Electric delivery trailers being tested in UK

A new, ‘net neutral’ electric delivery trailer has been developed for the UK parcel delivery industry by a six strong consortium including UPS, product development company Fernhay and Outspoken Delivery (a cycling delivery company).

According to the consortium developing the delivery trailer system, it will “signal the next generation of delivery trailers – combining speed, mobility and analytics to provide a sustainable delivery system that could signal a new future for urban courier logistics”.

The new electric powered trailers are ‘net neutral’, meaning that they do not weigh anything to the person or cyclist pulling them. This should significantly reduce the need for vans to move the parcel trailers around an urban area by virtue that the delivery personnel can walk or cycle much further. In addition one of the consortium members Skotkonung is developing route algorithms that will improve delivery route efficiency by working out the fastest way for the trailers to travel.

Outspoken Delivery will test the prototype eletric delivery trailer in Cambridge later this month before UPS rolls out a large scale trial in the City of Westminster in 2017.

Called the Low Impact City Logistics project, it is part of a £10 million investment by Innovate UK in a number of R&D projects to improve the efficiency and experience of the end to end journey for people and freight.

Robin Haycock, Director of Fernhay said: “Solving problems that are difficult but important to society, is exciting and rewarding work for Fernhay. Delivering increasing volumes of parcels to people in dense urban environments, whilst minimising the environmental effects and saving money, is the solution that we hope to deliver with our trailer system.”

Peter Harris, UPS Director of Sustainability EMEA, added: “UPS has always prided itself on its market-leading sustainability schemes, and the Low Impact City Logistics project is no different. Using Fernhay’s advanced technology and UPS’s years of logistics experience, we can transform the way that customers receive their parcels. The UK is one of UPS’s leading markets in terms of environmental initiatives, and is a natural fit for the trial of this exciting venture.”

And a final word from Rob King, the Managing Director of Outspoken Delivery: “We are very excited to be involved with this project; we have over 10 years’ experience in cycle based delivery and have seen huge leaps in innovation in the last few years which has contributed to cycle based delivery being seen as a demonstrable solution to the environmental problems associated with deliveries in urban areas.”