The city delivery market is steadily growing and the pandemic has given it additional momentum. This is especially true for the last mile delivery sector. Unfortunately, the climate suffers the consequences: in the last year, according to a report by the International Transport Forum (ITF), urban deliveries generated the most CO2 per tonne-kilometer after aviation. To make a change, a new transport model is needed – zero emission, shared and digitized. It is already a global trend, and in Poland this forward-looking vision of deliveries – Transport as a Service – has been developed and offered by EV Fleet. Its founder, Daniel Węgrzynek, is an engineer and enthusiast of modern technologies in transport.
What does the new transport model mean and why did you decide to deal with it?
For over 17 years I have been professionally involved in designing transport solutions based on delivery vehicles and trucks, supporting clients in their implementation and observing changes in transport globally. With the development of electric drives and digital fleet management solutions, new opportunities for logistics, especially urban logistics, have opened up. The climate crisis, combined with the dynamic development of this industry, also forces decisive action. In addition, the so-called last mile consumes even more than 50% of all delivery costs according to various estimates and the demand for transport is growing at a great pace. Meanwhile, retailers are investing in electric vehicles and applications, but everything is still based on the old system: one store (or chain of stores), one fleet. It is terribly ineffective, non-ecological and expensive. In order to really cut emissions, reduce noise and relieve cities while maintaining high efficiency, we need a definitive shift in the concept of transport. This is a great and exciting challenge based on very specific, already existing solutions, not futuristic fantasies. Together with my entire team of EV Fleet engineers and experts, we want – and we can – introduce this new transport model in Poland.
So what is the recipe?
Simply put, shared transport, based on digital solutions for vehicle management and a zero-emission fleet. On the one hand, it is a revolution that requires transformation and a completely new approach to transport, but on the other – despite the technological advancement – something very simple. Transport as a Service allows you to combine deliveries, so that the same number of cars deliver a larger number of goods on optimally configured routes. This lowers costs while relieving the environment. In addition, a well-developed model is fully scalable and repeatable for various and different-sized customers. In Poland, no one has yet offered a solution based on shared deliveries that could be reasonably implemented, but in the world it is already a very strong trend. For example, the City of New York recently launched a competition to develop an innovative, effective, efficient, and repeatable transportation system using any electric utility vehicle that will reduce pollution not only with zero-emission propulsion, but systemically modify traffic and be economically viable. Therefore, the awareness of the need for sustainable development of urban areas is growing, and more and more concepts in the smart city area are being developed. So I decided to create such a service in Poland, because today technological access is widespread. This is how the EV Fleet company was founded, with its own R&D department, which designs innovative solutions for transport and logistics. After three years of work, we managed to create a complete service model based on Transport as a Service (TaaS), which enables a completely new system of combined city deliveries, in the future also for quick-commerce, i.e. same-day express deliveries, even in 20 minutes.
Complete, which means?
Our concept, or actually a ready-made urban transport service based on Transport as a Service, is a combination of several elements. The first is digitization and process automation. This is what our own R&D department deals with, which designs and implements new solutions for transport management. For example, we already have our own system for identifying goods in the cargo space that can be used in any vehicle. We use the data that they supply today via the Internet of Things (IoT) to create intelligent supply chains. For this to work, a second element is needed – an own diversified emission-free fleet. At EV Fleet, it is made up of electric vans of “concern” brands and a vehicle designed by us: an electric platform. In addition, we are currently testing vehicles types – tricycle and scooter – in our fleet. The most important thing is that all these vehicles are in fact a driving API, combined with innovative bodies and digital loading systems that will create their own ecosystem, easy to integrate into the IT department of each client. Drivers will only be left to drive them. The third pillar of our model is the brain that manages it all – a special EV Fleet Cloud platform, an operating system that can work with any customer’s IT system, enables the installation of various applications and, above all, is in constant communication with the vehicles. In a word – manages the fleet and deliveries.
Okay, but at this point many skeptics of the electric drive will ask where the electricity for all these vehicles will come from?
This is an important topic, the charging infrastructure in both cities and customer facilities is still insufficient. In addition, in the case of a larger fleet, the demand for electricity is considerable, and our vehicles must be able to recharge during the day. That is why we design our own charging points, with fast chargers, car-ports equipped with highly efficient photovoltaic panels. Besides, with each client, we individually develop a functional model of using electric vehicles, also taking into account their own infrastructure.
Let’s go back to the fleet – why do you build your own vehicle in addition to corporate vehicles?
Modern shared transport needs to rely on a diversified, maximally flexible fleet. Each client has different needs, and we want to meet them as optimally as possible – for the benefit of the client’s pocket and the environment. Concern vehicles have different limitations. That is why we have our own Engineering Center at the Regional Development Agency in Mielec (MARR), where our designers design and implement of all necessary solutions. We already have a ready, rolling prototype of a universal electric platform, which we will use, among others to build our own electric vehicle. It will be a small city delivery truck, which should be put into trial production this year under the EV Fleet brand.
This is reminiscent of the beginnings of the automotive industry…
Indeed, we are guided by the spirit of the pre-war Polish CWS plant, founded by outstanding engineers, creators of the only Polish car. We feel like the successors of their creative and visionary approach to vehicle design. I would like to emphasize that today it is not only about cars, but about changing the way of thinking about their use in urban transport. This is what digital technologies and solutions as well as intelligent supply chains make possible – where the same number of vehicles deliver a much larger amount of goods from different suppliers. Only in this way can we realistically reduce traffic, and thus noise and CO2 emissions in cities. This may sound like science fiction and a distant future, but we are actually ready to implement it.
How do you want to combine the deliveries of different customers? After all, each of them has a different system of operation?
First of all – this is what digitization, connectivity and a diversified fleet make possible. By offering Transport as a Service, we remove all problems related to the delivery from the customer – from the selection of vehicles for a specific task, route optimization, through intelligent bodies, and ending with reusable cardboard boxes specially designed for us. Even the latter is important, because according to a study E-commerce in Europe in 2020, conducted by NEPA for PostNord, up to 32% of Poles are ready to pay more for a shipment that leaves a smaller carbon footprint.
Second – we don’t do it alone. As emphasized by analysts researching the latest trends in the last mile, the cooperation of various entities is crucial. Only in this way will we achieve lower emissions. Our SmartVan IoT based on eSprinter, a technology demonstrator, equipped with digital goods identification systems designed by us and a two-zone isothermal interior – is a perfect example of this. Without cooperation with partners, we would not have been able to build it and implement all these solutions in it. By following the global industry literature, I am convinced that the face of urban transport will not be changed by giants, but small, decision-making, creative and motivated entities that can cooperate, inspire and complement each other. This is a completely new vision and we are making it a reality now.
About the company EV Fleet Sp. z o.o..
EV Fleet Sp. z o.o. is a technology company whose goal is to create an enterprise operating on international markets, providing comprehensive solutions in the field of city logistics using transport based on alternative fuels and propulsions. Combining the extensive experience, business and technological knowledge of the team, the company creates new trends in city logistics and fleet management. The innovativeness written in the company’s DNA allows to introduce progress in the field of urban distribution with maximum respect for the natural environment, safety and energy savings in a market economy.