Electric delivery vehicle trial

Part of the Mayor of London’s plans to cut air pollution is to work with freight companies to reduce the number of lorries on London’s roads. Commercial freight vehicles represent 30 per cent of all traffic in central London and make an estimated 281,000 journeys per day.

To address this, the Mayor teamed up with Gnewt on a project to test the performance of electric delivery vans in central London without adversely contributing to the air pollution problem. Gnewt is an established electric delivery specialist operating last mile deliveries. This two and a half year trial (finishing at the end of December 2019) tested a set of innovative new vans which will be added to their existing fleet of fully electric vehicles. The trial vans' emissions performance was tested against comparable diesel delivery vans using smart Fleet Carma telemetry technology.

Arup provided data analysis and reporting throughout the project. 

The trial was part of the Low Emission Freight and Logistics trial funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with Innovate UK.

The trial was also supported by LoCITY, a programme led by TfL that brings together freight operators, vehicle manufacturers, fuel providers and the public sector to stimulate the uptake in low emission commercial vehicles. 

About the vans

These are state-of-art vehicles, comprising of the Voltia (Nissan) and BD Auto e-Ducato were specially designed for this project. They are larger than most light goods vehicles and have an expanded capacity meaning fewer vehicles are required for deliveries, causing less congestion on London’s roads.

Gnewt Cargo Commercial Electric Vehicle Trial – supported by Mayor of London

How were they charged?

The project included the installation and testing of EO smart charge points at the depot where the vans are stored. This charging technology enabled charging of the vehicles at the most suitable time of day (to minimise impact on the grid). The trial has helped both Gnewt and the Mayor understand the additional demand on the grid created by electric vehicles and assess the potential for reverse vehicle to grid charging.

How did we measure performance?

The trial measured both comparable diesel vans as well as these new electric vehicles all of which will be fitted with SMART Fleet Carma telemetry hardware which can remotely monitor environmental emissions performance, electric vehicle range, electrical energy consumed and more. 

Data and reporting from the trial is available on our Datastore.

Key findings from the trial

  • The trial electric vans, with their larger payload volumes, delivered on average 30 per cent more parcels per week compared to the smaller vehicles – helping to reduce congestion by making fewer trips 
  • The overall electricity cost for charging up the trial vans was 75 per cent less than the fuel costs to run their diesel equivalents (2019 costs)
  • Socio-environmental benefits associated with electric vans replacing diesel equivalents (including cutting greenhouse gas emissions) equate to an estimated 1.8p to 2.6p benefit, per km driven, to Greater London
  • The trial Voltia and Vic-Young electric vans used five times less energy per km than their diesel equivalents. 
  • Smart charging has reduced the grid connection size (kVA capacity) needed to accommodate the trial Gnewt Cargo fleet by over 100 per cent and the use of smart charging reduces the grid and operational charges associated with the trial electric van fleet
  • Total emissions savings for the completed trial (trial vans only) between November 2017 and end September 2019 are as follows:
    • PM10 – 1,136.8g
    • NOx – 481.3 kg 
    • CO2 – 77.9 t (the equivalent to 142 return trips by road using a diesel Nissan NV200 van from Lands End to John O’Groats)  

Read the full report on the Datastore.

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