A groundbreaking pilot project underway in Santa Monica, Calif., could help spur the wider and faster adoption of electric delivery vehicles around the U.S.
The initiative, called the Santa Monica Zero Emissions Delivery Zone, offers curbside loading areas designated exclusively for zero-emissions delivery vehicles.
The project — launched in March — is being spearheaded by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator's Transportation Electrification Partnership, in collaboration with the City of Santa Monica, to explore new last-mile ideas and technologies aimed at reducing carbon emissions during the transportation of goods.
The delivery zone spans a one-square-mile area that is home to nearly 16,000 residents and two major commercial districts: downtown Santa Monica, including the popular Third Street Promenade area, and Main Street. Nearly 29,000 people work in the two districts.
Santa Monica's zero-emissions project, which is anchored in a highly flexible, collaborative approach to exploring new ideas for last-mile EV deliveries, involves a wide array of delivery, technology and advisory partners selected to participate in the program.
Delivery partners include Ikea and Shopify, along with several other companies that are focused on using the delivery services participating in the pilot program.
Tech companies such as Fluid Truck, a peer-to-peer commercial EV-sharing service; Lightning eMotors, a leading manufacturer of commercial EVs; and Coco, a new robotic delivery service based in Santa Monica; are all involved in the direct transportation of goods in the zone. Other technology partners are charged with helping to facilitate the overall operation or data analysis of the zone.
In addition, companies such as Nissan, Roush Cleantech and Southern California Edison are key advisers, along with community and regional stakeholders.
There are 12 curbside taxicab areas or metered parking areas being designated as zero-emissions delivery zones as part of the pilot program. Officials are planning to convert more curbside spaces into EV delivery zones in the coming months.