Guest Editor: Adam Barmby, CEO and Founder EAV
The planet is down for the count, so I won’t pull a punch here.
Vans are breaking our cities.
At best they’re electric, and simply cause a disproportionate amount of congestion when they’re filled up with 90% air.
At worst, they’re those rare, heavy workhorses of pollution, dragging noxious gasses in their wake, heaving and squeezing themselves through ancient, congested urban lanes.
Meanwhile, dinosaur bin juice, dug up from seabeds and deserts, is still considered by many to be the most easily accessible form of energy to fuel these urban beasts. It should not, and cannot, be supported as a cheap and easy foundation of global business. Dinosaur bin juice is hard to get, inefficient and a climate pollutant.
So the supercharged economy battles the planet. Everyone spends the festive season buying ‘stuff’, arranging their delivery and redelivery of ‘stuff’ and filling waste bins, processing plants, and our streets with that ‘stuff’.
For a fighting chance, to even up our odds, we need to move more, with less.
And those in the sector who are not making that a focus will at best be pitting their hopes against human nature, and, at worst, helping to stall the required change.
I got into the emobility sector to make a difference. At EAV we’ve built the International Cargo Bike of the Year – but this is just the very start. There’s a long way for us all to go.
It doesn’t take the world’s leading environmental scientists to tell you that our systems are broken, and our planet is breaking. And it’ll take more than a passionate core of cargo bike advocates to fix it. Global systems cannot simply be ‘tweaked’ into being something that works.
For example, here’s a live example you’ll see today, of how far we’ve veered off what’s right, which eCargo bikes such as EAV can help to address…
At some point after you read this, someone will pull a diesel van up onto the kerb on your street. Or they will swing it into your driveway. At best, they’ll turn the engine off before jumping out. More likely they’ll leave it idling (ironic how the word applies to something so actively damaging). They’ll run around to the back of the van, crash open the double doors, climb inside, and commence rummaging.
They’ll bring out a small brown parcel and then they’ll rush to one, maybe two doorways to hand over the goods. Then it’s back up into the cab, reverse a few feet at pace, clunk an old clutch, heavy rev, move twenty yards forward. Repeat. This isn’t the easiest or the best way of doing things.
It’s hard to throw a 3-tonne van around a city.
And that makes things hard for everyone:
Hard for city residents;
Hard for city streets;
Hard on the global environment;
Hard on the driver.
But because this once seemed like the only way to do things, bad decisions are covered over by sticking plasters. There’s a perception that it’s simpler to work with what exists, to bend with the breeze, and make the best of a bad hand. Other mixed metaphors are available.
If I’m feeling generous, I’ll say that doing the right thing is hard. That there are two sides. That there are good reasons that making the right decision is hard.
I’m not feeling generous, though. I’m feeling quite angry. And I think you should feel quite angry, too.
Because doing right thing should be easier. That’s where we started with EAV, and why we believe in the ability of the emobility sector to start to make a real difference.
For lots of EAVs to replace vans it should be a series of small simple steps – which together add up to a big change. At times, the steps don’t yet feel as small or simple as I’d hope, but I retain faith that the change which will result from us all pulling in the right direction remains big.
I have three children, and I want to make a better world for them. More than that, I want other people to want to make a better world.
By moving more, with less.