Courier re­turns to ped­als to de­liver parcels cheaply

The Witness - Wheels - - ELECTRIC -

THE world’s largest pack­age de­liv­ery com­pany, United Par­cel Ser­vice (UPS), has started de­liv­er­ing us­ing elec­tri­cally-as­sisted tri­cy­cles.

UPS an­tic­i­pates this eBike pro­to­type could be­come a com­po­nent of its de­liv­ery ca­pa­bil­i­ties in some cities across the U.S.

The de­ploy­ment of the eBike is part of UPS’s on­go­ing com­mit­ment to re­duce car­bon emis­sions as city pop­u­la­tions and e-com­merce grow, and traf­fic, noise and air qual­ity chal­lenges con­tinue to rise. “Early in our 109-year his­tory, UPS op­er­ated as a bike mes­sen­ger com­pany,” said Mark Wal­lace, UPS se­nior vice-pres­i­dent global en­gi­neer­ing and sus­tain­abil­ity.

“While we have evolved and de­vel­oped a vast net­work of ground and air ve­hi­cles, the bi­cy­cle may be mak­ing a come­back as we nav­i­gate through crowded ur­ban ar­eas and con­tinue our fo­cus on en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity.”

The suc­cess of this pi­lot pro­gramme was first demon­strated in 2012 in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the city of Ham­burg, Ger­many. It fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing a new and sus­tain­able method of de­liv­er­ing goods to ur­ban ar­eas. UPS placed four con­tain­ers at cen­tral lo­ca­tions in the city for in­terim stor­age of pack­ages for UPS ser­vice providers. From th­ese points, de­liv­er­ies were made on foot or with spe­cialised bi­cy­cles called “Cargo Cruis­ers” — UPS’s elec­tron­i­cally-as­sisted tri­cy­cles. Th­ese al­ter­nate de­liv­ery so­lu­tions helped ease traf­fic con­ges­tion and re­duce emis­sions each work­ing day. Due to the suc­cess of the pi­lot, the Ham­burg pro­gramme was ex­tended in Fe­bru­ary 2015 for another two years. That model serves as a guide­post for the com­pany’s new pro­gramme in Port­land, Ore­gon. The eBike is equipped with bat­tery­pow­ered elec­tric mo­tors that makes it pos­si­ble to cover fur­ther dis­tances, carry sub­stan­tial loads, and nav­i­gate hills and other ter­rain.

Max­i­mum en­ergy ef­fi­ciency is achieved when com­bin­ing bat­tery power and hu­man power si­mul­ta­ne­ously. The eBike can be op­er­ated solely on bat­tery power or pedal power.

Dur­ing the test­ing phase, UPS will eval­u­ate the re­li­a­bil­ity, de­sign, in­te­gra­tion to the city’s in­fra­struc­ture and ac­cep­tance of the ve­hi­cle. If suc­cess­ful, UPS en­vi­sions ad­di­tional eBike de­ploy­ment and test­ing in 2017.

By the end of 2016, UPS will have in­vested more than $750 mil­lion in al­ter­na­tive fuel and ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy ve­hi­cles and fu­el­ing sta­tions glob­ally since 2009.

Us­ing its “Rolling Lab­o­ra­tory” ap­proach, UPS de­ploys more than 7 700 low-emis­sion ve­hi­cles to de­ter­mine what works best in each sit­u­a­tion, from old-fash­ioned pedal power to elec­tric and hy­brid elec­tric ve­hi­cles and nat­u­ral gas en­gines.

PHOTO: UPS

Elec­tri­cally as­sisted tri­cy­cles have proven suc­cess­ful to de­liver parcels in Europe, and are now be­ing de­ployed in Port­land, U.S.

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