Leave it to the folks in brown to come up with an ingenious solution to reduce strain on the road infrastructure in major cities while coming up with a method to deliver packages quicker and more efficiently. In certain cities, the big brown delivery van may be dead in favor of a fleet of small and nimble traffic-dodging electric quadricycles that are narrow enough to fit in the bike lane. What can the Fernhay eQuad do for you?
Technically the eQuad isn’t powered solely by electricity. It’s sort of a hybrid powered by a mix of electricity and cereal or sushi or whatever you ate last. It’s a four-wheeled e-assist pedal quadricycle with a top speed of 15 miles per hour. Considering the speeds achievable in many gridlocked American cities, 15 mph is probably faster than you’d go in a car anyway, and certainly faster than the big box delivery trucks can do.
At just 33 inches wide and about 10 feet long, the vehicle is certainly big enough to haul a bunch of packages, but small enough that it can fit pretty much anywhere wide enough for a human to walk through. A standard doorway is 36 inches, so technically the UPS driver could wheel this little machine right into your living room and drop your package into your lap. Talk about service!
According to Reuters, UPS just purchased 100 of these micro machines on a trial basis for trial purposes around major markets around the world. The 100 British-built machines will be tested in seven European markets, I’m guessing Paris and Rome and that kind of thing, as well as various North American and Asian cities.
These little human-and-electric-powered machines have a low load floor and a high seat so that the folks in brown can be on the level with other cyclists and it’s short enough to be seen over by riders around it. Where other delivery companies have resorted to three-wheeled pedal-assist cargo bikes, this machine actually looks much more socially acceptable as a delivery vehicle. Not only does it provide some protection for the driver, but the storage area is lockable and weatherproof. The electric assist motor is also capable of pushing some 450 pounds of cargo around, which isn’t peanuts.
Apparently with enough pedal power from the driver/rider, the UPS-branded eQuad will go around 40 miles on a single charge, so this would be a pretty good machine for delivering on local routes. Hell, maybe Fernhay should have put in a quote for the US Postal Service contract. It sounds damn near perfect for some of those routes.