Urban transport: everything but emissions
Urban transport companies are also choosing electric mobility. The sector, which contributes notably to air pollution, could achieve zero emissions in a few years.
It is very likely that you will soon start to see an increasing number of small, futuristic cars in your city. This is not a sci-fi film: it is the electric delivery vehicle boom. Transport companies are joining this relentless trend and their fleets of vehicles already include zero-emission models.
Just a few years ago, the main excuse used by these companies for still using cars with internal combustion engines was the limited autonomy of electric vehicles for intensive delivery days. Today, most models available are more than capable of getting about urban areas freely and efficiently. For example, those of Comarth, a company specialising in small delivery vehicles with an autonomy of around 100 kilometres without recharging and offering striking designs, as mentioned above.
But they do not need to be striking: car manufacturers in general are already including plug-in electric vans that are discreet and completely silent and fume-free; they look very similar to petrol or diesel versions. Redyser was one of the first transport companies to choose this type of vehicle, when few others were doing so, back in 2012. Each year they provide their clients with a certificate with the CO2 emissions saved, thanks to this initiative and other measures.
“There are so many benefits to using zero-emission vehicles for transport, apart from protecting the environment and tackling air pollution in cities”, AEDIVE, the Spanish Business Association for the Boosting and Development of the Electric Vehicle Market, tells us, listing a few: “Economic reasons, saving money on parking costs and the time spent parked in areas with parking fees, since electric vehicles can be parked free of charge in numerous spaces in which a fee has to be paid for combustion engine vehicles, or areas in which the latter are simply not allowed to be parked. There are also savings on vehicle maintenance and repairs. And, of course, fuel; at the end of the day, what you spend on electricity is far lower that what you pay for diesel or petrol”. The spokespersons at AEDIVE also provided a few figures to consider: 50% of the diesel consumed in cities is for transporting goods and 25% of the CO2 emissions in urban environments is produced by the logistics sector.
Some leading food companies are already using electric vehicles. An example of this is the Consum chain of supermarkets, which has recently launched a new route plan in collaboration with the Instituto Tecnológico de la Energía (Energy Technology Institute, or ITE) using battery-powered vehicles for their refrigerated delivery service. The project is called Cool Routing and it is a platform that analyses the status of the goods, the vehicle and the road, and sends this information to workers in real-time. This enables the most efficient route to be established in real-time, so electric vehicles can be used. According to those responsible for the project, frozen or refrigerated products account for 10% of the supermarkets’ distribution and invoicing activity, therefore the environmental impact and costs savings will be significant.
Small businesses are also choosing electric vehicles. Renault has published a short interview on its website with the owner of a bakery that offers a home delivery service. Among other positive aspects, the owner points out that he is saving “around 130 euros per month per vehicle during the bread delivery service compared with using a petrol vehicle, in terms of consumption and maintenance”.
Transport companies have plenty of reasons to voluntarily change to electric vehicles. Very soon they will have no choice but to “take charge” of the situation if they want to stay in business: cities like Madrid will be establishing zero-emission areas in their city centres by 2020, closing them off to polluting vehicles. According to the UNO-Logistics and Transport Business Organisation, this means the sector will have to renew 40% of its fleet. Undoubtedly a huge task that will benefit everyone. Starting with the delivery companies themselves.