UPS trials e-quadricylcle delivery vehicles

UPS is trialling pedal assist quadricycle cargo bikes for operations in New York City.

The vehicles look like a UPS van but the power system is an e-bike mid-drive motor that is partially powered by pedals in the way of an e-cargo-bike. Makers Fernhay refer to them as ‘eQuads’, and they are designed to make deliveries in places that are hard to reach by truck or van.

At 0.84 metres wide they have a small enough footprint that they can go where normal bicycles go and thereby make last mile deliveries quicker and more efficient. They are 3 metres long, including a 1.8m long cargo box at the rear, which can be swapped between delivery runs. The rider’s pedalling triggers support from the electric motor that reduces the amount of energy used by the rider.

One issue with them – notably in the UK and EU – is that e-quadricycles are not considered ‘e-bikes’ under current road safety laws and are instead classified as motor vehicles – like cars. That means they require registration plates, insurance and safety equipment for the rider. There could be scope to change such legislation however to accommodate such vehicles thanks to their reduced environmental impact on cities’ roads.

Speaking of the eQuads being tested, industrial engineering director for UPS Nicole Pilet explained: “New York is a complicated city, when we look at the density. So if we can have success here in the city, then we can see how we implement in other cities throughout the U.S.”

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