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8 min read

Future-proofing city freight operations with Einride

8 min read

Future-proofing city freight operations with Einride

Restrictions on heavy-duty vehicles in cities are increasing around the world, but this doesn’t need to hinder businesses from operating efficiently – thanks to intelligently coordinated electric trucks. Discover how businesses can unlock resilient city freight operations by shipping with Einride.

Cities around the world are tightening regulations on conventional heavy-duty vehicles due to air and noise pollution. One way that businesses are able to comply with these regulations is by making the switch to intelligent electric freight operations. This is because electric trucks (such as Einride’s fleet of connected electric vehicles) produce no direct emissions and are significantly quieter than diesel trucks. 

By shipping with Einride, retailers can access the benefits of electric freight without needing to handle complexities such as charging, sourcing drivers, and coordinating routes and schedules. Nor is the business required to make costly infrastructure (CAPEX) investments, since Einride provides the vehicles, drivers, digital infrastructure and physical infrastructure. 

Retail and consumer brands – including Lidl Sweden, PepsiCo, Oatly and REWE – are making the switch to future-proof city freight operations, and they are doing so with Einride as their ecosystem partner. As a result, they are able to curb their transportation emissions by up to 95%. They are also making their operations more efficient through smarter coordination and greater flexibility when it comes to city operations.

Increasing demand for city freight

The need for freight transport continues to rise, especially in urban areas. It is affected by population growth – which is creating denser regions – as well as the evolving nature of e-commerce, which impacts the nature of urban deliveries.

The result of this – to put it in one word – is traffic. In New York City, for example, drivers travel at an average of just 12 miles per hour (19.3 km/h). This has prompted the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to initiate plans for charging a congestion fee for vehicles entering the busy commercial districts of Lower Manhattan during peak times. 

When it comes to freight transport, operators of heavy-duty vehicles suffer from increased road congestion while also contributing to the problem. For shippers, this hinders productivity due to longer journey times and less reliable planning. And the fact that the vast majority of trucks on the road are diesel vehicles means that cities experience deteriorating air quality and higher noise levels as a result of road congestion.

“Air pollution remains the largest environmental health risk in Europe.”

Many people are impacted by this. Cities in Europe account for only 4% of Europe’s land area, yet it’s home to 75% of its population. To reduce this impact, it’s important to note that diesel trucks bear more of the emissions burden than other vehicles. In New York City, heavy-duty diesel vehicles are responsible for about half of on-road tailpipe emissions, yet they represent only a fraction of total vehicle activity.

Adverse effects from noise, carbon and NOx emissions have prompted city regulators to introduce various bans or regulations pertaining to heavy-duty vehicles. These regulations range from emission standards to outright diesel bans. Examples include low-emission or zero-emission zones, noise limitations, and restrictions on vehicle weight and dimension.

Such restrictions mean that shippers are under pressure to transform their freight operations within cities in order to safeguard and strengthen business continuity. The retail and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries are more likely to be impacted in this regard since their last mile deliveries – the final leg when transporting goods to their destination – often happen within cities and dense urban areas.

Sunset landing LA CET Render

The world needs clean cities

Air and noise pollution has a huge impact on health and wellbeing. While pollution emissions have declined over the past two decades, the European Environment Agency says air pollution remains the largest environmental health risk in Europe. It estimates approximately 275 thousand premature deaths per year in Europe can be attributed to fine particulate matter, while 64 thousand can be linked to nitrogen dioxide (above the World Health Organization’s guideline levels). Without serious changes, urban delivery traffic could account for a 32% increase in CO2 emissions globally by 2030. On the other hand, the American Lung Organization says a US transition to zero-emission transportation by 2050 could save 110 thousand lives

Policymakers are moving in this direction, with restrictions on heavy vehicles starting to take effect and low-emission zones becoming more prominent. By 2025, the Clean Cities Campaign predicts that there will be 507 low-emission zones in place across Europe, partly due to new laws coming into effect in France, Spain and Poland.

In addition, zero-emission zones are also becoming more common. These are areas that will no longer permit the use of vehicles which operate using internal combustion engines. Small-scale zero-emission schemes already exist in parts of the UK, and the Clean Cities Campaign says 35 ZEZs are to be implemented by 2030 – many of which apply to delivery vehicles in the Netherlands.

Despite this, the Clean Cities Campaign calls for more urgent action: “Cities are at the forefront of the clean air struggle as many are pollution hotspots, with EU air quality limits being breached in more than 100 of them across the continent. [...] Given almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions from transport come from cities, it is imperative that urgent action is taken in cities.”

Increasing pressure on FMCG and retail industries

Not only must businesses be vigilant about the ramp-up of diesel bans and other regulations, but there is also pressure from consumers. For example, many businesses in the retail industry are recognizing that customers want or expect to have sustainable delivery options. And in the FMCG sector, more customers are wanting to know whether the businesses they are purchasing from are exercising sustainable business practices. Freight transportation is often a key consideration, and this presents an opportunity for businesses that are early in making the switch as they can demonstrate their commitment to action.

“By 2025, there will be 507 low-emission zones in place across Europe.”

By transitioning from operations based on diesel trucks to operations based on electric trucks, businesses can comply with ESG regulations while making their supply chains more eco-friendly – thus living up to consumer expectations. At the same time, society benefits from reduced CO2e emissions, improved air quality, and less noise pollution in cities and urban areas.

Electrification with high utilization of assets is key

For businesses wanting to electrify their freight operations, it wouldn’t be practical to simply replace diesel trucks with electric trucks 1-to-1. Doing so is not a cost-effective way to electrify, nor does it accelerate electrification.

The key is to ensure assets are highly utilized so as to enable the most cost-efficient operations. One key aspect to this is having access to the right infrastructure – including vehicles and chargers – at the right time. And it’s not just about physical infrastructure. Another aspect is the digital infrastructure that orchestrates the various components. Businesses that ship with Einride benefit from the intelligence of the freight mobility platform Einride Saga which has been built to take all of the necessary data points into account. It coordinates all facets of the shipping ecosystem, including route planning, charging schedules, and driver instructions. In other words, it helps maximize the utilization of physical infrastructure (less downtime) so as to bring down costs.

Learn more about how to ensure high asset utilization in our Einride Webinar →

Einride truck in city at night

Unlocking flexibility through night-time delivery 

In addition to infrastructure considerations, another way to further maximize the utilization of assets – and thus reduce the total cost of operations – is by having the flexibility to operate vehicles around the clock. Executing freight shipments throughout the night can yield higher efficiency due to significantly reduced levels of traffic. Journey times are quicker, enabling more deliveries per driver shift. Additionally, shifting from congested to free-flow conditions can halve heavy-duty truck emissions.

These benefits are why the “quietness” of Einride’s electric trucks – being well below the threshold of noise level restrictions – can bring additional value for businesses that need to move goods within cities. By shipping with Einride, businesses can unlock the benefits of “whisper logistics”, avoiding the congestion of peak hours and improving operational efficiency all around. Residents of cities and urban areas also benefit from businesses moving towards night-time electric shipping, as the streets have less traffic during the day as well as less air and noise pollution in general.

Less impact from traffic congestion means that night delivery is also more reliable, enabling shippers to boost their on-time, in-full delivery. Drivers may also find these working conditions to be more favorable due to smoother driving as well as easier loading and unloading. Another potential benefit for retailers, such as Lidl Sweden and REWE in Germany, is that grocery products can be shipped overnight, providing consumers with even fresher produce.

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Make the switch with Einride

Shipping with Einride is not just about complying with city regulations. It’s about unlocking resilient and cost-effective freight operations. Our “one-stop” turnkey solution leverages our extensive experience operating electric freight in Europe and the US, including one of the world’s largest fleets of electric trucks.

“By shipping with Einride, businesses can unlock the benefits of whisper logistics.”

The service is provided as a subscription, based on transparent monthly payments and service-level agreements, which includes capacity as a service. Einride takes care of all the necessary digital and physical infrastructure components – meaning the shipper doesn’t incur costly upfront investments, even if they work with Einride to transform their operations over an extended period of time. 

Benefits include:

  • Compliance: Our electric trucks that are ESG-compliant for urban deliveries; ship to inner-city stores or facilities, even if diesel bans are in place

  • Reliability: Einride’s service-level agreements guarantee on-time deliveries

  • Flexibility: Vehicles are suited for night-time delivery (“whisper logistics”); night-time store restocking helps maximize delivery windows and reduce disruptions

  • Freshness: Dry and cooled transportation options, including fully-electric refrigerated trailers, to preserve the quality and freshness of produce

  • Expertise: Specialized experience in grocery handling

  • Experience: Einride operates one of the largest fleets of electric trucks in the world, with over three years of operational experience; this includes working with major retailers and executing complex daily milk runs between logistics hubs and warehouses to retail stores

With Einride as their ecosystem partner, businesses – including those in retail and FMCG – can electrify their freight operations in a way that most impactfully curbs emissions while increasing efficiency and saving costs.


Thinking of making the switch? Reach out to us here and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly. If you would like to learn more about shipping with Einride, refer to our 6 steps to intelligent electric freight.

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