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Today's Pickup: Electra Meccanica Debuts EV One-Seater; Amazon Brokerage "An Affirmation"



Good day,

An iconic microcar has exited the market, even as another prepares to muscle in. Earlier this week Daimler (DDAIF) announced it is ending sales of its all-electric Smart cars in the U.S. and Canada, where the small but snappy brand struggled to find traction with consumers more enamored of larger vehicles.

The Smart car's struggles haven't deterred Electra Meccanica, a Canadian manufacturer that is betting North Americans will sign on to its mini EV, a single-seat electric vehicle dubbed the Solo. Eighty three percent of commuters drive to work by themselves, typically in four-person cars for a commute that averages 40 miles or less, said Lorenzo Caprilli, Electra's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "Is it necessary to waste that much energy on one person?" 

Caprilli delivered a presentation on the Solo at ACT Expo the week of April 22nd in Long Beach, California. The tiny vehicle features a 100-mile effective range and a three-hour charging time and is also suitable for last-mile deliveries and car-sharing fleets, Caprilli said. Current Solo customers include Apollo Energy Gum, Harbour Air and DoubleTree By Hilton – a hotel chain that offers the car as an amenity to guests. The Solo costs $16,250 and will begin shipping in August 2019.

Daimler's Smart car launched the auto giant's car-sharing brand, Car2Go, in 2011.

Did you know?

The value of Port of Seattle global trade rose 19.7 percent, from $4.39 billion to $5.26 billion through the first two months of 2019 compared to same period in 2018. During the same time period, the nation's total trade was $650.55 billion, with exports at $260.05 billion and imports at $390.5 billion. The nation's total trade increased 1.11 percent. Exports rose 2.61 percent and imports rose 0.14 percent.

Source: WorldCity analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data


"These trucks produce absolutely zero emissions. Let that sink in. Zero emissions on a fully loaded, heavy-duty over-the-road truck."

- Bob Carter, Toyota executive vice president of sales, speaking during the unveiling of the Kenworth-Toyota hydrogen-electric trucks on April 22nd at the Port of Los Angeles

In other news Walmart may ante up Amazon's one-day free shipping plan

Could the retailer trump Amazon by offering free one-day shipping without a membership fee? (Yahoo)

Fretlink raised $31.4 million in Series B funding

The freight forwarding startup will use the new funds to grow its supply chain management technology for shippers and carriers. (DCVelocity)

Argentina's general strike cripples transportation services

Airlines, public transit have ground to a halt during the two-day strike. (Bloomberg)

Walmart opens Sacramento transportation hub, looks to hire 130 new truck drivers

It is the retail giant's first transportation center not connected to a distribution center.

(Sacramento Bee)

Final thoughts

Amazon's launch of a digital freight brokerage may have brokers in a dither, but for Paul Asel, managing partner, NGP Capital, the e-retailer's announcement is validation of the billions of dollars that venture firms have have been pouring into the space. "It is an affirmation of what we've believed for many years," said Asel. NGP has invested in NEXTTrucking, a digital logistics startup that raised $97 million this winter.

The Amazon play may discourage smaller-scale startups from entering the digital freight brokerage space, Asel said, but the larger new entrants, those that have raised $50 million or more, will continue to thrive and attract capital. "The industry needs to be streamlined. Now it's going to happen in accelerated fashion."

Another thing to keep in mind: "Amazon is not saying ‘we're going to stop working with others,'" said Asel. "They want a system with multiple players in the market. It allows them to optimize what they can and [give] what they can't to third-party players."

Hammer down, everyone!

Image sourced from Pixabay

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