Even if we ban cars, we're still going to have to deliver stuff.
It seems that every time I write something about the advance of electric cars, Lloyd will write a much better post about how cities should really go car-free.
He's not wrong. Cities around the world are making great strides in livability, atmosphere, and yes—economic success—by banning, or at least relegating, the role that cars play in their downtown environments.Still, even if we end up making car ownership obsolete in cities, and even if bike and trike deliveries become the mode-of-choice for last-mile delivery needs, we're still going to need to get stuff into our dense, livable urban centers, and not all of it will be possible by rail.
That's why it was exciting to see reported over at Cleantechnica that for European electric car sales in October, the 11th most popular vehicle was actually DHL's small, 100% electric delivery van, the StreetScooter. With 910 units sold in October alone, and 3,633 sold year-to-date, it really does sound like the market for small, fully electric delivery vehicles is picking up pace in Europe. (These numbers are particularly impressive given that the StreetScooter is currently only sold in Germany and Norway!)
While shopping local can do a lot for downtown retail vibrancy, it's fair to say that a growing number of us are buying online. And if it's a choice between big box shopping and online retail, then online retail has a lot going for it in terms of environmental impact—especially if we can drastically reduce the environmental footprint of delivery itself.
So I, for one, am delighted to see this development. Let's hope that U.S. logistics companies follow suit.