Electrifying Last-Mile Deliveries: A Carbon Footprint Comparison between Internal Combustion Engine and Electric Vehicles

  • Jesus Saenz-EsteruelasEmail author
  • Miguel Figliozzi
  • Adrian Serrano
  • Javier Faulin
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9704)


Last-mile management distribution is a growing challenge in big cities that affects to quality of life of many citizens. A way to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and congestion, as well as to promote and develop Smart Cities, is electrifying urban distribution by means of electric tricycles. This article evaluates the GHG of a tricycle logistics company (B-Line) in downtown Portland, OR. The goal is to analyze carbon footprint potential savings between electric tricycle last-mile distribution against a traditional diesel-powered van system. Real-world GPS and warehouse data were collected to assess B-Line operations. Results show a huge GHG emissions reduction, being tricycle logistic system twice more efficient that the traditional one.


Smart city Externality Electric vehicle Last-mile distribution 



This work has been partially supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (grants TRA2013-48180-C3-P and TRA2015-71883-REDT), and the Ibero-American Program for Science and Technology for Development (CYTED2014-515RT0489). Likewise we want to acknowledge the support received by the CAN Foundation in Navarre, Spain (Grant CAN2014-3758).


  1. 1.
    World Trade Organization: World Trade Report 2014 (2015). Accessed Feb 2016
  2. 2.
    United Nations: World Urbanization Prospects, United Nations (2014). Accessed Feb 2016
  3. 3.
    Lin, J., Chen, Q., Kawamura, K.: Environmental and energy benefits of freight delivery in consolidation in Urban Areas. National Center for Freight & Infrastructure Research & Education, Madison (2013)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    National Cooperative Freight Research Program: Synthesis of Freight Research in Urban Distribution Planning, Report 23 (2013)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Laffont, J.: The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke (2008)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Russo, F., Comi, A.: City characteristics and urban goods movements: a way to environmental transportation system in a sustainable city. Procedia Soc. Behav. Sci. 39, 61–73 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Demir, E., Huang, Y., Scholts, S., Van Woensel, T.: A selected review on the negative externalities of the freight transportation: modeling and pricing. Transp. Res. Part E 77, 95–114 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bernard, S.M., Samet, J.M., Grambsch, A., Ebi, K., Romieu, I.: The potential impacts of climate variability and change on air pollution-related health effects in the United States. Environ. Health Perspect. 109, 199–209 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Tan, K., Htet, K., Narayanan, A.: Mitigation of vehicle distribution in an EV sharing scheme for last mile transportation. Intell. Transp. Syst. 5(16), 2631–2641 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Schoemaker, J., Allen, J., Huschebek, M., Monigl, J.: Quantification of urban freight transport effects I. BESTUFS Consortium (2006)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lee, D.-Y., Thomas, V.M., Brown, M.A.: Electric urban delivery trucks: energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and cost-effectiveness. Environ. Sci. Technol. 47, 8022–8030 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    U.S. DOE: FedEx Express Gasoline Hybrid Electric Delivery Truck Evaluation: 12-Month Report. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO (2011)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Martin, C.: Battery-Powered Trucks: Toys No More. Bloomerang Businesweek (2011)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Calvillo, C., Sánchez-Miralles, A., Villar, J.: Energy management and planning in smart cities. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 55, 273–287 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Tipagornwong, C., Figliozzi, M.: Analysis of competitiveness of freight tricycle delivery services in urban areas. Transp. Res. Rec. J. Transp. Res. Board 2410, 76–84 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Asdrubali, F., Baldinelli, G., D’Alessandro, F., Scrucca, F.: Life cycle assessment of electricity production from renewable energies: review and results harmonization. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 42, 1113–1122 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    B-Line: B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery. Accessed Feb 2016
  18. 18.
    Juan, A., Mendez, C., Faulin, J., de Armas, J., Grasman, S.: Electric vehicles in logistics and transportation: a survey on emerging environmental, strategic and operational challenges. Energies 86(9), 1–21 (2016)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Mathiesen, B., Lund, H., Connolly, D., Wenzel, H., Østergaard, P., Möller, B., Hvelplund, F.: Smart energy systems for coherent 100 % renewable energy and transport solutions. Appl. Energy 145, 139–154 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Jhala, K., Natarajan, B., Pahwa, A., Erickson, L.: Coordinated electric vehicle charging solutions using renewable energy sources. In: Computational Intelligence Applications in Smart Grid (CIASG), pp. 1–6 (2014)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Sierzchula, W., Bakker, S., Maat, K., Wee, B.: The influence of financial incentives and other socio-economic factors on electric vehicle adoption. Energ. Policy 68, 183–194 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Poullikkas, A.: Sustainable options for electric vehicle technologies. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 41, 1277–1287 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Salah, F., Ilg, J., Flath, C., Basse, H., Van Dinther, C.: Impact of electric vehicles on distribution substations: a Swiss case study. Appl. Energy 137, 88–96 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Schliwa, G., Armitage, R., Aziz, S., Evans, J., Rhoades, J.: Sustainable city logistics - making cargo cycles viable for urban freight transport. Res. Transp. Bus. Manag. 15, 50–57 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    De Decker, K.: Cargo cyclist replace truck drivers on European city streets. Accessed Feb 2016
  26. 26.
    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: IPCC Third Asessment Report: Climate Change 2001 (2001)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    GHG Protocol: Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Accessed Feb 2016
  28. 28.
    Feng, W., Figliozzi, M.: Conventional vs electric commercial vehicle fleets: a case study of economic and technological factors affecting the competitiveness of electric commercial vehicles in the USA. Procedia Soc. Behav. Sci. 39, 702–711 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Wilson, D., Papadopoulos, J., Whitt, F.R.: Bicycling Science. MIT Press, Cambridge (2004)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Saenz, J., Figliozzi, M., Faulin, J.: An assessment of the carbon footprint reductions of tricycle logistics services. Transportation Research Record (2016, forthcoming)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    U.S. EPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency. Accessed Feb 2016
  32. 32.
    U.S. EPA: eGRID Clean Energy. Accessed Feb 2016
  33. 33.
    US Environmental Protection Agency: How to use eGRID for Carbon Footprinting Electricity Purcharses in Greenhouse Gas emission inventories (2015). Accessed Feb 2016
  34. 34.
    Environmental Protection Agency: Greenhouse Gas Emissios from a Typical Passenger Vehicle (2014). Accessed Feb 2016
  35. 35.
    Stevens, J.W., Corey, G.P.: A study of lead-acid battery efficiency near top-of-charge and the impact on PV system design. In: Conference Record of the Twenty Fifth IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, pp. 1485–1488 (1996)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Browne, M., Allen, J., Leonardi, J.: Evaluating the use of an urban consolidation center and electric vehicles in central London. IATSS Res. 35, 1–6 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesus Saenz-Esteruelas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Miguel Figliozzi
    • 2
  • Adrian Serrano
    • 1
  • Javier Faulin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Statistics and ORPublic University of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

Personalised recommendations