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Towards Zero Emission Urban Logistics: Challenges and Issues for Implementation of Electric Freight Vehicles in City Logistics

Sustainable Logistics

ISBN: 978-1-78441-062-9, eISBN: 978-1-78441-061-2

Publication date: 4 December 2014



Electric freight vehicles (EFVs) are one of the solutions to improve city logistics’ sustainability. EFVs, that are electric powered light and heavy vehicles with a number plate, have the potential to make zero emission city logistics possible within the urban area. However, although trials have been undertaken for the last years, large-scale usage of EFVs in city logistics does not occur yet. EFVs are technically possible, but the implementation of EFVs in practice is relatively limited.


This chapter examines by reviewing current and past EFV implementations, what are the challenges, barriers and success factors for EFVs in city logistics operations. EFVs have especially positive environmental effects, but are overall usually more expensive (especially in procurement) than conventional vehicles. Besides, other technical and operational issues remain to be solved, and many uncertainties still exist on long-term usage.


Three main barriers for large-scale EFV uptake are identified. The current logistics concepts are developed for conventional vehicles and should be redesigned to fit EFVs better. Local authorities’ support is essential in order to find a positive (or not too negative) business case. And EFV implementation requires companies that want to be sustainable. This contribution presents examples of how some companies or authorities deal with these barriers.


This chapter concludes by identifying elements that are necessary for acceleration of EFV uptake in city logistics operations.




The authors thank the FREVUE partners for their comments on the state-of-the-art study, as well as the two reviewers of the report that contributed to FREVUE’s final deliverable 1.3 state-of-the-art city logistics and EV. Special thanks go to the co-authors of the deliverable: Susanne Balm (TNO), Isabelle Roche-Cerasi and TerjeTretvik (both SINTEF).


Quak, H. and Nesterova, N. (2014), "Towards Zero Emission Urban Logistics: Challenges and Issues for Implementation of Electric Freight Vehicles in City Logistics", Sustainable Logistics (Transport and Sustainability, Vol. 6), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 265-294.



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