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UPS launches delivery eBike in Pittsburgh

UPS launched an eBike that will deliver packages in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa. The electrically-assisted tricycle will help reduce carbon emissions in addition to traffic, noise and air quality challenges in Pittsburgh. The deployment is part of UPS’s Cycle Solutions and the company’s Rolling Laboratory, which tests alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles.

The success of the eBike was first demonstrated in 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, where UPS focused on developing a new and sustainable method of delivering goods to urban areas. UPS placed four containers at central locations in the city for interim storage of packages for UPS drivers. From these points, deliveries were made on foot or with specialized electronically-assisted cargo tricycles that ease traffic congestion and reduce emissions each working day. (Earlier post.)


Due to the success of the pilot, the Hamburg program has already been extended. That model serves as a prototype for the company’s new eBike in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The eBike is equipped with battery-powered electric motors that makes it possible to cover longer distances than traditional bikes, carry substantial loads and navigate hills and other terrain. Maximum energy efficiency is achieved when combining battery power and human power simultaneously. The eBike can be operated solely on battery power or pedal power.

UPS will evaluate the reliability, design, integration to the city’s infrastructure and acceptance of the vehicle. The intent is to operate the eBike in Pittsburgh as weather permits on a regular route year-round.

UPS has numerous cycle solutions deployed around the world. The company currently operates inner-city delivery projects with delivery on foot and by bike in Frankfurt, Offenbach, Hamburg, Munich, Oldenburg and Herne, Germany, as well as in Leuven and Mechelen, Belgium; Rome and Verona, Italy; Toulouse, France; and Dublin, Ireland.

Working with cities like Pittsburgh to provide them with a delivery solution that helps reduce congestion and emissions and improve air and noise quality is the latest example of how to meet the needs of today’s cities. We have many vehicle options when it comes to reducing our impact on the environment including our cycle solutions that provide greater mobility and fewer emissions.

—Barb Jaram, UPS Mid Atlantic District president

Using its “Rolling Laboratory” approach, UPS deploys more than 8,500 low-emission vehicles to determine what works best in each situation. Solutions range from old-fashioned pedal power and electric-assisted bicycles in dense urban areas such as London and Hamburg to electric and hybrid electric vehicles in the US, and natural gas, renewable natural gas and propane globally.


Thomas Pedersen

From the looks of it, this bike has at least two and probably three in-wheel motors. Should be quite the rocket when unloaded.

Also, plenty of space for batteries under the cargo container.

Good initiative.

Although, biking in really cold weather is just no joy. It's fine, when the temperature is constant and you can dress for it. But stepping off the bike in 20°F and into a 68°F elevator will leave you sweating like the troops in Iraq! And if the stop is long enough, you could end up getting very cold when you come back to the bike.

Factor in half an hour a day to go back for forgotten mittens...


It is a good idea, IMO.
You could stick a solar cell on the roof to make it extra green, though when you think about it, it is not a good idea (adds weight, adds complexity and only works in Summer, certainly not in winter).
None the less, it is good to use the smallest vehicle possible for any task, especially if you can replace a diesel one with an electric one.
(Cheaper, much less pollution, easier in traffic + the driver gets exercise).
Well done UPS!

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