The distribution of urban goods is part of the daily transport work in the cities, but it also influences negatively on a variety of aspects and activities in the urban areas. Examples for that are the traffic congestions, the decrease in the availability of space on the roads, because of the loading and unloading operations of the freight vehicles and local pollution in form of smells and noises. The society expresses a desire for sustainable, convenient, effective and environmentally friendly solutions to minimise the negative effects of urban distribution. This has provoked public administrators to turn to the small sized electric vehicles for urban goods distribution.
The small sized electric vehicles have the following advantages when being compared to the conventional vans and trucks – they have lower tax and insurance, they are small, easy to park and are considered less intimidating, the small electric vehicles also produce less noise and conflicts with other road users without decreasing their safety. Tests performed by DHL show that the electric vehicles they have used for deliveries in an urban environment on average have a range of90 and 130 km and their payload is with 300 kg less than the one of the conventional vehicles. The charging of small sized electric vehicles fleets can be too demanding for the local energy infrastructures and supply. In spite of that they offer comfort to the driver by having cockpit display with range and battery capacity, driver behaviour, recuperation and outside display with vehicle charging, remaining time, charging failure. Despite the support from the administrators and the industry, there is still a challenge for the small sized electric vehicles and that is their acceptance by private stakeholders. However, the small sized electric vehicles have the potential to replace or to share the road with the vans and trucks in the city logistics.
The changes in the urban freight logistics will depend on the degree of adoption of the small sized electric vehicles - how much of the goods delivery operations they will share with the conventional vans and trucks. The small sized electric vehicles can be used for parcels with small weight and size, for short distances and specific types of business. Small consolidation centre should also be available, to perform the transhipment from larger ICE vehicles to smaller electric vans and trucks.
The positive effects from the small sized electric vehicles for urban good distribution will be long lasting, thus encouraging different stakeholders to invest time, efforts and resources into them.