
  • Quak, H., Nesterova, N., van Rooijen, T. Possibilities and Barriers for Using Electric-powered Vehicles in City Logistics Practice. Transportation Res. Proc. 2016 12, 157-169.
  • Ramsey, M. As Electric Vehicles Arrive, Firms See Payback in Trucks. Wall Street Journal, 2010.
  • Sathe, P., Kumar, A.H., Rajagopalan, K., Singh, S. Strategic Technology and Market Analysis of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in Europe United Kingdom to have Maximum Charging Stations Installed by 2019, Frost and Sullivan Report, 2013.
  • Sonnabend, P. Final report Electric Vehicle Deliveries in Postal Services, 2001.
  • Soysal M., Çimen M., Belbağ S., Pickup and delivery with electric vehicles under stochastic battery depletion, Computers & Industrial Engineering, Volume 146, August 2020.
  • Taef T. T., Stütz S., Fink A., Assessing the cost-optimal mileage of medium-duty electric vehicles with a numeric simulation approach, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment 2017, Vol. 56, pp. 271-285.
  • Taefi, T.T., Kreutzfeldt, J., Held, T., Konings, R., Kotter, R., Lilley, S., Baster, H., Green, N., Laugesen M.S., Jacobsson, S., Borgqvist, M., Nyquist, C. Comparative Analysis of European Examples of Freight Electric Vehicles Schemes—A Systematic Case Study Approach with Examples from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. In Dynamics in Logistics. Springer International Publishing, 2016; pp. 495-504.
  • Taniguchi E., Thompson R. G., Qureshi A. G., Modelling city logistics using recent innovative technologies, Transportation Research Procedia, Volume 46, 2020, pp. 3-12.
  • Taniguchi, E., Kawakatsu, S., Tsuji, H. New co-operative system using electric vans for urban freight transport. In Sucharov, L. & Brebbia, C.A. (eds.), Urban Transport and the Environment for the 21st century VI, WIT Press, Southampton (UK), 2000; pp. 201–210.
  • Taniguchi, E., Thompson, R.G. City Logistics: Mapping the Future, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis, 2015.
  • Thompson R. G., Vehicle related innovations for improving the environmental performance of urban freight systems, Chapter 7, in Green Logistics and Transportation: A Sustainable Supply Chain Perspective, ed. Fahimnia, M. Bell, D.A. Hensher & J. Sarkis, Springer; 2015. p.119-129.
  • Tipagornwong, C., Figliozzi, M. Analysis of competitiveness of freight tricycle delivery services in urban areas, Transportation Res. Record 2014, 2410, 76-84.
  • van Duin, J.H.R., Tavasszy, L.A., Quak, H.J. Towards E(lectric)-urban freight: first promising steps in the electronic vehicle revolution. European Transport-Trasporti Europei 54, 2013.
  • Vermie T. Electric Vehicle City Distribution, Final Report, European Commission Project; 2002.
  • Wątróbski, J.; Małecki, K.; Kijewska, K.; Iwan, S.; Karczmarczyk, A.; Thompson, R.G. Multi-Criteria Analysis of Electric Vans for City Logistics. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1453.

Go back

© 2022 EUFAL - Electric Urban Freight And Logistics