Today, 75% of all Europeans live in cities. Despite the steady increase of city dwellers, the quality of life in cities continues to be significantly reduced by air and noise pollution, as well as traffic jams. The transport sector in European cities plays a crucial role in this regard, as it currently causes approx. 50% of the emitted greenhouse gases and air pollutants and approx. 30% of vehicle miles travelled. One big reason for this is the considerable increase in last mile deliveries. Especially due to an expanding e-commerce, last mile deliveries have not only increased, but also fundamentally changed in nature: goods are increasingly ordered online and delivered to the customers’ private addresses rather than to businesses. In the same vain, the ways in which goods are shipped was considerably altered: shipments are now arranged more frequently and are faster than before, while goods are shipped in smaller volumes and amounts and sent to decentral destinations rather than central trading centers. These are in fact expensive and extensive developments that increasingly replace the classic transport chains ‘from factory to shopping center’.
Cargo pedelecs not only provide a veritable solution to the increasing toll last mile delivery has on the quality of life in European cities, but also provide an answer to the evolved requirements of last mile delivery. However, one important condition for a more frequent use of cargo pedelecs is their technical dependability and robustness. But modern batteries currently don’t provide sufficient energy and sometimes fail when used in low temperature environments, which limits the potential of this promising concept. In contrast, DLR’s emission-free fuel cell technology of provides significantly more energy and even works reliably at temperatures of at least -20°C. On top of that, the fuel cell technology can be refilled within seconds and is twice as durable as batteries at comparable costs. The fuel cell uses hydrogen as its energy source, which can be quasi-emission-free when produced with renewable energy.The INTERREG-funded FCCP-Project aims at exploiting the potential of the fuel cell technology for the requirements of today’s urban freight transport.
In order to achieve this goal the project is divided into three interrelated strands:
Technology development: This strand comprises the development of the DLR fuel cell technology, the hydrogen storage tank, and the cargo pedelec itself.
Tailored last mile logistics concept suitable for the characteristics of the fuecell cargo pedelec: Requirements of online retailers, freight forwarder and the capability of the cargo pedelec are considered for the development of the last mile logistics concept.
Intensive cooperation with pilot cities: In total, 35 fuel cell cargo pedelecs are going to be produced and tested during the project phase. Four to six pilots will be run by last mile parcel service providers in five different European countries of the North-West INTERREG region. Finally, this strand also comprises the development and implementation of concrete policy measures facilitating the cargo cycle use in city centers.
Within this larger project framework, the DLR-Institute of Transport Research is responsible for leading a part of the second strand, namely the work package ‘Development of a tailored Logistics Concept for Fuel Cell Cargo Pedelecs’. The main research questions in this work package include:
The project is funded by the European Union under the INTERREG North-West Europe Programme.
04/2018 to 04/2022