Rethinking the Last Mile

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As an increasing number of cities (London, Oslo, Madrid) are banning combustion vehicles from their downtown core, sustainable mobility companies are promoting alternatives to deliver merchandise to its final destination.

As part of the Movin’On Summit, alternative transportation experts presented various solutions aimed at improving air quality while helping relieve congestion in urban cores

Electricity for the masses

As part of the Movin’On Summit, alternative transportation experts presented various solutions aimed at improving air quality while helping relieve congestion in urban cores.

“The Internet shopping boom has created an influx of additional delivery services seven days a week, we need to manage that influx,” he added. “This requires designing vehicles that are better suited to the realities of major cities. It’s exciting, but it’s a logistical challenge.”

UPS Senior Director of Global Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, Crystal Lassiter, is well positioned to understand these challenges, as UPS delivers 5.2 billion parcels and documents yearly. UPS has made a commitment that by 2025, 25% of its energy will come from renewable sources and 40% of its fuel needs will also be supplied through renewable sources.

“We are fortunate to have a veritable mobile laboratory made up of over 10,000 hybrid and electric models. Every day, it helps us determine which option is best suited for each specific environment. In some cases, such as zero-emission areas, we even use electric bikes.”

UPS is also conducting research in partnership with vehicle manufacturers and Greenpeace for the development of new vehicles. In 2017, UPS pre-ordered 125 Tesla semi-trailer trucks for longer trips.

Switching City Cars

As most households usually have two vehicles, with one serving primarily for shorter distances, Wello is hoping to replace the short-run vehicle with its electric power-assisted tricycle–an option which could also suit small businesses.

Fully adaptable, the Wello is available in an 800-litre capacity carrier version. It has a range of 60 km, and its solar recharging system can extend it up to 100 km on sunny days. Its speed is limited to 25 km/h, and its width is under 85 cm, which allows it to ride on bike paths. Pricing is between 3,900 and 7,900 euros ($5,859 and $11,868 CAD). Assembled in a social reintegration factory on the French island of La Réunion, a tree is planted for each bike sale. The bike also features a software program that collects data and provides real-time CO2 reduction results, an attractive marketing asset, estimates Marion Hatton.

Rethinking consumption

Marianna Bleck, responsible for the development of new business opportunities at EDP’s Smart Mobility Direction, an energy supply company with operations in Portugal, Spain, and Brazil stated that charging infrastructures aren’t ready to cope with rising demand.

“If 100% of all vehicles became electric overnight, we would run out of power! This problem isn’t energy production. We need to rethink the way energy is consumed.”

She also believes that you can’t go around building thermal power plants and calling yourself green. By 2030, 90% of EDP’s production will be made up of renewable energy from clean sources.

Like Igor Stamnenkovic, Director of Global Strategy at Eaton, a company specializing in electrical and hydraulic systems, Bleck believes that smart grid technology will be the solution. This state-of-the-art technology will be required to modulate electricity use. For Stamnenkovic, the solution also lies in the development of applications that will need to be monetized to make these new business models economically viable.

For these new models to be fair for everyone, Adita Ramjiof, from Mahindra, believes that end-users need to be involved in the development of these greener transportation solutions. Afterward, partnerships will have to be established between developers and cities so that everyone has access to the charging infrastructure.

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