• Offline Mobility
  • Supply Chain
  • Transportation

Make Way for Electric Powered Delivery Fleets

Written by Elias Schoelmann
August 31, 2015

Shipping vehicles use electric motors to cut down on emissions and increase efficiency.

Shipping vehicles use electric motors to cut down on emissions and increase efficiency.

Conserving energy in the supply chain is not only good for the environment, but it can also improve profitability and your brand. By preserving resources, a company can create better public relations and doesn’t waste money on needless expenditures.

Some manufacturers and retailers turn to new technologies to create innovative supply chain logistics management shipping plans. The Guardian recently reported Google is testing solar-powered delivery drones in rural California. Other companies look to eco-friendly versions of more traditional shipping vehicles.

Many businesses have employed fleets of electric-powered delivery trucks. When utilized properly, the new vehicles save the company money and produce fewer greenhouse emissions.

Corporations Use Electric Delivery Fleets

Electric vehicles have a reputation for limited performance. While new technology consistently increases the distance and fueling capabilities of the new cars and trucks, critics hold onto old ideas. Electric delivery vehicles are not just used by small businesses with limited clients, major corporations distribute products throughout metropolitan areas using electric-powered trucks.

Food manufacturer Frito-Lay uses almost 200 electric delivery trucks across the country, according to Bloomberg Business. The company adopted the vehicles as part of its plan to halve its fuel use by 2020. Other corporations using electric delivery fleets include Federal Express, Coca-Cola, Ford and AT&T.

Bloomberg Business said companies are faster to embrace electric vehicles than the consumer market for a variety of reasons. Shipping paths follow consistent routes planned around charging stations. Electric motors are quieter and make less noise than diesel ones, so it is a better experience for the driver who spends all day in the cab. Finally, these vehicles cut down on carbon emissions. This means federal and state government incentives.

Electric vs. Diesel

Office supply retailer Staples uses electric delivery trucks in eight major cities across the U.S. Trucking Info said the company believes these types of vehicles are ideal for urban environments.

An experiment conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology found electric trucks cut down on emissions and are more energy-efficient and cost less to maintain than diesel trucks when utilized in the right way. Green Fleet Magazine published the results of the Georgia Tech study and explained the requirements for optimum electric delivery vehicle use.

Electric delivery trucks show the greatest return on investment when companies deploy them in urban areas. The vehicles should follow consistent routes and return to base each night for recharging. The trucks perform better in deliveries that call for a lot of start-and-stop driving to allow for regenerative braking. Diminishing loads, routes between 40-and 80-miles and low-speed operations are all best practices.

If employed correctly, Green Fleet Magazine said electric trucks can pay for themselves within five years. Electric vehicles call for a larger upfront investment than diesel options but tax breaks, reduced maintenance fees and efficient energy use can provide savings down the line.

Data Collection Reports Progress

When exploring the possibility of electric vehicle shipping, a company has to know if routes and employees are ready to accommodate new technology. Warehouse workers have to provide a data history indicating how orders are prepared for shipment and if they can be altered to facilitate new paths. Delivery drivers need tools to capture daily activities and report any progress made after implementing distribution changes.

Mobile data collection solutions provide employees with the equipment they need for constant reporting and visibility. If delivery workers start driving new vehicles, they can use mobile devices to indicate where they stop, how long they take and unseen route obstacles. Warehouse workers utilizing integrated software can pick orders based on electric delivery truck best practices.