Urban vehicle of the moment: An e-cargo bike
Electric cargo bikes — which come in all shapes and sizes — are silent and emissions-free alternatives to Bobcats and light trucks, and they're increasingly used in cities for deliveries and municipal improvements.
Why it matters: If you've ever been bothered by the "beep-beep-beep" of a vehicle as it backs up, you'll be grateful to see these sporty little newcomers at work at highway medians and building delivery entrances.
Driving the news: Following a successful pilot in Madison, Wisconsin, the city of Portland, Oregon, will be testing motorized, pedal-assisted e-cargo bikes for municipal landscaping and other projects.
- The bikes haul equipment and yard waste, etc., and can get into tight places that trucks can't.
- In Madison, the parks department used them for everything from planting seeds to removing graffiti.
- "They're fun and they're exciting, and they make people happy," says Patricia Kapinos of Saris Infrastructure, which is supplying the pilot vehicles (at no charge) to Portland and Madison. "You get a lot of comments when you ride them."
Details: Florists, pizza places and supermarkets like Whole Foods have started using e-cargo bikes for short, local deliveries.