May 10, 2022

Advanced Clean Transportation Expo
Long Beach Convention Center – Long Beach, CA

Ryan Dale-Johnson (VP of Sales) and I attended this event right here in SoCal to increase our knowledge of cutting-edge technology and commercial vehicles developed to impact the environment less than currently available solutions. We were accompanied by our friend Andrew Mitchell (President & CEO) from Geazone Eco-courier, a final mile delivery company in British Columbia. It was quite an impressive exhibition hall. We saw all kinds of vehicles powered by several different green fuels and driven by innovative systems.

My interest was in final mile delivery vans and neighborhood electric vehicles. I was also drawn in by electric semi tractors and the systems that allowed diesel and other fueled semi tractors to be operated autonomously. It’s so important for our economy to have these brilliant folks developing autonomous technology because I believe that these vehicles are safer than human-piloted trucks; the autonomy will allow trucks to operate closer together (drafting) to burn less fuel, operate better at night to reduce traffic, and also allow the economy to continue to grow even with a “driver shortage.”

For NRI, our long-term goal is to have a final mile delivery solution. At the Expo, there were several developing technologies in the electric vehicle space to facilitate this in a very green way: “Neighborhood Electric Vehicles” that are more closely related to golf carts that deliver parcels in densely populated areas and larger electric straight trucks that would be used to replenish the neighborhood vehicles.

We also saw BrightDrop which is a freight solution in development from General Motors. This system has the BrightDrop Trace – a power-assisted cart that one can use to take parcels from the truck to densely populated delivery areas like high-rise apartment buildings. This powered solution will reduce the physical stress on delivery personnel.

It was also exciting to see electric yard tractors that can be used to move trailers around the yard in high-volume DCs as well as purely electric excavators and cement trucks. All would be a positive impact on the environment once they are in mass use.

Frank Gambish • VP Transportation & Logistics @ NRI 3PL