ERTICO project NextETRUCK recently surveyed local and regional governments and public, private, and non-governmental organizations to collect insights into the integration of electric vehicles in urban logistics. The responses generated valuable findings about the current status and requirements, which the consortium will incorporate into the project’s use cases.

NextETRUCK is an EU-funded project on the topic of decarbonisation of urban and sub-urban logistics. To this end, the project partners are developing medium freight innovations focusing on user acceptance and widespread market adoption. The innovations will be tested across three real-life use cases in Istanbul, Barcelona, and Utrecht to assess the effectiveness in reaching at least 10% energy efficiency compared to conventional vehicles.

POLIS and ERTICO conducted a survey to understand cities’ engagement towards a more sustainable logistics model, exploring good practices, their level of adoption, and the main hurdles they encounter. The interviewees, from across Europe, include representatives from the three countries where the pilots are being developed. With the valuable findings, the project partners will tailor the trial sites to accomplish their mission.

The survey gathers a comprehensive overview of the initiatives on commercial freight vehicle circulation and parking, adopting zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) for freight, tendering processes for commercial freight charging, electric grid challenges and future steps.

Freight vehicle strategies for greener cities

Responses to the question on strategic measures regarding freight vehicles reveal a commitment to reduce air pollution by limiting the circulation and parking of commercial vehicles in Low Emissions Zones (LEZs) and/or Zero Emissions Zones (ZEZs). Such restrictions would not apply to electric trucks. The creation of urban logistics hubs is also increasingly popular. Charging and maintenance centres for EVs in these hubs would greatly incentivise their use and market uptake in favour of conventional vehicles. 


Increasing electric commercial freight uptake


Almost two thirds of the interviewed cities have already initiated the practices to incorporate zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) for commercial freight and suitable infrastructure, although this transition is mostly in its early stages. Considerable progress is still to be made to reach general uptake, and NextETRUCK aims to take a leading role in facilitating this advancement.


Need for an appropriate charging infrastructure

The establishment of electric vehicle charging stations is a common strategy adopted by numerous cities to enable the energy transition. In many cases, the development of charging infrastructure for commercial freight is part of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) and/or Climate Change Mitigation Plans. However, this presents potential risks to the electricity grid, such as congestion or overloading, affecting the supply of sufficient load or the charging speed for a growing fleet of e-trucks. Higher demand might also imply higher costs in places where the electricity price is based on demand. Fleet operators will need to establish efficient charging schedules to ensure efficiency.

Survey participants highlighted their limited understanding of crucial aspects like location planning for commercial freight stations, predictions for commercial freight demand, projections for grid constraints, and the availability of digital tools.

The results showcase a will to accelerate the transition towards a logistics model sustained by the uptake of electric vehicles. NextETRUCK will seek to address the challenges presented and take an active position in the shift towards sustainable and decarbonised urban logistics.