UPS “Cargo Cruiser”

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Companies like FedEx and UPS are using electronically assisted trikes to deliver packages locally in Europe. The tricycles work perfectly in many European cities, which have narrow streets that make manoeuvring even small delivery vans difficult. FedEx is plying a number of tricycles in Paris, which run on a 250-watt electric motor, supplemented with pedal power. The company has partnered with Urban Cab, a transportation service, with pedal-powered “rickshaws” around the city. UPS has its “Cargo Cruiser”- a pilot project launched in 2012 at its depot in Dortmund Germany. It is small, quiet, costing next to nothing to “fuel” and maintain.

The test program in Dortmund used these trikes to deliver packages around the older sections of town since the streets are narrow and the parking spaces small. Throughout Germany, green solutions are being applied. Not only does the “Cargo Cruiser” help with deliveries in this confined cityscape, it also reduces emissions, noise pollution and traffic congestion.  It is also special because of its aerodynamic design. At night, its electric motor batteries are recharged via a standard 220-volt electric socket. In the morning, it can travel a distance around 35 km (21.75 miles). The vehicle’s top speed is 25 km/h (15.5 mph).

In 2011, UPS promoted Scott Wicker to be its first head of a completely new department: the Chief Sustainability Officer; he is the company’s top advisor and administrator of UPS’s alternative technologies. Under Wicker’s tenure, UPS has begun exploring a wide variety of sustainability options in order to help them apply alternative transport idea to any place in the world. 

UPS operates one of the largest private alternative fuel fleet in its industry, which includes more than 2,700 compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, hydraulic hybrid, electric, biomethane, ethanol, composite vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles. Since 2000 its alternative fuel fleet has travelled more than 296 million miles making deliveries.  Its global alternative fuel fleet includes vehicles in the U.S., Germany, Canada, Netherlands, Chile, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Brazil and the U.K. UPS’s first alternatively fuelled vehicle was an all-electric one in New York in 1934!

This global company knows that important issues are on the horizon, particularly the future of fuels, which is why its mission to find new technologies and alternative fuels is crucial. Already, UPS’s highly visible development of alternative fuel delivery vehicles is crucial to nurturing the evolution of lower-carbon technologies. So, back to its trial in Dortmund—this electric trike is going to help determine if it is going to be an ecologically and economically viable choice for deliveries to urban areas. 

Photo Credit: UPS 

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