A blog focused on sustainable business issues and challenges

MIT Study: Electric-Powered Trucks Save Money for Businesses

March 07, 2012 | Comment (1)

New research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shows that electric vehicles are not just environmentally friendly; they also have the potential to improve the bottom line for many kinds of businesses.

Granted, the up-front costs of electric vehicles can be significant. A company looking to purchase an electric-powered delivery truck today will likely have to shell out nearly $150,000 –compared to about $50,000 for the same kind of truck with a standard internal-combustion engine.

But, the researchers at MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL) found that electric vehicles used to make deliveries on an everyday basis in big cities can cost 9 to 12 percent less to operate than trucks powered by diesel engines. What’s more, as battery costs continue to drop, the business case for electric vehicles will only get better, according to Jarrod Goentzel, director of the Renewable Energy Delivery Project at CTL and one of four co-authors of the new study.

The CTL study was conducted using data collected by the international office supplier Staples, as well as ISO New England, the nonprofit firm that runs New England’s electric power grid.

Using that data, the researchers modeled the costs for a fleet of 250 delivery trucks, and they examined alternate scenarios in which the whole fleet used one of three kinds of motors: purely electric engines, hybrid gas-electric engines and conventional diesel engines.

The researchers analyzed outcomes if the trucks in the fleet were driven 70 miles a day for 253 work days per year, with diesel gasoline costing $4 per gallon. They found that: (more…)

New 2025 CAFE Standards Present Innovation Challenges to Automotive Industry

August 08, 2011 | No Comments →

Meeting new 2025 CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards will require significant materials innovation, according to a recent survey conducted by WardsAuto and DuPont Automotive in late July.

The survey polled more than 1,000 subscribers to the industry publication WardsAuto and was conducted just before the Obama administration’s originally proposed 2025 fleet average of 56.2 mpg (4.1 L/100 km) was negotiated to 54.5 mpg (4.3 L/100 km).

Among the key findings: (more…)

Survey: Distribution Industry Doesn’t Take Sustainability Seriously

February 03, 2010 | No Comments →

A new study by Keystone Distribution Europe found that foodservice operators and suppliers believe that the distribution industry is failing to take the sustainability agenda seriously.

According to results reported by logisticsmanager.com, 46 percent of suppliers and 36 percent of operators who participated in the study thought that many companies do not take the issue of sustainability seriously. Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of foodservice operators believe that the industry must take responsibility.

The study, “Chain Reactions,” also looked at barriers to implementing sustainability practices and found that: (more…)

Supply Chain Re-Design Can Cut Costs, Lower Risk, and Help You Meet Sustainability Goals

May 11, 2009 | Comment (1)

A year ago, when transportation costs were at record highs, logistics managers everywhere were re-designing supply chain operations to reduce their transportation expenditures. But, now that energy prices have retreated, are supply chain re-designs still a top priority? Over the past year, did companies realize that by improving the efficiency of their logistics operations, they could not only lower transportation costs, but reduce their carbon footprint –and overall supply chain risks –as well? 

According to a recent reader survey conducted by Logistics Management, the answers to those questions vary, depending mostly on the size of the company you ask.  


How Will Proposed Changes in GHG Emission Guidelines Affect Your Supply Chain?

April 06, 2009 | No Comments →

News about potential future guidelines to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has all of us wondering how supply chain operations will be changing in the not-too-distant future.

First, the EPA made headlines with its proposed declaration that greenhouses gases represent a health danger. Then, last week U.S. Representatives Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) introduced the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, which if passed, would have a significant impact on basic supply chain, transportation, and logistics practices.

If you’re starting to think about how your supply chain is going to respond to new legislation like this (and I hope you are), take a minute to check out Logistics Management for Jeff Berman’s latest article, “Green Logistics: Proposed Changes in Emissions Reduction Could Have Lasting Effect on Supply Chain Operations.”