Electrification of Last-Mile Transport : A Study of Charging Infrastructure and Collaborative Business Model

University essay from KTH/Energiteknik

Abstract: Electrification of the transport sector is an important step in reducing the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Compared to traditional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs), electric vehicles (EVs) produce no tail-pipe emissions and could be coupled with responsible energy production from renewable energy sources to reduce coupled emissions of their operation. One particularly interesting segment of the transport sector is the light-duty trucks (LDTs) commonly utilized in last-mile distribution. These vehicles are responsible for the third largest GHG-emissions in the road transportation sector in Sweden and is not as detailly covered in existing research compared to heavy-duty and passenger vehicles. At the same time usage of these vehicles is increasing due to the rapid increase of e-commerce. The objective of this thesis therefore is to investigate the potential of electrification for LDTs in last-mile distribution, operating in Stockholm, Sweden. The study is conducted through a techno economical optimization along with a business model innovation coupled to the current last mile operation of three collaborating partner companies. In this way, real world cases are included in the study to reflect on the feasibility of electrification of these vehicles. Conclusions of the study shows that electrification of the LDTs in last-mile operation in Stockholm, Sweden is possible. However, it would require value-adding measures to gain economic profit when transitioning from ICEVs. In addition, there also exists practical challenges as there is a significant need for route charging for several vehicles in the analyzed company fleets. This implies that operational driving behavior is required to be reviewed to reduce the requirement of route charging. Additionally, there is a need for investigating how route charging could be supplied to the companies. 

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