Conventional, Hybrid, or Electric Vehicles: Which Technology for an Urban Distribution Centre?

ScientificWorldJournal. 2015:2015:302867. doi: 10.1155/2015/302867. Epub 2015 Jul 5.


Freight transport has an important impact on urban welfare. It is estimated to be responsible for 25% of CO2 emissions and up to 50% of particles matters generated by the transport sector in cities. Facing that problem, the European Commission set the objective of reaching free CO2 city logistics by 2030 in major urban areas. In order to achieve this goal, electric vehicles could be an important part of the solution. However, this technology still faces a number of barriers, in particular high purchase costs and limited driving range. This paper explores the possible integration of electric vehicles in urban logistics operations. In order to answer this research question, the authors have developed a fleet size and mix vehicle routing problem with time windows for electric vehicles. In particular, an energy consumption model is integrated in order to consider variable range of electric vehicles. Based on generated instances, the authors analyse different sets of vehicles in terms of vehicle class (quadricycles, small vans, large vans, and trucks) and vehicle technology (petrol, hybrid, diesel, and electric vehicles). Results show that a fleet with different technologies has the opportunity of reducing costs of the last mile.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't