To complement its drive into electric vehicles, UPS announced on Friday that it was testing a four-wheeled “eQuad” electric cargo bike for delivery in highly populated urban areas, where bikes have better and easier access.
According to Luke Wake, UPS vice president of fleet maintenance and engineering, the package-delivery giant is testing about 100 of the electric bikes, developed and produced by British firm Fernhay, in seven European regions and will also conduct trials in the United States and some Asian areas.
UPS said the trials would also include four-wheeled electric bikes from other manufacturers, but did not name them.
Given the rise in e-commerce orders, package delivery businesses are looking for innovative ways to reduce the cost of last-mile deliveries in addition to making public commitments to reduce their carbon footprints.
UPS’ eQuad has a top speed of roughly 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) with electric assistance (faster if you pedal hard) and can carry up to 200 kilograms (441 lb) of packages. Its electric battery has a range of about 40 miles (64 km), which Wake claims are sufficient for urban journeys.
Because the vehicle is merely 36 inches wide (91 cm), it may legally use bike lanes and enter pedestrian zones that UPS vans and trucks can’t. Drivers would normally have to exit their trucks, load things onto carts, and transport them to customers.
According to UPS’s Wake, the Atlanta-based business sees an opportunity to expand the usage of the bikes in megacities, complementing its existing fleet of vans and trucks.
While demonstrating the eQuad at a UPS package facility in London, Wake stated, “There are more and more opportunities for zero-emission solutions like this that can alleviate inner-city congestion.” “It can also help our operations be more efficient at the same time.”
FedEx and DHL, a division of Deutsche Post, are also testing electric cargo bikes as part of their zero-emission vehicle goals. UPS is collaborating with electric van companies Arrival and Tevva in the United Kingdom, as well as truck manufacturer Xos in the United States.