USA’s 1st Zero-Emissions Delivery Zone Is In Santa Monica, California

The city of Santa Monica has chosen to lead the US electrification efforts, making it the first city in the country to introduce a Zero Emission Delivery Zone (ZEDZ). This is done with the support of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), Nissan, IKEA, Shopify, Freewire, Motiv Power Systems and many others.

However, this is a voluntary zone – not the London system which imposes heavy fines for entering the region without a zero emission vehicle (ZEV). However, the program leaders have partnered with tech companies, delivery companies, and community organizations to really make this a reality.

“The concept for the ZE delivery zone in Santa Monica was developed by LACI’s Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP),” writes LACI. “TEP includes local government officials, utilities, state regulators, automakers, industry leaders, workers and startups working together to reduce air pollution in the greater Los Angeles area by promoting electrification of transportation and zero-emission movement of goods ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Accelerate games in 2028. “

This niche focus on the super-fast (instant) electrification of delivery vehicles is interesting and contemporary on some levels. First, delivery vehicles cover more kilometers – and the more kilometers a driver or vehicle drives, the more the low operating costs of an electric vehicle come back to the owner in the form of savings and profits. While there is a lot of driving, delivery vehicles know their service area, if not certain regular routes, and can easily plan charging and familiarize them with their habits. Third, in this Covid era, and most likely the post-Covid era, people are turning a lot more towards the goods and food being delivered. Therefore, the emissions impact of delivery vehicles is higher, while the utility of 100% electricity for delivery is greater.

Foodcycle delivery truck, courtesy of LACI.

“With the last mile of goods and food deliveries exploding during the pandemic, the zero-emission delivery zone in Santa Monica will help us advance both political and technological solutions needed to reduce air and climate pollution, noise, and traffic congestion , and at the same time create a draft for other cities to follow, ”said Matt Petersen, CEO of LACI and Chairman of TEP. “The pilot will not only help advance the bold goals of the transport electrification partnership, it will also help unleash innovation from start-up entrepreneurs, empower local small businesses and grow the green workforce.”

Indeed – this can and should serve as an example of guidelines or programs in cities across California, across the country, and even around the world. This small town can spark a lot of inspiration and action. While it’s not the LA County’s powerhouse itself, if delivery companies know they need to be electric to get to Santa Monica, it clearly results in them using ZEVs to deliver in other parts of the region as well. Again, they may be able to see more quickly that the operational savings from ZEVs mean they should electrify everywhere.

“To reduce and ultimately eliminate our CO2 emissions, we need to look at all aspects of the transport sector. This pilot with LACI will use smaller and cleaner technology to deliver goods instead of the big diesel trucks we are used to on our roads, ”said Sue Himmelrich, Santa Monica Mayoress. “In addition to reducing CO2 emissions and traffic congestion, the additional benefit is that restaurants can achieve higher sales margins on the food they deliver. This comes at a critical time in our recovery, and we look forward to new insights into zero-emission delivery and the possibilities beyond our one square mile test zone. “

Rollo last mile electric vehicle courtesy of LACI.

Of course, this program also provides a boost to early adopters in the electric vehicle market like Nissan, which has long sold one of the most popular electric vehicles on the market (perhaps the most popular). The opportunity did not pass Nissan.

“As Nissan accelerates our carbon neutral journey, we are proud to build on our partnership with LACI to support pilots in the Zero Emissions Delivery Zone. This pilot comes at a critical time as delivery service continues to grow, ”said Rachel Nguyen, director of the Nissan Future Lab and TEP member. “With the Zero Emissions Delivery Zone, we will support local businesses and further advance our common goal of improving air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and safety.”

If you’ve been reading CleanTechnica for a long time, you’ll know that IKEA has been a retailer that has often been a world leader in green policies and the adoption of cleantech. So it’s not surprising (and yet inspiring) that the international retail giant has also been on board and supported from the start. “At IKEA, we believe in an emission-free future for transportation. The ZEDZ pilot in Santa Monica is an opportunity to identify the demand for zero-emission delivery and to serve as a role model for other retailers and cities looking for a model that can be replicated. Breakthrough solutions start with a simple idea and we are excited to showcase those solutions with this pilot program, ”said Steve Moelk of Ikea Group. (Emphasis added.)

Kiwi robotic electric vehicle in Santa Monica, courtesy of LACI.

Many more comments from a variety of supporting parties on the new program can be found here. But here is a list of some of the supporting companies:

These companies will “voluntarily deploy and test zero-emission modes for last mile delivery in the Downtown, Main Street, and Ocean Park neighborhoods of Santa Monica.” A handful of LACI supported startups will help with the technical side of the program:

And then there are external technology leaders who participate:


But wait – how exactly does this voluntary ZEDZ work? Let the originators of the idea, LACI, explain: “In order to support the current pilot participants and encourage others to join, the ZE delivery zone will primarily restrict access for emission-free delivery vehicles in selected loading areas in the zone. Automotus technology will: Monitor and analyze all vehicle activity in each curb area while protecting privacy; Collecting anonymized data to study the impact on delivery efficiency, safety, congestion and emissions; and providing real-time parking availability data for ZE Delivery Zone drivers. …

“To meet the Zero Emissions 2028 roadmap goals, LACI and TEP members – including Santa Monica and Nissan – have come out in favor of policies such as zero-emission zones, congestion pricing and vehicle mileage reductions. To achieve these goals, the Santa Monica ZE Delivery Zone will:

  • Improved Policies and Tools to Reduce Emissions: With diesel emissions increasing from last mile delivery vehicles as well as heavy drayage trucks moving goods from ports to warehouses, the Zone provides insights for other cities, regulators and industry leaders for zero emission & long term pollution reduction from pollution.
  • Pilot solutions for curb management: With up to 20 priority curbs with emission-free pollution in the most heavily polluted core of the zone, usage, congestion, safety, dwell time and other metrics are determined for the future provision of emission-free zones and pricing for congestion in the city of Los Angeles and other urban centers.
  • Demonstrating Technological Innovations: By deploying and demonstrating technologies required for zero-emission delivery zones, Santa Monica and LACI will explore how to best meet operational needs, create local green jobs, and improve the quality of life. Innovations include:
    • Multiple electric micromobility solutions or food and parcel delivery;
    • Medium and light electric delivery vehicles for goods; and
    • Top notch commercial mid-weight electric vehicle sharing and charging for local small businesses. …

“LACI and TEP have issued an RFI for communities and neighborhoods across the County of Los Angeles, and the City of Santa Monica has been selected as a partner in the Zero Emissions Delivery Zone. For the past year, LACI staff and TEP (which includes the City of Santa Monica) have worked with corporations, community groups, and other partners to develop the zone. The zone is an area of ​​one square mile in the commercial center of Santa Monica. The zone is roughly bounded to the north by Wilshire Blvd, to the east by Lincoln Blvd, to the south by Dewey Street (city limits) and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. The zone includes zip codes 90401, 90405, and 90403 and has a population of 15,850 and two major business districts – Downtown Santa Monica (including Third Street Promenade) and Main Street – which together employ approximately 28,900 people in a variety of industries. These areas welcome millions of visitors annually and are hubs for commercial, social and institutional activities. They offer cities across the country the perfect example of introducing a zero-emission delivery zone. Learn more at https://laci.org/zedz “

All images courtesy of LACI.

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