Barriers to Entry: DHL


DHL committed itself some years ago to achieve “zero emissions” across its entire worldwide enterprise by 2050. In 2015, it introduced to its European operations the Cubicycle: a container quadricycle powering the shift in urban parcel delivery from motor van to pedal-driven platform. In 2017, it introduced Cubicycle to NYC.

Today, Cubicycles roll around a number of urban centers across Europe for DHL producing parcel delivery performance combined with urban modal savoir faire

DHL can’t make it here. They can make anywhere else…

Today, not a single Cubicycle rolls around NYC; the 2017 arrival has yet to find purchase in our city streets due to state law, while a three-wheeled sister cycle settled into town early in 2020 to keep the original Cubicycle company at the company’s Midtown headquarters. They never see the light of day for various reasons, not one of which is inspired.

Front and center frustration at the moment for DHL? The latest in a litany of barriers erected by the city, state, and federal governments: The April 2020 moped-is-bicycle law enacted in Albany amidst budget omnibus bill madness. Somebody slipped into the moped-is-bicycle bill—which carved out space for certain motor vehicles to become defined as “bicycles” for legal purposes in NYS—between 2019 and 2020 a passage attempting to bar from public streets in NYS pedal-assist bicycles wider than 36 inches.

In one fell swoop, an entire established marketplace for 48” wide pedal-assist e-trikes designed and engineered to move up to ½ a ton of cargo was (once again) compromised. Enterprises hewing to the excellent 2018 regulations crafted by NYC DOT to provide guidelines for pedal-assist bicycles and tricycles? Not invited to weigh in on the new passage prior to, er, passage.

Decades of development around 48” trikes—not coincidentally also the standard width for pedicabs in NYC—tossed overboard with zero contact with industry investors, manufacturers, operators, et cetera. 

One of the many financial losers? DHL. DHL is but one of many Revolution customers (and potential customers) thwarted time and again over many years by city, state, and federal government to produce scaled bikemobile programs moving goods and services in NYC.

Is it any wonder the industry continues to struggle to gain purchase in NYC? The e-bike and e-trike for business marketplace—a marketplace that in other cities and other countries is expanding with partial or full support from local governments—remains a minefield in this particular city.

Fifteen years on, and the sabotage continues.

Certainly, other challenges exist in our marketplace; for instance, parcel-carrier unions have demanded additional design elements such as cabins be added to cargo e-trikes before considering operations for their members. Process engineering on the parcel (and other industry) carrier management side is a heavy investment required to optimize bikemobile integration to operations. Real estate, parcel size, and “middle mile” considerations also require measured and managed resource investments. 

As for Revolution? We continue to deliver to NYC enterprise live-electric urban vehicle goods, services, and solutions regardless of city, state, and government or even non-governmental organization support!