Feasibility of Electrifying Urban Goods Distribution Trucks
Journal article, 2013
This paper discusses the feasibility of electrifying medium to heavy urban goods distribution trucks. As a case study, an existing transport system in the Swedish city of Gothenburg is used. The project is a joint research effort between a vehicle OEM, an electric utility, a fleet operator, the Swedish Transport Administration and two research organizations.
One main objective is to determine if and when different electrified powertrains are cost efficient to the end user. The results indicate that by 2015 conventional powertrains are still probably the most cost effective alternative in all applications studied. But in 2025, electrified powertrains are most cost efficient for most transport scenarios. These results indicate a transition in preferred powertrain technology for urban trucks within the coming ten years. It is important to point out that this result may not be general. Driving patterns, energy price developments and technology maturity of components such as batteries and motors greatly influence the total cost of ownership and large regional differences in when such a transition may occur are expected.
In addition to the total cost of ownership, important issues for a successful deployment are policies (e.g. restricting access to urban areas for noisy and polluting vehicles), information and communication solutions (e.g. adapted route planning), access to a cost effective charging infrastructure (and low-carbon electricity production) and new business models. These must all be developed in parallel to the vehicle and powertrain technology. The large number of different stakeholders involved in this transition is also a challenge in itself.