E-cargo company URB-E expands to L.A. area to ease last-mile delivery crunch

Startup Urban Electric Co., aka URB-E, the developer of a green e-cargo solution for last-mile delivery, has expanded to the Los Angeles area as supply-chain issues continue to put a chokehold on deliveries nationwide. The eight-year-old company, based in Pasadena, Calif., makes electric bikes that can be hitched to small trailers that carry foldable storage containers with up to 800 pounds of goods. The delivery system offers an alternative to bulkier vehicles such as trucks and vans that not only speeds up the dispatch of goods but lowers their carbon footprint, a company executive said.

“Instead of using big trucks that clog up the streets, you roll out neighborhood by neighborhood with small, electric vehicles that are quieter and do not take up much space,” URB-E Chief Executive Charles Jolley told MarketWatch. Indeed, every 3,000 packages delivered through URB-E can take 10 large delivery trucks off the road, leading to a carbon-dioxide savings of 79 metric tons per year, the company said. URB-E expects to deliver 5,000 packages per month, mostly e-commerce orders, to residential addresses in Long Beach before it expands to other Southern California cities. Urb-E has already begun operating one of these networks in New York, according to Jolley, who formerly led Facebook’s
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Android division. The pandemic has fomented “massive change in consumer mentality,” Jolley said, as people change the way they shop and expect their goods to be delivered. Many are avoiding malls, retail stores and grocery stores; deliveries in the U.S. jumped 30% in 2020 and another 15% in 2021, according to a study by Pitney Bowes Inc.
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Amazon.com Inc.
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PepsiCo Inc.
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and Ford Motor Co.
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are also working on projects that reimagine land use and transportation infrastructure to combat e-commerce delivery congestion.

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