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UPS Debuts Bike Delivery Service

December 9, 2016

In an effort to help solve the ever-evolving demands of urban logistics, UPS asks 'what can Brown deliver to you, on a fixie?'

UPS has debuted the first eBike parcel delivery service in the United States. This new electrically-assisted tricycle began delivering packages in  Portland, Ore., on November 21. As UPS continues to adopt sustainable and environmental friendly solutions company-wide, the Portland market proved to be a logical choice to launch this service given the region's steadfast commitment to sustainability. The company anticipates that this eBike service could become a component of its delivery capabilities in more cities across the country in 2017.



Image Credit: UPS


“Early in our 109 year history, UPS operated as a bike messenger company,” said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president global engineering and sustainability. “While we have evolved and developed a vast network of ground and air vehicles, the bicycle may be making a comeback as we navigate through crowded urban areas and continue our focus on environmental sustainability.”

The success of this pilot program was first demonstrated in 2012 in collaboration with the city of Hamburg, Germany. It 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 service providers. From these points, deliveries were made on foot or with specialized bicycles called “Cargo Cruisers,” UPS’s electronically-assisted tricycles. These alternate delivery solutions helped ease traffic congestion and reduce emissions each working day. Due to the success of the pilot, the Hamburg program was extended in February 2015 for another two years. That model serves as a guidepost for the company’s new program in Portland, Ore.



Image Credit: Mark Gamba for Truck Trike via Bikeportland.org


“Portland, like all cities, is looking for ways to fight urban congestion and pollution,” said Portland Mayor, Charlie Hales.  “It’s great when a company like UPS brings us a unique solution that will help us combat climate change and protect the environment.”

"While we have evolved and developed a vast network of ground and air vehicles,” said Mark Wallace, UPS senior VP of global engineering and sustainability, “the bicycle may be making a comeback as we navigate through crowded urban areas and continue our focus on environmental sustainability.”



Image Credit: UPS


UPS’s new trike will share bike lanes with existing local pedal-powered freight delivery companies like B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery and Portland Pedal Power. The trike being used by UPS is a custom version of the Truck Trike made by Portland local, Bill Stites. Stites' innovative Truck Trike is designed to carry over 600 pounds of cargo plus 200 pounds of driver.



A Portland Pedal Power delivery in action, courtesy of PortlandPedalPower.com


The eBike is equipped with battery-powered electric motors that makes it possible to cover further distances, 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. 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.


Cover Photo by Mark Gamba for Truck Trike via Bikeportland.org

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