Sustainable Urban Freight Transport: Analysis of Factors Affecting the Employment of Electric Commercial Vehicles

  • Molin Wang
  • Klaus-Dieter Thoben
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Logistics book series (LNLO)


Commercial vehicles are a common mode of transport employed in the urban freight transport. Normally, they are internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles powered by burning fossil fuels. However, with deteriorating air quality and decreasing energy resources, ICE vehicles are experiencing a significant transition. Electric commercial vehicles (ECVs) as a feasible alternative to alleviate emissions and save energy resources are proposed in the field of urban freight transport. Nevertheless, with the increasing intention of adopting ECVs, the number of employed ECVs is lower than ICE vehicles and electric passenger cars. Therefore, this paper reviewed and analyzed 25 related articles to collect factors affecting the employment. Furthermore, we classified the factors into the three pillars of sustainability with integrating technological dimension. The results illustrate the influence of positive factors and negative factors on the employment. The future work will focus on ranking the priorities of factors and suggesting the logistics company to consider ECVs in their fleets thereby improving the adoption and the sustainable urban freight transport.


Electric commercial vehicle Urban freight transport Factors Sustainability 


  1. Ablola M, Plant E, Lee C (2014) The future of sustainable urban freight distribution – a Delphi study of the drivers and barriers of electric vehicles in London. Hybrid and electric vehicles conference; 5th IET, 1–7Google Scholar
  2. Afroditi A, Boile M, Theofanis S, Sdoukopoulos E, Margaritis D (2014) Electric vehicle routing problem with industry constraints: trends and insights for future research. Transp Res Procedia 3:452–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allen J, Browne M, Woodburn A, Leonardi J (2012) The role of urban consolidation centres in sustainable freight transport. Transp Rev 32(4):473–490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. American Automobile Association (2015) Your driving costs how much are you really paying to drive.
  5. Basiago AD (1999) Economic, social, and environmental sustainability in development theory and urban planning practice. Environmentalist 19:145–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Browne M, Allen J, Leonardi J (2011) Evaluating the use of an urban consolidation centre and electric vehicles in central London. Int Assoc Traffic Saf Sci Res 35:1–6Google Scholar
  7. Brundtland GH (1987) Report of the world commission on environment and development: our common future. OsloGoogle Scholar
  8. Chau KT, Chan CC, Liu CH (2008) Overview of permanent-magnet brushless drives for electric and hybrid electric vehicles. IEEE Trans Ind Electron 55(6):2246–2257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Comi A, Donnelly R, Russo F (2013) Modelling freight transport: chapter 8 urban freight models. LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Conrad RG, Filiozzi MA (2011) The recharging vehicle routing problem. In: Proceedings of the 2011 industrial engineering research conferenceGoogle Scholar
  11. Dablanc L (2009) Freight transport for development toolkit: urban freight. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  12. Davis BA, Figliozzi MA (2013) A methodology to evaluate the competitiveness of electric delivery trucks. Transp Res Part E 49:8–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ehrler V, Hebes P (2012) Electromobility for city logistics- the solution to urban transport collapse? An analysis beyond theory. Procedia—Soc Behav Sci 48:786–795CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ellram LM (1995) Total cost of ownership an analysis approach for purchasing. Int J Phys Distrib Logist Manage 25(8):4–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. European Commission (2011) White paper: roadmap to a single European transport area—towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system. BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  16. Feng W, Figliozzi MA (2013) An economic and technological analysis of the key factors affecting the competitiveness of electric commercial vehicles: A case study from the USA market. Transp Res Part C 26:135–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Foltyński M (2014) Electric fleets in urban logistics. Procedia—Soc Behav Sci 151:48–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Granovskii M, Dincer I, Rosen MA (2006) Economic and environmental comparison of conventional, hybrid, electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. J Power Sources 159:1186–1193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hackbarth A, Madlener R (2013) Consumer preferences for alternative fuel vehicles: a discrete choice analysis. Transp Res Part D 25:5–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hao H, Wang HW, Ouyang MG (2012) Fuel consumption and life cycle GHG emissions by China’s on-road trucks: future trends through 2050 and evaluation of mitigation measures. Energy Policy 43:244–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Iwan S, Kijewska K, Kijewski D (2014) Possibilities of applying electrically powered vehicles in urban freight transport. Procedia—Soc Behav Sci 151:87–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Klauenberg J, Gruber J, Frenzel I, Zajicek J, Kaplan S (2014) Needs, requirements and attitudes of specific commercial sectors in Denmark, Austria and Germany with respect to the use of electric vehicles in commercial transport. In: European electric vehicle congress, Brussels, BelgiumGoogle Scholar
  23. Klumpp M, Witte C, Zelewski S (2014) Information and process requirements for electric mobility in last mile logistics. Information technology in environmental engineering, selected contributions to the sixth international conference on information technologies in environmental engineering (ITEE2013). Springer, Berlin, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  24. Lebeau P, Macharis C, Van Mierlo J, Maes G (2013) Implementing electric vehicles in urban distribution: a discrete event simulation. In: EVS27 international battery, hybrid and fuel cell electric vehicle symposium, Barcelona, SpainGoogle Scholar
  25. Leonardi J, Browne M, Allen J (2012) Before-after assessment of a logistics trial with clean urban freight vehicles: A case study in London. Procedia—Soc Behav Sci 39:146–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lu LG, Han XB, Li JQ, Hua JF, Ouyang MG (2013) A review on the key issues for lithium-ion battery management in electric vehicles. J Power Sources 226:272–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Macharis C, Lebeau P, Van Mierlo J, Lebeau K (2013) Electric versus conventional vehicles for logistics: a total cost of ownership. In: EVS27 international battery, hybrid and fuel cell electric vehicle symposium, Barcelona, SpainGoogle Scholar
  28. Maden W, Eglese R, Black D (2010) Vehicle routing and scheduling with time-varying data: a case study. J Oper Res Soc 61:515–522CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  29. McKenzie S (2004) Social sustainability: towards some definitions. Hawke Research Institute Working Paper Series No 27Google Scholar
  30. MDS Transmodal Limited (2012) DG MOVE European commission: study on urban freight transport final reportGoogle Scholar
  31. Melo S, Baptista P, Costa A (2014) Comparing the use of small sized electric vehicles with diesel vans on city logistics. Procedia—Soc Behav Sci 111:1265–1274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Moreno J, Ortúzar ME, Dixon JW (2006) Energy-management system for a hybrid electric vehicle, using ultracapacitors and neural networks. IEEE Trans Ind Electron 53(2):614–623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Roumboutsos A, Kapros S, Vanelslander T (2014) Green city logistics: systems of Innovation to assess the potential of E-vehicles. Res Transp Bus Manage 11:43–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Schau V, Rossak W, Hempel H, Späthe S (2015) Smart City Logistik Erfurt (SCL): ICT-support for managing fully electric vehicles in the domain of inner city freight traffic: a look at an ongoing federal project in the city of Erfurt, Germany. In: Proceedings of the 2015 international conference on industrial engineering and operations management, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)Google Scholar
  35. Schneider M, Stenger A, Goeke D (2012) The electric vehicle routing problem with time windows and recharging stations. Technical reportGoogle Scholar
  36. Sierzchula W (2014) Factors influencing fleet manager adoption of electric vehicles. Transp Res Part D 31:126–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Statista (2014) Anzahl der Lastkraftwagen (Lkw) mit alternativen Antrieben in Deutschland (Strand: 1.Januar 2014) KBA.
  38. Taefi T, Kreutzfeldt J, Held T, Konings R, Kotter R, Lilley S, Baster H, Green N, Laugesen MS, Jacobsson S, Borgqvist M, Nyquist C (2014) Comparative analysis of European examples of freight electric vehicles schemes. In: 4th international conference on dynamics in logistics, BremenGoogle Scholar
  39. Taniguchi E (2013) Urban freight transport management for sustainable and livable cities. Global challenges in smart logistics—innovation driving supply chain control, Utrecht, Netherland.
  40. Taniguchi E, Thompson RG, Yamada T, Van Duin R (2001) City Logistics: Network modelling and intelligent transport systems. Pergamon, AmsterdamCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. The international council on clean transportation (2014) European vehicle market statistics pocketbook. BerlinGoogle Scholar
  42. Tipagornwong C, Figliozzi MA (2014) An analysis of the competitiveness of freight tricycle delivery services in urban areas. In: The 93rd annual meeting of the transportation research board, Washington, D.CGoogle Scholar
  43. Van Duin JHR, Tavasszy LA, Quak HJ (2013) Towards E(lectric)-urban freight: first promising steps in the electric vehicle revolution. European Transport\Trasporti Europei Issue 54, Paper n° 9. ISSN 1825–3997Google Scholar
  44. Van Vliet O, Brouwer AS, Kuramochi T, Van den Broek M, Faaij A (2011) Energy use, cost and CO2 emissions of electric cars. J Power Sources 196:2298–2310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Victoria Transport Policy Institute (2014) Transportation costs and benefits.
  46. Victoria Transport Policy Institute (2015) Sustainable transportation and TDM.
  47. Visser J, Nemoto T, Browne M (2014) Home delivery and the impacts on urban freight transport: a review. Procedia—Soc Behav Sci 125:15–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Vonolfen S, Affenzeller M, Beham A, Wagner S (2011) Simulation-based evolution of municipal glass-waste collection strategies utilizing electric trucks. In: LINDI 2011 3rd IEEE international symposium on logistics and industrial informatics, Budapest, HungaryGoogle Scholar
  49. Yang HM, Yang SP, Xu Y, Cao EB, Lai MY, Dong ZY (2015) Electric vehicle route optimization considering time-of-use electricity price by Learnable Partheno-Genetic algorithm. IEEE Trans Smart Grid 6(2):657–666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zhang Y, Yu YF, Zou B (2011) Analyzing public awareness and acceptance of alternative fuel vehicles in China: the case of EV. Energy Policy 39:7015–7024CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik GmbHUniversity of BremenBremenGermany

Personalised recommendations