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

Panasonic is lending its vehicle connectivity and monitoring solution to a last-mile electric vehicle produced by Tropos Motors. (Photo: Panasonic)

Good day,

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

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!

Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]