- UPS is piloting a project in downtown Seattle using cargo eBikes to make last-mile deliveries in an effort to reduce dwell times, carbon emissions and city congestion.
- Although UPS has used bikes for delivery in several other cities, UPS said the Seattle project is unique in that it's the first modular cargo container system piloted in the U.S. These detachable boxes can hold up to 400 pounds.
- The design of the bike will allow drivers to "make deliveries to areas conventional delivery trucks can’t access directly and currently require that trucks be parked on the periphery for long periods of time," thereby reducing idle time for trucks.
Electric bikes may be the ideal solution for last-mile deliveries in congested urban areas, as they solve many of the problems related to deliveries by truck or van. Their smaller size lets them to navigate small city streets inaccessible to larger vehicles. The eBikes in Seattle will travel on sidewalks and designated bike lanes.
The unique modular design of the bikes being tested in Seattle allows a cargo container to be loaded at a distribution facility and then attached to the bike, rather than individual parcels being loaded into a van.
The bikes also require no fuel consumption, creating zero carbon emissions and saving fuel costs for logistics providers and shippers. According to UPS, every three bikes deployed saves 17 gallons of fuel daily. The bikes can travel up to 12 hours a day and require four hours to recharge.
UPS has made significant strides in adopting a more sustainable fleet, acquiring hybrid and electric vehicles as well as vehicles using alternative fuels, such as liquefied natural gas.
The company has bikes, both pedal-powered and electric, in eight U.S. states along with several cities in Europe.
With its cargo eBike pilot in Seattle, UPS has come full circle — it started as a bike messenger company in the city in 1907. "It's exciting to return to our roots," Scott Phillippi, UPS senior director of maintenance and engineering, international operations, said in a statement.
If successful, UPS will expand the bike routes to other parts of Seattle.