E-commerce urban food distribution with electric vehicles (E-DEL)

Circular Economy
E-commerce for food has increased sharply in recent years, especially during spring 2020 when it skyrocketed due to Corona. To ensure that these systems get a sustainable transport solution, the project “E-commerce distribution of food in cities with electric vehicles” (E-DEL) is developing a solution for conversion to electric operation in e-commerce distribution. The project involves Chalmers Industriteknik, Gordon Delivery, E-Tron AB, Coop, Castellum and the City of Stockholm and is financed by Triple F.
Great potential for the transformation of food transport

In order to reach a fossil-free Sweden in 2045, the freight transport system must be converted to a fossil-independent system where electrification has been identified as an important antidote.  As the e-commerce of food is considered to be only in its infancy, it is time to change the transport system to electric vehicles now to “do it right from the beginning” before the market grows even more. However, the conversion of food transport to electric vehicles faces more challenges than other freight transports as they must ensure an unbroken cold chain for the temperature-sensitive products.

Technology, infrastructure and logistics in the same system

In order to find solutions that can be quickly implemented, the project will focus on finding a solution that takes into account challenges and opportunities with the technology (then primarily the vehicle’s cooling devices and battery capacity), the infrastructure (in the form of transshipment and charging centers) and the logistics system (e.g., routes, number of stops, volumes, customer requirements) at the same time. When the project is finished, the ambition is to have a finished solution that can be tested in real distribution systems.

Research questions in the project
  • What good examples are there of the use of electric vehicles for e-commerce distribution of food in Sweden and internationally?
  • What barriers are there to the use of electric vehicles for e-commerce food distribution in cities at the moment?
  • How must today’s logistics system for e-commerce distribution of food be adapted/developed to be able to use electric vehicles? Aspects such as distance, storage, repackaging and deliveries will be taken into account.
  • What is required from an infrastructure perspective to make transshipment and charging centers available for electric vehicles?
  • Based on the design of the logistics system and the possibilities of the infrastructure, what kind of requirements does this place on a technical solution (primarily regarding battery and cooling)?
  • How should a system solution be designed that considers the logistics system, the technology and the infrastructure together?

More information about the project E-DEL can be downloaded here.

Project partners

Chalmers Industriteknik offers academic excellence in the areas of energy, materials, digitization, design and circular economy and makes tomorrow ready for the future.

Gordon Delivery offers market-leading solutions in logistics for the last mile and focuses on e-commerce distribution of food in several Swedish cities.

E-Tron AB is a specialist in the development and manufacture of electric vehicles and has been on the Nordic market since 1993.

Coop is one of Sweden’s largest players in the grocery trade and the e-commerce division is growing strongly.

Castellum is a property company that mainly owns commercial properties for offices, shops, warehouses and industry.

The city of Stockholm is Sweden’s largest municipality and has the ambition to be fossil-free by 2045.

Financiers

The project has received funding from the Triple F program, the Swedish Transport Administration’s research and innovation initiative with the aim of contributing to the Swedish freight transport system’s conversion to fossil-free.

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