Using Electric Vehicles in Last Mile Logistics Solutions

Ron Dombrowski December 16, 2019

Are you considering using electric powered vehicles to deliver products or services?

Have you considered this in the past and have been hesitant to do this?

Electric Trucks

The first thing to consider is that electric vehicles are not for everyone. If you have routes that go beyond the range of electric vehicles or if you are moving goods that are large enough to require a large capacity vehicle, maybe the current gas or diesel vehicles will be your choice.

But also consider this. The range of most new electric vehicle is now more than is required for an average delivery route. Since we all know that there is nothing really like this hypothetical "average" route, there are two important numbers to consider: what is the average number of miles driven in your daily routes, and what is the range of the vehicles that you are considering?

Note that the "average" route distance is only a starting point. With proper planning, only the routes that can be completed with the electric vehicles range should be assigned to electric vehicles.

Another issue has been maintenance. If you have a fleet large enough to need inhouse technicians, you will need to train them on the components that can be very different in the new electric vehicles compared to the legacy gas and diesel vehicles.

Is it worth adding electric vehicles to your fleet? Overall, electric vehicles have a higher initial cost, but have lower operating costs after that. Since everyone’s costs vary, this is just another variable to consider.

In the end, if you can operate electric vehicles on at least some of your routes, and the savings over the life of the vehicle are enough, then take a deeper look into electric vehicles.

Is it worth starting to look now? As of today, you probably won’t find anything that can move a heavy load for any significant distance. But batteries are getting better and better. Wabtec, a rail supplier, has announced that they will deliver a fully electric locomotive in late 2020. When electric motors can power a train, the technology for large trucks should not be far behind.

But, for now, what about the matching of routes to a vehicle that has a limited range? Check out Strategic Movements. A specific vehicle can be assigned to each trip, and you can set a maximum range for each vehicle. With this check during the AI assignment process, you can be assured that routes assigned to electric vehicles will always be scheduled to complete within that vehicle’s range.

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