Innovative zero emission vehicles for urban services

Waste collection vehicles

Cities are the most populated areas where people live and are home to over 70 % of the EU population. However, in many urban areas, increasing demand for urban mobility has created a situation that generates severe congestion, poor air quality, noise emissions, and high levels of CO2 emissions. According to the World Health Organization, the air quality of 115 largest cities in the EU exceeds the quality guidelines values affecting citizens’ health. In this regard, transport represents almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and is the main cause of air pollution in cities. Congestion also affects the cities, achieving €100 billion per year in the European economy. One of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-11) is to have sustainable cities and communities, and many agreements have been established to reduce climate emissions by 2030 and for cities to become climate-neutral by 2050. This situation is not only caused by e-commerce and urban mobility, the daily services offered in a city with in-house vehicles also contribute to these externalities.  

Innovation plays a key role in reducing emissions through increased efficiency, optimised operation, transition to renewable energy, and Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) which are key factors in achieving a competitive and resource-efficient urban transport system. In this sense, ENTRANCE project provides several market analyses in zero- emission vehicles to advance and uptake the innovation reducing emissions and congestion. This article is focused on sustainable urban vehicles and two specific market analyses are highlighted focused on innovative urban services: zero-emission waste collection vehicles and urban aerial vehicles. 

Waste collection vehicles are part of this ecosystem of urban logistics taking part in the congestion, pollution, and the occupancy of public space in the cities. For these reasons, the market analysis led to the identification of 88 different models and solutions of sustainable waste collection vehicles provided by 64 different manufacturers divided between OEMs and retrofit solution providers. Focusing on availability in Europe, 75 different models have been identified, provided by 52 different manufacturers. Most of these are already on the market and delivered to customers, while 5 of the identified models will be early marketed. Out of the 75 identified vehicles, 27 are heavy-duty trucks (more than 20 tonnes) and around 50% of the models are above the 15.000 kg. The range capacities of battery or fuel cells identified models are between 100 and 500 kilometers, while also considering natural gas-powered vehicles it can extend up to 1300 kilometers. The analysis also provides information related to the battery range, operativity, charging time, and availability in the market among other characteristics of the vehicles identified. Several cities have started to implement these zero-emissions waste collection vehicles in their municipalities, involving initially one or two trucks in the daily operations to check the behaviour of these trucks during the operation. Some of the highlighted remarks are: 

  • the supply of battery electric heavy trucks is growing very fast, but still, there is a little shortage of trucks with “the right size” for waste collection in some markets, 
  • charging the collection waste truck at night and operating during the day is a proper way of operating using electric waste collection trucks, 
  • quick charging infrastructure for electric trucks might be necessary.   

 This analysis provides visibility to the electric collection waste vehicles available in the market, promoting the early uptake of these vehicles and increasing the use of sustainable vehicles in the cities for achieving climate-neutral cities in Europe. However, to reach this objective the supply of battery electric heavy trucks should be enhanced to meet the city’s needs and provide an effective and efficient climate-neutral waste collection in cities. 

Urban Air Mobility (UAM)

On the other side, focusing on aerial vehicles one question will come up: Is the air mobility market ready for deployment in urban areas? Urban Air Mobility (UAM) is under development, some EVTOL (Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) pilot activities have been performed and many drones are daily flying over our heads with many different purposes but, is there a new completely urban transport mode available? The recent European Drone Strategy 2.013 launched by the European Commission opened a new market of opportunities for urban air mobility. The European UAM market size is predicted to be 4.2 billion EUR by 2030, presenting a 31% global share14. Drones have a variety of different services that can support: surveillance and security (e.g., search and rescue of lost people), crop monitoring (e.g., pest control), fire control, infrastructure maintenance (e.g., electric networks, and bridges), journalism and audio-visual, they allow the access to isolated zones, but urban mobility can also serve to transport goods and even passengers. The Urban Air Mobility market analysis developed in the framework of the ENTRANCE project has analysed the status of the Urban Mobility Market focusing on two main areas: 

  1. Vehicles: Drones and innovative aircrafts for moving people and freights in urban environments 
  2. Infrastructures: Vertiports or drone pads allowing eVTOLs to take off and land in urban spaces. 

The study identifies and analyses the availability of aerial vehicles, landing infrastructures, and traffic management solutions for urban mobility, selecting the first-of-kind solutions available in the market and identifying their providers.   

The analysis led to the identification of 150 different models of vehicles, provided by 111 different manufacturers. 37% of the vehicles are designed for the transport of passengers, 50% are designed for freight and 13% can transport both passengers and freight. During the analysis it was also considered if the vehicles are piloted or automated, 39% of the EVTOL are piloted and 58% are autonomous, while 3% can be operated in both manners. Focusing on the availability (vehicles manufactured and/or marketed) in Europe, 111 different models have been identified, provided by 82 different manufacturers. The European countries leading the market of the eVTOL are Germany, England and France.  

Focusing on the infrastructure, vertiports are infrastructures under global development and the sector has well-defined the role that the companies can provide, the study differentiates between the focus of service provided (freight/passengers). In this sense the analysis led to the identification of 54 different solutions provided by 47 solutions providers, 61% is focused on EVTOL landing infrastructure (passengers), 28% are drone pads (goods), and 11% on infrastructures can be used for both. Focusing on the European market 41 different solutions, provided by 35 different companies have been identified. Of these, 13 provide vertiports design, 5 vertiports engineering & construction, 9 provide all life-cycle services in building vertiports, 3 planning software with digital twin to build vertiports, and 6 provide drone pads for cargo delivery in urban environments. But only the drone pads are close to “market ready”, all the other activities related to the vertiport development are “in progress”. 

Urban air mobility can reduce the congestion and pollution on the road cities by transferring some of the trips to sustainable air mobility. UAM is envisioned for both inter-city and intra-city travel and it will provide faster and more efficient trips using a few infrastructures, first implementation for the transport of goods can start while air taxis will leave a few more times. Now is the time for local authorities to react and prepare for the implementation of this new mobility. 

 To fulfill the reduction of emissions in cities and to achieve the established targets, the implementation of sustainable vehicles in the cities is needed, for this reason, giving visibility to the ZEV available in the market and the advances that have been achieved is a good way to raise awareness among the local authorities to start using them in the waste collection services and be aware of the coming future mobility with the aerial vehicles available. Climate neutrality should take place through a common understanding between local authorities, which oversee the policies and planning of the city, solution providers who will offer innovative solutions to jump into climate-neutral solutions, and end users who may adopt the technologies and manage ZEV with citizens’ satisfaction. These market analyses offer a joint vision on the vehicles available in the market in each mode to start implementing a common understanding between all the stakeholders.  

This article has been written and published by ENTRANCE partners.

Authors: Mireia Calvo and Antonio Invito.  


The market analysis reports developed by ENTRANCE can be found on ARRIVAL for free. Click here to download the market analysis.

To know more, contact us at secretariat@entrance-platform.eu