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Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.


Purpose of this paper: Alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) have received increasing attention from policy makers and industry practitioners because they are perceived as a silver bullet for decarbonising freight transport (Mohammed et al., 2020; ITF 2021). However, the uptake rate of AFVs by heavy goods vehicle (HGV) freight operators in Europe remains low. With 97.8% of all trucks in the EU running on diesel, only 0.04% of trucks are zero-emission vehicles (ACEA, 2021). Price, technology maturity, infrastructure, and government policy support are factors examined by freight transport operators who consider the switch to AFVs as a low-carbon option (Mohammed et al., 2020). Research studies have identified enablers and barriers for adopting AFVs. Practical guidance and tools for decision making from freight transport operators’ perspectives are still limited. This ongoing research study assesses the maturity of AF (Alternatively Fuelled) HGVs by exploring the experiences of innovators and early adopters of AF HGVs in Ireland. To achieve this aim, two research questions are answered: How mature is the adoption of AF HGVs, and what are the experiences of innovators and early adopters of AF HGVs in Ireland? Design/methodology/approach: Initially, a framework of determinants for deciding on the adoption of AF HGVs was developed from a review of recent literature. Furthermore, to assess the maturity of AF HGVs uptake by freight transport operators a maturity framework is proposed based on the technology adoption lifecycle and the capability maturity model. Qualitative data collection methods have been employed to interview innovators and early adopter operators of AF HGVs in Ireland. The developed frameworks informed the development of the interview guide and were used as a template of a-priori codes for the analysis of the empirical data. Findings: A conceptual maturity assessment framework, which is based on the technology adoption lifecycle, is proposed to enable HGV freight operators to assess their readiness and feasibility for uptake AF HGVs in their fleet. The maturity framework consists of 5+1 distinct phases of AF HGVs uptake, namely: avoid, aware, accept, adopt, apply, and assimilate. A list of empirically adapted determinants that guide the adoption decision and capture the experience of AF HGV operators is presented. Value: The determinants for AF HGVs uptake that were identified provide valuable insights for policy makers to develop interventions with effective measures to facilitate the uptake of cleaner fuels in the road haulage industry. Practical implications: Tools like the maturity model help logistics and transport managers to systematically evaluate the readiness and feasibility of their company to uptake AF HGVs. Research limitations/implications: This study considered AF HGVs as an alternative option in contrast to conventional fossil fuel vehicles, no specific types of AFVs were considered. Future research could further explore a specific type of AFVs. As this is an ongoing research the sample is very small. Keywords: Alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), freight transport, maturity assessment, decision making, green logistics, Ireland