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Electric trucks in the inner city

Blog

Electric trucks in the inner city

Ian Kerr

Logistics and delivery operators are adding electric trucks to their fleets to handle inner city deliveries.

DB Schenker and Toll Express Japan this week announced they are taking on FUSO eCanter trucks. Toll Express Japan’s new trucks are destined for operations in Tokyo, while DB Schenker’s vehicles will be deployed in Paris, Frankfurt and the Stuttgart region.

Electric vehicles are cleaner (at least in terms of emissions from the vehicle - if the electricity is sourced from coal-fired power stations then they’re not so green) and certainly quieter than their diesel counterparts.

DB Schenker’s four new trucks will be used for urban short-radius distribution in Paris, Frankfurt and the Stuttgart region. In France, the trucks will be making around four trips a day with 10 to 12 stops in the Paris region. DB Schenker has already been using an eCanter in Berlin since last year and is testing the use of the vehicles in mixed fleets.

And with city councils focusing more and more on vehicle emissions, in particular in city centres, it makes sense for delivery companies to take on electric trucks.

"We need to bring goods into inner cities in a more sustainable manner and irrespective of vehicle bans.” - Tristan Keusgen, head of European Fleet Management at DB Schenker

The cost of going electric

Are electric trucks a viable commercial proposition? Toll has acknowledged that the partnership with Daimler and the incentives on offer in Japan made the move to electric vehicles possible.

“Whilst electric vehicles can easily be integrated into our operations and handle freight effectively with positive feedback from our drivers, the main hurdle to date has been the economic case for them.” - Peter Stokes, President of Toll Group Operational Services

Congestion charging zones

Congestion zones are back in the news, with New York City the latest metropolis to introduce a fee for vehicles accessing the inner city. The NYC congestion zone is expected to come into force in 2021, but already delivery companies and suppliers are complaining about the increase in the cost of doing business.

(Although if the congestion zones succeed in reducing the number of vehicles on the road, then there’s a chance delivery companies will get fewer parking tickets…)

What does this have to do with electric trucks? Well… should electric trucks be exempt from congestion charges? Or only emission zone charges?

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