The city of Amsterdam is encouraging uptake of electric freight vehicles (EFVs) through operational perks in busy urban areas.

A partner in the Frevue scheme (Freight Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe), Amsterdam has been trialling incentives to boost EFV usage in the city including the use of zero-emission deliveries in its own supply chain.

It has found some of the most effective actions have been operational incentives for freight companies using electric vans and trucks.

Since March 2015, 20 vehicles from seven logistics companies have been granted traffic regulation exemptions based on their own delivery patterns and geographic requirements.

These enable the operators to park in restricted zones, unload directly to the pavement, deliver during time-restricted periods and even enter certain pedestrian areas.

Operators of the EFVs involved in the trial have reported increased driver productivity as a result of the exemptions, including:

  • Shorter walking distance - this saved on average between 15 and 45 minutes per driver, per day.
  • More drops - operators were able to make an extra 4-5 drops per hour compared with diesel vehicles with no exemptions.
  • Loading - average unloading savings were around 4-5 minutes per stop, saving up to 30 minutes per day.
  • Driver stress - as drivers normally have to pay their own fines if unable to find parking, less anxiety from guaranteed parking spots increased productivity, as well as reducing conflict with other road users when seeking a place to stop.

The city's report said it was pleased with the outcome of the pilot and will work on broadening the scheme to the whole of the city.

It will also be considering feedback from operators involved in the trial as to how to further incentivise the use of EFVs.

These include a call to widen the current delivery time windows in Amsterdam, which are  strict and often only allow a one-hour period for deliveries to be made; use of tram lanes for EFVs to bypass congestion; stricter parking enforcement on other road users parking in loading bays; and a wider scope for traffic exemptions beyond the city centre.

Frevue has produced a free-to-download factsheet with full details of the incentives trialled in Amsterdam.

The Frevue project works with a number of European cities and logistics operators to provide eveidence on the viability of using electric freight vehicles for emission-free urban deliveries.