UPS begins trials of eQuad e-bikes in London

Delivering parcels in densely populated cities around the world is a challenge. Delivering them without creating harmful emissions is an even greater challenge. This week, Luke Wake, vice president of maintenance and fleet engineering for UPS, said Reuters This company is about to start trials in London of 100 eQuad electric cargo bikes designed and built by British firm Fernhay.

If these trials are successful, they will be expanded to 7 European markets and cities in the United States and China using vehicles built by other manufacturers. At just 36 inches wide, the eQuad can legally use designated bike lanes, providing access to places regular vehicles can’t go. UPS, like other package delivery companies, is looking for new ways to meet the increased demand caused by increased e-commerce at a lower cost and with fewer emissions.

The eQuad has an electrically assisted top speed of around 25 km/h (15.5 mph) and can carry up to 200 kilograms (441 lb) of packages. Its electric battery has a range of around 64 km (40 miles), which Wake says is more than enough for urban commuting.

He says UPS sees an opportunity to scale up the use of bicycles in megacities and as a complement to its fleet of vans and delivery trucks. “There are growing opportunities for zero-emission solutions like this that can reduce congestion in city centers. It can also help our operations be more efficient at the same time. FedEx and DHL are also experimenting with electric cargo bikes as part of their own zero-emission package delivery plans.

Image courtesy of Fermhay

Fernhay says a 4-wheel layout and a low center of gravity were needed to maintain stability in such a narrow vehicle. A low loading area and high seat allow operators as well as other riders to see around or over the eQuad. “Reducing package fatigue and drop rates influence our step in design, pedal and seat position, and wheel placement,” the company explains.

The front suspension absorbs bumps in the road and improves stability, while hydraulic brakes on the front wheels allow the driver to easily control the eQuad. “A key design decision for us was to produce an attractive vehicle. We want to be part of a movement back to cycling and walking in the heart of urban life,” says Fernhay.

Kudos to UPS for constantly finding better ways to serve customers with zero-emission vehicles.



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