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On a Roll: FedEx Expands NYC Electric Cart Delivery Pilot

This holiday season, more New Yorkers will be seeing FedEx Express couriers pushing a four-wheeled electric cart on city sidewalks.

The e-carts are part of an expanded pilot program aimed at improving deliveries in major metropolitan areas. The Trace e-carts used in the expanded pilot are from BrightDrop, a technology startup from GM looking to decarbonize last-mile delivery.

The e-carts are helping FedEx couriers make deliveries in five locations in New York City—the Diamond District, Theatre District, Midtown, Midtown East and Brooklyn Heights—expanding upon an initial test site in the Diamond District last year.

During its busiest season, in its densest U.S. market, FedEx is exploring how last-mile solutions like e-carts can help couriers operate with more efficient routes. Use of e-carts have the potential to help reduce vehicle idling and redistribute delivery activity away from the curb, helping to alleviate bottlenecks on high-traffic streets, FedEx said.

In the previous limited Manhattan pilot, FedEx couriers increased the number of total stops and stops made per hour when using the e-carts versus operations without them, a win for couriers, customers and the battle against vehicle congestion.

“FedEx customers depend on us to deliver resourcefully and reliably, especially during the holidays,” said Michael Salerno, a FedEx Express senior station operations manager in Manhattan. “By furthering the use of these carts on real routes in Manhattan and Brooklyn, FedEx hopes to shape what the future of efficient urban delivery could look like.”

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As FedEx prioritizes a more efficient network and works toward its goal of carbon neutral operations globally by 2040, the company is on a mission to match operational needs with the right technology in the right environment. With the routes included in the e-cart courier pilot now covering more than seven walking miles across the two boroughs, FedEx hopes to take away more learnings from operating the units in urban environments and help policymakers envision the future state of last-mile delivery in an evolving urban mobility landscape.

FedEx Express has also worked with BrightDrop to incorporate new electric vehicles into its network, the first 150 of which are out delivering to customers this season in Southern California.