UPS has announced its first eBike in the US. The electrically-assisted tricycle began delivering packages in Portland, Oregon last month. UPS anticipates this eBike prototype could become a component of its delivery capabilities in some other cities across the country.
The pilot program was first demonstrated in 2012 in collaboration with the city of Hamburg, Germany. UPS placed four containers at central locations in the city for interim storage of packages for UPS service providers. From these points, deliveries were made on foot or with specialized bicycles called “Cargo Cruisers,” UPS’s electronically-assisted tricycles. The pilot program was extended in February 2015 for another two years. That model serves as a guidepost for the company’s new program in Portland.
According to UPS, Portland was a logical choice for the first U.S. deployment as the company already uses traditional bicycles for delivery seasonally in this city.
The eBike is equipped with battery-powered electric motors, making it possible to cover further distances, carry substantial loads, and navigate hills and other terrain. It can be operated solely on battery power or pedal power. During the testing phase, UPS will evaluate the reliability, design, integration to the city’s infrastructure and acceptance of the vehicle. If successful, UPS envisions additional eBike deployment and testing in 2017.