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Big Brown is going small in test of e-cargo bikes

UPS said on Friday that it will begin testing electric cargo bikes in select U.S. cities, as well as European and Asian markets.

In an interview with Reuters, Luke Wake, UPS vice president of fleet maintenance and engineering, said Big Brown would deploy four-wheeled eQuad electric cargo bikes in seven European markets and select U.S. and Asian cities.

The eQuad is manufactured by British firm Fernhay. Reuters reported the company indicated e-cargo bikes from other companies would be part of the trials but did not identify those manufacturers.

UPS (NYSE: UPS) introduced the eQuad at Expo 2020 Dubai. At less than 3 feet wide, the eQuad is pedal-powered with electric assist, easing the strain on the driver, and is capable of using bike lanes due to its diminutive size. Its body includes a storage bin for hauling items.

“There are more and more opportunities for zero-emission solutions like this that can alleviate inner-city congestion,” Wake told Reuters during a demonstration of the vehicle in London. “It can also help our operations be more efficient at the same time.”

In the initial Expo 2020 announcement, Wake said the eQuads are a natural fit for dense urban environments.

“The eQuads are specifically designed with changes in urban delivery in mind,” he said. “Many cities around the world not only have more pedestrian areas but are also growing fast, resulting in more package deliveries in busy areas inaccessible to larger vehicles. The eQuad is a solution that can deliver throughout cities reducing noise, emissions and congestion.”

UPS has more than 12,000 alternative-power vehicles in its global fleet, including three-wheeled cargo bikes. It has placed an order for 10,000 electric vans from Arrival (NASDAQ: ARVL) and is also testing electric aircraft from Beta Technologies. UPS has agreed to trial 10 of the electric aircraft for use in small and midsize markets, with an option to purchase up to 150 of the planes in all.

Click for more articles by Brian Straight.

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