Current logistics and transportation (L&T) systems include heterogeneous fleets consisting of common internal combustion engine vehicles as well as other types of vehicles using “green” technologies, e.g., plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs). However, the incorporation of EVs in L&T activities also raise some additional challenges from the strategic, planning, and operational perspectives. For instance, smart cities are required to provide recharge stations for electric-based vehicles, meaning that investment decisions need to be made about the number, location, and capacity of these stations. Similarly, the limited driving-range capabilities of EVs, which are restricted by the amount of electricity stored in their batteries, impose non-trivial additional constraints when designing efficient distribution routes. Accordingly, this paper identifies and reviews several open research challenges related to the introduction of EVs in L&T activities, including: (a) environmental-related issues; and (b) strategic, planning and operational issues associated with “standard” EVs and with hydrogen-based EVs. The paper also analyzes how the introduction of EVs in L&T systems generates new variants of the well-known Vehicle Routing Problem, one of the most studied optimization problems in the L&T field, and proposes the use of metaheuristics and simheuristics as the most efficient way to deal with these complex optimization problems.
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