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Assessing the cost-optimal mileage of medium-duty electric vehicles with a numeric simulation approach

: Taefi, Tessa T.; Stütz, Sebastian; Fink, Andreas


Transportation research. Part D, Transport and environment 56 (2017), S.271-285
ISSN: 1361-9209
Fraunhofer IML ()
electric vehicle; urban freight transport demand; total cost of ownership; energy consumption; real-world

Electric freight vehicles have the potential to mitigate local urban road freight transport emissions, but their numbers are still insignificant. Logistics companies often consider electric vehicles as too costly compared to vehicles powered by combustion engines. Research within the body of the current literature suggests that increasing the driven mileage can enhance the competitiveness of electric freight vehicles. In this paper we develop a numeric simulation approach to analyze the cost-optimal balance between a high utilization of medium-duty electric vehicles – which often have low operational costs – and the common requirement that their batteries will need expensive replacements. Our work relies on empirical findings of the real-world energy consumption from a large German field test with medium-duty electric vehicles. Our results suggest that increasing the range to the technical maximum by intermediate (quick) charging and multi-shift usage is not the most cost-efficient strategy in every case. A low daily mileage is more cost-efficient at high energy prices or consumptions, relative to diesel prices or consumptions, or if the battery is not safeguarded by a long warranty. In practical applications our model may help companies to choose the most suitable electric vehicle for the application purpose or the optimal trip length from a given set of options. For policymakers, our analysis provides insights on the relevant parameters that may either reduce the cost gap at lower daily mileages, or increase the utilization of medium-duty electric vehicles, in order to abate the negative impact of urban road freight transport on the environment.