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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.

  • To beat back car traffic, New York City has been giving free use of commercial parking spaces to cargo bikes owned by Amazon, UPS and DHL.
  • DHL's "Cubicycle" has a reclining seat and solar panels.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jul 2, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Why going electric makes sense for ride-hailing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Deploying electric vehicles instead of gasoline-powered models for services like Uber and Lyft provides outsized climate benefits compared to emissions cuts from electric vehicles for only personal use, per a peer-reviewed study in Nature Energy.

Why it matters: The analysis, based on California data, follows explosive growth in ride-hailing in recent years — and evidence that it's cannibalizing more climate-friendly mass transit.

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Swastikas found outside Union Station in D.C.

People walk through Union Station on Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Drawings of swastikas appeared etched around the entrance to Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

Driving the news: "An investigation is underway with Amtrak Police and the Metropolitan Police Department after swastikas were reported on the exterior of Washington Union Station on Friday," Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in a statement to Axios.

Updated 9 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.