ASSURED workshop on the deployment of e-trucks in urban areas
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The ASSURED project (www.assured-project.eu) aims at boosting the electrification of urban commercial vehicles and their integration with high power fast charging infrastructure. ASSURED will test electric buses, waste collection and delivery trucks as well as one light commercial delivery vehicle with innovative fast charging solutions. The goal is to showcase the interoperability between different brands of vehicles and charging solutions, providing more flexibility to the public transport and freight providers in their daily operations.
The workshop took place in Bilbao on 27 September 2019 and aimed at discussing a business case for ultra-fast charging infrastructure that is used by both public transport and logistics vehicles. We looked at both the challenges for implementation (e.g. payment and reservation) as well as the advantages of this solution (e.g. better use of limited space, shared investment costs between operators, etc.). Also, regulatory aspects were taken into consideration (e.g. selling electricity to 3rd parties).
Wrap-up and next steps
From the various presentations and the site visits it emerged that, in addition to the availability and cost of trucks, which however seems to be constantly improving, the main problem for logistics operators is represented by the risks linked to the electricity supply as well the charging infrastructure. The stability of the grid is for example a concern that is raised continuously.
Depots (for trucks) and homes (for vans) require major charging infrastructure investments for logistics operations. Moreover, public chargers for opportunity charging are required, especially outside the city centers, to avoid inefficient returns to the depots’ chargers and to facilitate seamless delivery trips. For public urban charging spots, municipalities should take the lead and have policies and standards in place to develop shared charging infrastructure hubs that can be used by various electric (heavy-duty) vehicles, such as buses, utility vehicles, delivery trucks, vans, taxis, etc.
This has the benefit of reducing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for operators as well as a reduced range anxiety for operators of fleets with need for opportunity charging. For a full deployment of the charging infrastructure for logistics, there is a strong need for interoperability and standardization, and initially, public support is needed.
It is necessary to devise a shared charging infrastructure strategy harmonized with neighboring municipalities on a regional level to address transport needs in the entire functional urban area (FUA).
In the workshop it became clear that planning for e-mobility will have a significant impact and strongly dependent on land use planning. For this reason, local authorities often refrain from granting land for charging stations in the metropolitan areas. However, there are several public-private areas within the urban fabric that are dedicated to specific functions, such as ports, logistics poles, bus depots. Within these areas, charging infrastructure could also be opened up to other professional sectors, thus increasing the business case for ultra-fast charging infrastructure. The case of Munich and Allego are examples to be further explored (see summary of presentations 7 and 8 below).
It is important to segment the charging needs per sector (e.g. retail food and non-food, building sector, postal services and service logistics). For some of these, in addition to identifying the most appropriate charging models, it is also possible to rethink the use of vehicles.
For example, for those who need a vehicle for sporadic operations, the city of Paris has launched a van sharing service. Given the scarcity of public space, the city is also investigating the possibility of dedicating a bus depot with e-chargers to daytime logistics operations, since buses are recharged during the night and the depot is empty during the day.
Overall, the participants agreed that sharing charging infrastructure and deploying interoperable ultra-fast charging for various electric vehicles, such as e-buses, e-trucks and e-utility vehicles does not depend mainly on technical limitations. Rather, this topic requires coordination between very different stakeholders and currently is limited by business and operations-related issues.
In this regard, ASSURED is developing a business model for ultra-fast charging infrastructure used by various sectors and different heavy-duty vehicles, where on-route charging is involved. Aspects that need to be considered are:
- What level of e-vehicle take-up is needed and, in accordance, when can this become an interesting business model (2020, 2025, 2030)?
- What are differences for shared charging infrastructure in terms of locations and charging approaches (public opportunity charging vs. shared charging at depots/ in private areas)?
- What sectors actually have a need for using shared charging infrastructure, e.g. depending on driving ranges and route profiles)?
This workshop has provided very useful but preliminary insights on this topic, taking into consideration the requirements of public authorities, freight operators, OEMs as well as charging solutions suppliers. Starting from here, ASSURED partners (Rupprecht Consult, RINA) will develop detailed business models for ultra-fast charging infrastructure that can be used by both public transport and freight vehicles. Results will be presented and discussed at the next meeting of the ASSURED Urban Freight User Group.