Breaking with tradition
The outbreak of Covid-19 has caused some disruption on the roads and in warehouses too. A Canadian forwarder banks on fully electric delivery vehicles; a US chain of fast food restaurants doesn’t need drivers for deliveries; and Geodis practices social distancing in its warehouses.
Purolator already introduced e-bikes and small electric lorries in Montréal and Toronto last autumn. Now that home deliveries have increased by approximately 50% since the beginning of the Covid-19 downturn, the Canadian enterprise has further fortified its concomitant efforts and announced that it is introducing fully electric delivery vehicles in Vancouver. The 5.5 m vehicles are based on Ford’s F-59 platform and are driven by Motiv Power Systems. This represent the first foray north of the border for the company headquartered in Foster City CA (USA).
The firm Nuro is from Mountain View, which is also in Silicon Valley; its autonomous technologies are set to be used by the Chipotle Mexican Grill chain of taco restaurants. The company’s digital business grew by 174% last year, with delivery services contributing half. The partners didn’t reveal what the financial participation is worth.
Geodis has chosen a middle path; it will develop a remote-controlled forklift truck with Phantom Auto, an ideas powerhouse that is also from Mountain View. Tests in French warehouses illustrate the advantages – greater operational safety; less people in the warehouse; new job opportunities; better options for employees with physical disabilities; and the possibility of recruiting workers from regions beyond where the warehouse is.