Wireless Charging in Micro-Fulfilment Centres for Last Mile Delivery

Government Policy aims for all new van sales to be zero emissions by 2040. This will require very rapid increases in uptake of EVs from the current base of 0.4% of van sales in 2018

Project Background  

EVs differ from their diesel counterparts in terms of range, fuelling infrastructure availability/flexibility and payload. We need a better understanding of the operational implications for the logistics sector. In future autonomous vehicles will need to be considered too, the removal of driver constraints is likely to change solutions to allocation and routing problems. 

Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) has the potential to mitigate fleet integration challenges by making charging sessions quicker to initiate and enabling them to be more easily controlled remotely, which could be helpful for opportunity charging. From a driver perspective avoiding the time required to handle plugs could provide user acceptance and timesaving benefits. 

The project brings together Logistics operations modelling expertise from Heriot-Watt University (HWU) and Low Carbon 

and Vehicle Technology, infrastructure and commercial knowledge from Flexible Power Systems. Other project partners include Edinburgh Council, Lear Corporation and Hitachi Vehicle Capital Solutions.  

Research Questions 

This project aims to demonstrate the benefits (and costs) of Wireless EV Charging via i) a hardware demonstration (~22kW) at high power on small vehicles where costs and benefits will be measured, ii) a manufacturing study to understand future capability and costs, iii)  analysis and simulation of logistics operations using data gathered from large scale operators to explore the impact of WEVC, iv) assessment of the impact on logistics networks of charging/logistic hubs (MFCs) enabled by WEVC, v) development of a scheduling tool to solve charging session conflicts at the hub and vi) site selection, design and planning (e.g. vendor selection and finance) for a full scale demonstration of the hub concept using WEVC at conclusion of the project. 


Agent based models (ABMs) allow consideration of a wide range of scenarios through the ability for entities within a simulation to take decisions based on the observed environment and current state. This approach allows researchers to simulate scenarios and trial interventions that would be too costly or risky to deploy as pilot demonstrations in the real world. 

Furthermore, agent-based models uniquely develop a detailed description of the whole system and allow the researchers to explore the possibility of unforeseen consequences due to agent decisions. 

Project Lead

Professor Philip Greening 

Co-investigators/ PhDs/ RAs


Innovate UK