Towards E(lectric)-urban freight: First promising steps in the electric vehicle revolution

J.H.R. Van Duin, L.A. Tavasszy, H.J. Quak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Innovative logistics service providers are currently looking for possibilities to introduce electric vehicles for goods distribution. As electrical vehicles still suffer from a limited operation range, the logistical process faces important challenges. In this research we advise on the composition of the electrical vehicle fleet and on the configuration of the service network, to achieve a successful implementation of electric vehicles in the innercity of Amsterdam. Additional question in our research is whether the CO2 emission reduces at all or might even increase due to an increase of tripkilometres as a consequence of mileage constraints by the batteries. The aim of the implementation of the research is to determine the ideal fleet to transport a known demand of cargo, located at a central depot, to a known set of recipients using vehicles of varying types. The problem can be classified as a Fleet Size and Mix Vehicle Routing Problem (FSMVRP). In addition to the regular constraints that apply to the regular FSMVRP, in our case also time windows apply to the cargo that needs to be transported (FSMVRPTW). The operation range of the vehicles is constrained by the battery capacity. We suggest modifications to existing formulations of the FSMVRPTW to make it suitable for the application on cases with electrical vehicles. We apply the model to create an optimal fleet configuration and the service routes. In our research case of the Cargohopper in Amsterdam, the performance of alternative fleet compositions is determined for a variety of scenarios, to assess their robustness. The main uncertainties addressed in the scenarios are the cargo composition, the operation range of the vehicles and their operation speed. Based on our research findings in Amsterdam we conclude that the current generation of electric vehicles as a part of urban consolidation concept have the ability to perform urban freight transport efficiently (19% reduction in vehicle kilometres) and meanwhile have the capability to improve air quality and reduce CO2-emissions by 90%, and reduce noise nuisance in the inner cities of our (future) towns.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Transport / Trasporti Europei
Issue number54
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • City Logistics Modeling
  • CO2 Emissions
  • Commercial electric vehicles
  • Logistical constraints
  • Urban consolidation concept
  • Urban deliveries
  • City logistics
  • CO2 emissions
  • Urban consolidation
  • Urban delivery
  • Air quality
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Fleet operations
  • Freight transportation
  • Logistics
  • Research
  • Electric vehicles


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