Today’s Pickup: Panasonic joins Tropos Motors for connected last-mile solution

Tropos electric vehicle


Industry giant Panasonic has teamed with Tropos Motors on new concept electric vehicles designed for local and last-mile

The two compact utility vehicles
will be equipped with Panasonic’s proprietary software and cloud services
platform OneConnect. The emergency services and last-mile refrigeration
vehicles are on display this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2020)
in Las Vegas.

OneConnect is a global platform
designed to monitor and report on vehicle health. The platform provides
predictive maintenance reminders and analytics to the original equipment
manufacturers and the driver/vehicle owner. OneConnect analytics can be
customized to focus on electric vehicle data to create algorithms that improve
battery efficiency to optimize the short- and long-term state of health of the
vehicle and one’s total investment, Panasonic said.

The vehicles are built by Tropos, which
is focused on creating “right-sized” electric vehicles. The last-mile
refrigeration cargo van features a Hussmann cold chain solution and vacuum
insulation panel (VIP) insulated coolers. According to Panasonic, this
technology enables contents to stay 13 times colder than in regular
polyurethane coolers and is thinner to allow for more product in the cooler. In
addition, with compartmentalized cooling, there is no additional energy draw on
the electrical and battery system of the truck.

The second vehicle is an emergency
fire truck. The vehicle has a footprint that fits on cart paths, allowing it to
access tighter spaces. It is equipped with Panasonic’s OneConnect as well as a
rugged Panasonic Toughbook FZ-G1 tablet to track and receive emergency information.

“The goal is to address the needs
of businesses that depend on small commercial vehicles with a practical and
efficient solution,” John Bautista, Tropos founder and CEO, said. “With an
ability to accommodate both large and purpose-built payloads, our vehicles are
created with versatility in mind to fulfill the requirements of any corporate,
first-responder, agricultural or last-mile application.”

Did you know?

FedEx said that it and other companies deliver 50 million packages per day in the U.S., in 2019, and that number is expected to rise to over 100 million by 2026.


“While many users have been able to
access the database correctly, the agency is aware that other users are
experiencing difficulties with the website. The agency is continuing to work to
resolve these technical challenges as soon as possible.”

FMCSA, in response to a FreightWaves query on connectivity issues plaguing the new drug and alcohol database that went live Jan. 6.

In other news:

Vote nears on Connecticut truck tolls

The Connecticut General Assembly is
reaching the finish line on possible truck tolls, with a vote possible in the
next few weeks. (Hartford Courant)

Trucking group calls for defunding of FMCSA

The Small Business in
Transportation Coalition has written to Congress demanding the defunding of the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. (Bulk Transporter)

Robots lure investors

Investors are flocking to
businesses building robots designed to automate warehousing. (The Wall Street Journal)

Trade deficit shrinks

The U.S. trade deficit shrunk to
$43.1 billion in November, the smallest it has been since President Donald
Trump took office. (CNBC)

US DOT unveils map of investment opportunity

The U.S. Department of
Transportation has created an interactive map of potential infrastructure
investment opportunities. (Transport Topics)

Final Thoughts

The growth of e-commerce continues
to change the supply chain. According to FedEx, it delivered 50 million
packages per day in 2019, but that will double to more than 100 million by
2026, with 93% of that growth driven by e-commerce. Those deliveries are mostly
to households, which are more expensive to handle. The result is a boom in
innovation, including delivery robots, drones and other technologies, that will
help ease the burden on logistics networks and keep pace with the rapid growth.

Hammer down, everyone!