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 has 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) is testing a set of innovative new vans which will be added to their existing fleet of fully electric vehicles. The trial vans' emissions performance will be tested against comparable diesel delivery vans using smart Fleet Carma telemetry technology.

Arup is providing data analysis and reporting throughout the project. 

The trial is 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 is 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 which have been 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 are they being charged?

The project has included the installation and testing of EO smart charge points at the depot where the vans are stored. This charging technology enables charging of the vehicles at the most suitable time of day (to minimise impact on the grid). The trial will help 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 do we measure performance?

The trial measures 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 results from year one of the trial

  • Although leasing costs are higher for EVs, overall total running costs for EVs are significantly lower than for diesel equivalent vehicles. A diesel Light Goods Vehicle (LGV) is 45 per cent or £0.43/km more expensive to operate than an electric LGV
  • 2017 ‘fuel’ (energy) costs for EVs were about 4p/km, whereas fuel costs for diesel were about 11p/km driven
  • Beyond operating benefits, the socio-environmental benefits associated with electric LGVs replacing diesel equivalents provide a 2p/km benefit to Greater London.
  • Replacing all diesel vans with electric vans in London could provide up to a £60 million benefit to the local environment, and a total cost reduction of £1.7 billion to LGV operators in one year (based on June 2017 to June 2018)
  • The larger trial EVs (avg. payload volume 10.5m3) outperformed the smaller original fleet vehicles (avg. payload volume of 3.8m³) in terms of energy efficiency and number of parcels delivered in one day 
  • An annual NOx saving 407.8 kg/year is projected as an impact from the trial where Euro 5 diesel vans are replaced by an electric vehicle

The next stage of the project (Year 2) will:

  • Compare large EVs and small EVs that are the same age and have the same route type to verify conclusions
  • Assess the forecasted increase in utilisation of the BD eDucato vans as part of the vehicle evaluation exercise  
  • Activate the use of smart charging on the sites to optimise the charging demand profiles and analyse how this will affect the local grid
  • Quantify the financial benefits of smart charging infrastructure 
  • Scale up grid impact study to model large scale EV take up across London


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