13 Mar 24

Share of e-LCVs per delivery fleet falls below 10%, according to Geotab Analysis

Last-mile deliverers want to go electric, but due to the short supply and high prices of e-LCVs, their share in last-mile fleets has fallen from 17% in 2020 to just below 10% in 2023. That’s one standout result from Geotab’s analysis of end-of-year last-mile delivery patterns over the previous four years. 

It’s barely a month long, but the period between Black Friday (last year on 23 November) and Boxing Day (26 December) is nevertheless known as the ‘Golden Quarter’. That’s because it’s the biggest single earning period for retailers. And that also means it’s top season for the delivery and last-mile industry. 

Growing at 8.1% per year

Using insights from its 4.2 million subscriptions and from its collaboration with retail logistics companies, Geotab has put together a picture of how the Golden Quarter impacts their industry, with some actionable takeaways. 

Those takeaways are important, because the last-mile delivery sector is booming (CAGR of 8.1% between now and 2030), and that comes with some growing pains:

  • According to the World Economic Forum, emissions from delivery traffic in the world’s 100 largest cities will surge by 32% by 2030, while traffic congestion will increase by more than 21%.
  • According to analysts Mobility Foresights, last-mile delivery has a direct and major impact on operating margins, its associated costs accounting for up to 40% of overall package delivery costs. 

That’s why it’s essential for last-mile delivery specialists to leverage data to lower their cost, as well as their environmental footprint. With sustainable modes of transport (e-LCVs, cargo bikes, etc.) and digitally-supported delivery methods (such as real-time tracking and dynamic routing), deliveries can be safe, reliable and green, Geotab says, even in congested cities. 

More and shorter trips, more fuel and emissions

Collating and comparing data from Europe’s Big Five markets (Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK) and the Netherlands for the period from Black Friday to right after Christmas, Geotab finds that

  • LCVs make 11% more trips during Black Friday week, 9% more over Christmas, and 30% less in the week after Christmas, compared to their pre-Christmas peak. 
  • The distance per trip drops to low points during Black Friday week (-8%), and around Christmas week (-7%). This is due to increased demand leading to more stops.
  • Shorter distances also means more idling, which means more congestion and emissions. 
  • Shorter trips and more frequent stops also means more fuel consumption, which was up 5% both in Black Friday week and the Christmas week. Per vehicle, that’s an additional cost of €81 per week. 

Idling up by 25% in Netherlands

Looking at some results per country, Geotab sees that  

  • The number of trips by last-mile fleets generally increases by 10% compared to normal, apart from Italy, where the number of trips increases by 20% in Italy. In other words: the Italians really love their end-of-year shopping. 
  • The distance per trip decreases between both dates, except in Germany, where there is a spike in the week of 3 December. 
  • Idling is up by 10% in most countries, except in Italy, where there’s a slight drop; and the Netherlands, where there’s a 25% increase. 
  • Fuel consumption (and CO2 emissions) are up in all countries, except in the UK and France. After Christmas, however, fuel consumption drops everywhere, by as much as 40%. For the delivery industry, this is the holiday season… 

Share of e-LCVs in last-mile fleets is falling

Each year, more e-LCV makes and models are coming on the market. Recognizing their benefits in terms of both sustainability and cost, last-mile delivery companies are eager to get more electrics in their fleets. Yet the results are mixed.

  • The number of e-LCVs per customer has been climbing steadily over the past few years. 
  • Yet the share of e-LCVs per average last-mile fleet is dropping: from 17% in 2020 down to just 9% in 2022, with a slight bounce back to 9.75% in 2023. This relative decline is happening despite growth in overall e-LCV numbers. It’s just that the number of ICE vehicles is growing faster. 
  • Another indication of the same phenomenon: the share of e-LCV trips of total trips is dropping, from 15.8% in 2020 to 11.6% in 2023. This slowdown of e-LCV sales has many probable causes: the chip shortage, high upfront cost, lack of charging infrastructure, lack of government incentives, and so on. 

The situation is clear: supply and demand are out of whack. Last-mile fleets want more e-LCVs, but lack the right incentives, adequate infrastructure, low prices, and/or the actual vehicle supply.

Image: Mizuno K/pexels.com

Authored by: Frank Jacobs