Royal Mail to Trial e-Trikes for Parcel and Letter Deliveries
In a move to make deliveries more environmentally sound, the Royal Mail is to trial eight custom built e-Trikes for six months in Stratford, Sutton Coldfield and Cambridge. The e-Trikes are battery and solar powered assisted by good old-fashioned pedalling. For the rider, the cabin area will be covered on the front and the top.
The pedalling is battery assisted, in case you’re concerned about your local postie struggling up a hill with a heavy load of parcels in a strong wind. The e-Trikes have caught the imagination, but the Royal Mail will also be trialling more conventional electric vans for where such a thing as an electric bike is not appropriate. Director of Public Affairs, David Gold, says that the plan is to progress forward and “continue to deliver letters and parcels safely, efficiently and responsibly.”
The e-Trikes will house a 250w motor and two solar panels on the roof of the letter and parcel-carrying compartment. Built-in lighting for those dark winter mornings will keep the e-Trikes safe, along with disc brakes to stop what might end up being quite a weight in comparison to any other type of bike currently on UK roads.
Should the trials prove successful, and I can see of no reason why they wouldn’t be, then Royal Mail will consider rolling out the programme to the rest of the UK. What is interesting about this trial is that it was only as recent as 2014 that Royal Mail phased out the last of the remaining traditional Pashley postie bikes that we are probably all so familiar with. Curiously, even at the time this went against the grain somewhat, as the likes of TNT were delivering up to 95% of mail by cycle, and the company are still increasing their fleet of bikes. Royal Mail cited health and safety as one reason for phasing out the Pashleys.
While it might look like manifestation of a wild took took ride from your past holiday nightmares, the e-Trikes are inherently safer than the old post-bike with the rider being less exposed to the dangers of the road and passing traffic – but I still wouldn’t fancy trying to reverse one. Interestingly, back when the post-bike was being phased out, Royal Mail had already started looking at e-bikes, but they had a concern that above a certain weight limit an e-cycle might then be classed in the same category as a motorbike. There has since been a change in the law in the UK, and the restrictions implemented by the Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle Regulations 1983 were finally updated in 2015.
I think it’s a great idea. As someone who cycles, I very much like the idea of a bike that becomes ever increasingly lighter the more you use it.
Images: bikesr4riding.com, hulldailymail.co.uk, bikeradar.com, cambridge105.co.uk