The Tender e-trike is like a bike in the back and a van in the front, and is currently being trialed for grocery deliveries by a Dutch supermarket chain.
The Dutch company Urban Arrow has been designing and building electric-assist cargo bikes that have the potential to replace many car trips, thanks to their large hauling capacity on a low-slung bakfiets design, and their ability to carry children or stuff with ease, and even keep everything out of the weather with a rain canopy.
Lloyd wrote about the first prototype back in 2010, and since then, the company has developed a few variations on the electric cargo bike theme, including the Family bike, the Shorty, and the freight- and business-oriented Cargo. But Urban Arrow now has its sights set on an additional sector as well - the deliveries market - with an electric three-wheeled vehicle dubbed the Tender.
A prototype of the Tender is currently being trialed by the Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn, which is using five of the new cargo bikes for deliveries in Amsterdam. The Tender has a much beefier front end (the cargo section), including a set of what appear to be car tires, to help haul larger and heavier loads, but has a bicycle as the rear section, where it is pedaled as any other bike would be (although with the added advantage of a Bosch Performance CX electric motor and battery pack).
According to NewAtlas, the Tender has a top speed of about 16 mph (25 kph), and a charge time of three to four hours, but there are no specs published yet on the range per charge, which will obviously vary depending on the load carried and the route taken. At least two different configurations are being built, with the basic version (the Tender 1500) having a cargo capacity of 1500 liters and up to 772 lb (350kg), and the Tender 3000 having double the amount of cargo space.
Urban Arrow produced a short film (~4 minutes) that explores some of the issues that affect traffic and transport in cities, and makes a case for how electric cargo bikes can be a solution for replacing up to a third of the gas-powered delivery vehicles on the streets:
"This short film describes how the growing number of inhabitants, tourists and subsequent traffic is congesting the inner city. We're seeing organizations such as MarleenKookt that have adopted the electric cargo bike as a vital part of their business model and the latest development in this market, the Tender.
"With the Tender Urban Arrow is offering the solution for a growing demand for zero emission delivery vehicles. The Tender is a viable and green alternative for the delivery van." - Urban Arrow
Bikes, and more specifically electric bikes, have a number of advantages over conventional vehicles, including their maneuverability and smaller size, their ability to make deliveries with zero tailpipe emissions, and their lower costs and complexity. While regulations for commercial operators can vary by country and city, bicycles in general don't require insurance or licenses to operate, have much lower maintenance needs, and can even be quicker in congested areas than a delivery van. And considering how many commercial vehicles are in and around cities each day, each of which is taking up space on the roads and parking spots, while also contributing to air pollution, moving to a more bike-centric delivery model can be a big win for both private and public sectors.
The word on the street is that the Tender could be available commercially as soon as next year, but no other details on pricing or technical specs have been released yet. The other Urban Arrow bikes are available through the company website, with prices starting at about €3700 (~$4000 US).