As part of the Low Impact City Logistics project, the electric-assist cargo trailers are meant to help ease traffic congestion and reduce air pollution in urban areas.
In an attempt to find viable solutions that could remove trucks and vans from congested areas in cities, a pilot program in London will see some UPS deliveries being hauled on electric cargo trailers behind bicycles instead of in the company's traditional brown vehicles. The electric-assist bike trailers will be employed in November and December in Camden, and if the trial is successful, this "depot-to-door delivery" solution could be expanded to other locations in the UK and possibly beyond.
"Low Impact City Logistics is a collaborative project that could revolutionize the way we deliver packages in our cities. UPS has a long history of developing, deploying and promoting the use of more sustainable technology and delivery methods – and this collaboration will facilitate a one-of-a-kind urban delivery solution." - Peter Harris, Director of Sustainability, UPS Europe
The trailer, which can carry up to 200 kg (440 lb) of parcels, integrates an electric drive system that essentially offsets its own weight, something the developers are calling "net-neutral technology." The electric trailer also includes a regenerative braking function to return some of the charge to the battery while slowing the vehicle.
"As the logistics industry faces the challenge of reducing emissions, tackling congestion and navigating access issues, the developed net-neutral trailer solution has the potential to revolutionise how deliveries are made in our cities." - Rob King, Managing Director of Oustpoken Delivery
The Low Impact City Logistics project, which is underwritten by Innovate UK to the tune of £10 million, is led by product development firm Fernhay, with UPS, Skotkonung, University of Huddersfield, and Outspoken Delivery as the other partners.