Suitability of battery electric vehicles and opportunity charging for urban freight transport : an evaluation framework
Teoh, Tharsis Ghim Han
Date of Issue2018-10-11
Interdisciplinary Graduate School (IGS)
Electrification of urban freight transport is a key strategy in decarbonizing the transport sector. However, battery electric vehicles (BEV) for logistics purposes are still disadvantaged in comparison to diesel vehicles, due to their limited driving range, reduced payload capacity, and high purchase prices. Evaluation studies can play a role to inform decision makers and stakeholders about the advantages of BEVs and the best strategies to successfully promote the technology. Existing evaluation studies often reduce vehicle requirements to simple travel distances, which has severe consequences for the validity of their recommendations. Existing studies also do not incorporate a wider conceptual solution space of electric mobility, particularly, the use of opportunity charging. The evaluation framework proposed here deals with the gaps in existing studies, as well as proposes a novel method to evaluate electric mobility for urban freight transport in terms of operational, financial, and environmental suitability. The study uses a comparative case analysis on six case studies of different urban freight transport operations in Singapore. Using information gathered from interviews, a detailed vehicle activity model is developed. For each case, scenarios are built, which primarily show how distinct types of opportunity charging and charging technology can be integrated into the logistics operations. A BEV parametric model is used to adapt vehicle parameters (i.e. battery capacity and vehicle weight) to operational requirements based on the results of the vehicle activity model. Financial suitability is evaluated based on the lifecycle cost analysis of owning and using the electric fleet, while the environmental suitability is analysed based on the well-to-wheels carbon dioxide emissions. The results show a varying degree of suitability of BEVs for the different urban freight transport cases. They point to a complex set of factors that have profound influences especially on financial suitability. Opportunity charging strategies were found to be the best ways to improve both financial and environmental suitability. The sensitivity of the suitability indicators to the assumptions in the vehicle activity models shows the need for detailed and well-tested models to accurately evaluate the suitability of BEV to urban freight transport operations. It also shows the need for further research into designing systems and business models that support opportunity charging, since it was found to be the most influential factor in increasing the suitability of BEVs in the urban freight transport sector.
DRNTU::Engineering::Electrical and electronic engineering::Electric power