Coming soon: Scooter-ization of the supply chain


The thought of Seattle and Portland residents having vegan meals delivered via electric scooters may conjure progressive stereotypes, but the trend is spreading and the supply chain implications are huge.

On demand delivery services provider Postmates in partnership with zero emission vehicle manufacturer GenZe has turned loose a fleet of couriers on electric bikes in Seattle and Portland. The electric vehicles are said to offer local couriers a cost-effective, eco-friendly way to increase orders while enabling customers to realize faster delivery times. Postmates’ new e-Bike delivery fleet in the Pacific Northwest builds on an electric vehicle initiative launched in New York and San Francisco earlier this year with roughly 350 electric scooters now in operation.

“E-Bikes allow us to reduce our carbon footprint while making a positive impact on the bottom line for our couriers,” said Vivek Patel, Vice President of Business Operations at Postmates.

Postmates network of couriers, known at Postmates, is transforming the way food and merchandise move through cities and helping local businesses better compete against retail giants, according to the company. For example, to mark the e-Bike initiative in Seattle and Portland, Postmates teamed with Veggie Grill to offer free delivery of the vegan-fresh restaurant’s “meatless” menu.

Launched in 2011, Postmates is available in more than 250 cities and has facilitated the delivery of more than $1 billion in merchandise. The initiative with GenZe adds several new wrinkles to the value proposition for couriers, merchants, customers and the cities in which Postmates operates.

“Our partnership with Postmates has already proven how effective two-wheel electric vehicles can be for on-demand delivery in New York City and San Francisco. From a practical standpoint, nothing is more efficient than an e-Bike for short-distance transportation in cities,” said GenZe Chief Marketing Officer Tom Valasek. “These vehicles offer couriers a low-cost, low-maintenance, no-hassle way to get around town and increase deliveries.”

One of the benefits of the e-Bikes is billed as the ability to get around and avoid sitting in traffic, but the company did not elaborate on how that is possible since e-Bike operators would presumably be required to observe the same rules as other motorists.