Electric vehicles are not all sexy next-generation roadsters or Chinese AI-linked car startups — the mundane backbone of the economy of logistics vehicles is also undergoing electrification. Tesla brought much rightful attention to its electric semi, but in China a large shift in medium- and short-range logistics vehicles is also happening.
Sustainable Road Freight Plans
Recently, 14 Chinese ministries released an action plan by the concise name of: Action Plan for Promoting the Healthy and Stable Development of Road Freight Transport Industry (2017–2020).
The plan is supposed to help companies gain easy access to “new energy” delivery vehicles, organise pilot projects, and promote electrification of urban freight vehicles. Vice Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Xin Guobin said that “China has started the stopping of sale of fossil fuelled trucks.”
This action plan is to ensure the industry takes this deadline seriously and takes the opportunity to develop the next generation of new energy vehicles. Many major enterprises have started to produce electric freight vehicles and local governments have started to reduce restrictions on rights to access for new energy vehicles, which allows them easy access to city centres and encourages freight companies to shift to electric freight vehicles. They include Shanghai, Tianjin, Wuhan.
On the 20th of December, the Ministry of Commerce released the: “Special Plan of Action for Effective Distribution of Urban and Rural Areas (2017-2020).” It included a goal to promote green transportation/EV development and use. Additionally, it supports the rollout of freight-related charging facilities.
Benchmarking Electric Logistics Vehicles
Efforts to test and benchmark electric logistics vehicles is an ongoing process in China. In September, the “2017 Shenzhen, China New Energy Vehicle (Logistics Vehicle)” event was held and 27 companies showed how their new energy logistics vehicles compared to each other in the testing environment. Many of the new energy vehicles were electric vehicles.
These events give us a glimpse into the emerging market, as these 27 companies are showing off just the start of this revolution.
Stay tuned next year for more in-depth looks at these logistics vehicles.