“In Pittsburgh we welcome solutions like the UPS eBike to reduce traffic congestion and tackle urban growth,” said William Peduto. Mayor of Pittsburgh. “We encourage companies like UPS to work with our residents and businesses to create innovative solutions to the complex urban challenges we face every day. This effort aligns perfectly with the ONEPGH Resilience Strategy and our efforts to make Pittsburgh a thriving 21st Century city that is livable for all.”
UPS’s eBike first hit the roads in 2012 in Hamburg, Germany. UPS placed a focus on developing a new and sustainable method of delivering goods to urban areas, and Hamburg was, for various reasons, the ideal place to start. Considering the eBikes’ smaller capacity, UPS set up four containers at central city locations as interim package storage hubs. From these points, deliveries were made on foot or via specialized, electronically-assisted cargo tricycles. The pilot project proved to be so successful, it has already been extended in Hamburg and the model is serving as a template for the company’s new eBike service in Pittsburgh.
Given the requirements demanded by any type of UPS parcel delivery vehicle, the new eBikes boast a number of dedicated engineering features. For instance, their battery-powered electric motors had to be strong enough to cover longer distances than traditional eBikes. In addition, the UPS eBikes must carry heavy loads and still be able to navigate hills and other features of the urban terrain. Though maximum energy efficiency is achieved by combining battery power and human power simultaneously, the eBike can run on either battery power or pedal power. Weather, of course, can be unpredictable but UPS’s stated intent is to operate their eBikes in Pittsburgh on a regular route year-round, weather permitting.