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USPS & Amazon Accelerate Electric Delivery Van Roll-out
USPS & AMAZON Accelerate Electric Delivery Van Roll-out
If you thought last week was good news for the electrification of delivery fleets, then this week's news is great. Let's start with the big (government) kahuna of delivery - the Postal Service - which just placed an order for tens of thousands of electric delivery trucks, as it creates its fleet of the future. You may recall a few months back that the USPS disappointed stakeholders by revealing that it's 50,000 truck order from Oshkosh Defense was going to only be 10% electrified. The agency is now reporting that at least half of those Oshkosh trucks will be EVs, augmented by "as many BEVs as are commercially available" from the 34,500 being provided by other manufacturers. The postal service is citing "refinements" as the source of this impressive delta, but we think you can safely chalk this one up to the power of activists making a lot of noise... pressure campaigns work!
Not to be outdone, Amazon had its own big EV news, as it looks to stay competitive with not just the mail carrier, but a humble competitor named Walmart (you'll recall their Canoo news from last week.) The "everything store" announced its first Rivian vans had finally hit the road, sending the latter company's stock soaring. Expect to see thousands of these carriers cruising by year's end, with a whopping 100,000 available nationwide by 2030.
Both the Amazon and USPS numbers dwarf last week's announcements, but they also point to a larger trend... This week saw a report claiming that electric cars had reached the "tipping point" where their market share will only grow larger and larger. It doesn't seem like electric vans have hit this inflection point quite yet, but the scale of these orders show how quickly the fleet market can change. Add on top the fact that most fleet purchases are driven by cold hard economics (and not, say, how "cool" a gas guzzling car might look to a consumer) and it's safe to say that once more operators realize the fuel and maintenance savings they can get form an electrified fleet... it's game over for gas powered delivery vehicles.
Oh and last but not least, if all this news has you curious about how these EVs are made - check out this Wired video from the Nuro factory - those autonomous delivery vehicles are flying down the assembly line!
HOT INDUSTRY NEWS & GOSSIP
A case study in what not to do... New York City drivers might be infamous for bad behavior, but this FreshDirect truck driver takes the cake! The grocery delivery company has been seen blocking traffic for days on end, effectively running a "street warehouse" out of its 60 foot box van. We know regulatory arbitrage is all the rage, but this ain't it!
Why don't more cities manage their curbs? Promising new results out of Pittsburgh show the upsides of a well-managed curb... not only is the City of Bridges raking in new revenue, its citizens are now much safer on its streets.
Big news from food world: Travis Kalanick's CloudKitchens bucks the cooling market and goes on a hiring spree. We hope they're treated better than these delivery workers in China, who are forced to work through an unprecedented heat wave (get used to hearing that sentence more and more...) Speaking of workers and food, San Francisco looks to be killing its fee cap on food delivery services. Apropos of nothing, Colombo's crab slangers show how to beat the big guys in Sri Lanka. And last but not least, delivery order volume growth looks to be cooling off.
Restaurants and real estate: Local restaurants and retailers can be complicit in the gentrification of neighborhoods, as seen by the unstoppable rise of Tartine. Meanwhile, other local businesses are still struggling to adapt to pandemic-driven changes to the market and consumer preferences. Nobody said running a small business was easy!
Congestion is back, baby! New data shows that by the end of last year, traffic had already eclipsed pre-pandemic levels. Whether you're in a small town or big city, this looks like all the more evidence that prioritizing cars is a losing battle...
So the only viable alternative is public transit... But America won't get there if we can't get our construction costs under control. A new report shows how Italy and Turkey bent the cost curve to build more and more metros. Maybe it's time our good governance experts head out to Southern Europe with their eyes open and their mouths shut?
Out with the old: Instacart tosses away its $39 billion valuation and settles for a mere $14.7 billion, as a cooling market dampens its IPO plans. Meanwhile, Hyundai offloads its micromobility arm. OEMs sure love pretending to care about "new mobility" and then changing their minds 12 months later... And in the grimmest of news, Pakistan's top startup (doing instant delivery, naturally) closes its doors.
We told you so! Last week we noted that bicycle advocates were decrying that LA's lovely new sixth street bridge lacked adequate bike lane protections. Looks like they were right, as street racers have already plowed down the plastic pylons meant to "protect" folks riding on the side of the structure. Fortunately nobody was injured... let's get this right before things turn out worse next time.
Two podcast recommendations and some more links... Listen in to what happens when political extremists take over small town politics. And on a cheerier note, hear how pod-sized EVs could be the key to urban delivery. Elon's Boring Co backs out of deal to tunnel in SoCal, in the latest sign that Mr. Musk has gone full fraudster. Meanwhile, rising temperatures are making it too hot to take transit in London. Take a look at an American bike factory. Delivery robots don their best cosplay outfits, head to ComicCon. And a question we've all been wondering... what went wrong with instant delivery?
P.S. Don't forget to join your Curbivore friends at our next Happy Hour, August 1st in San Francisco!