UPS testing eQuad “bikes” in urban area deliveries


Urban area deliveries can sometimes be challenging for companies like UPS and FedEx. Narrow streets, high foot traffic, and residential traffic make it challenging for large trucks to maneuver. So UPS is trying something new for its urban area deliveries, the eQuad.

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A company called Fernhay manufactures the eQuad “electric bike,” and it can be outfitted to look like a mini UPS delivery truck. The eQuad looks like an extended golf cart with an enclosure, and it is fully electric. They’re small enough to get through narrow roadways, and it seems they’re even able to be safe enough to operate on sidewalks.

The package-delivery giant is trialing around 100 of the electric bikes, designed and built by British firm Fernhay, in seven European markets and will also launch trials in the United States and some Asian markets, Luke Wake, UPS vice president of fleet maintenance and engineering, told Reuters.

UPS said it would also use four-wheeled electric bikes from other manufacturers for the trials, but did not disclose names.

As well as making public commitments to cut their carbon footprints, package-delivery companies are seeking new ways to cut the cost of last-mile deliveries given soaring e-commerce orders.

UPS’ eQuad has an electric-assisted top speed of around 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) – if you pedal hard you can go faster – and can haul up to 200 kilograms (441 lb) of packages. Its electric battery has a range of around 40 miles (64 km), which Wake said would be more than adequate for urban routes.

The vehicle is only 36 inches (91 cm) wide, so can legally use bike lanes and enter pedestrian zones that UPS’ vans and trucks cannot access. Under normal circumstances, drivers would have to get out of their vehicles, load packages on carts and haul them to customers.


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