You could see one of these bikes whizzing past you soon in the United States.
For 10 years now, UPS has been adding eco-friendly vehicles to their Rolling Laboratory project, which boasts over 700 different vehicles around the world that have minimum to no harmful effects on the environment.
What started out as a way to be more fuel-efficient wound up solving the problem of delivering down narrow streets and in neighborhoods that don’t allow trucks. In a number of European cities, like Hamburg, Germany, large trucks are banned during business hours as part of a 20-year plan to make the city greener and cleaner. UPS combats this by putting out its fleet of delivery tricycles, or the Cargo Cruiser, which has 77 cubic feet of cargo space, can move at 15 mph, and lasts for 21 miles.
While it become normal to see this in European nations, including Switzerland and England, the vehicles had not yet been introduced to the U.S. until now. In early December 2016, UPS debuted the first U.S. Cargo Cruisers in Portland, Oregon where the mayor, Charlie Hales, said,
“Portland, like all cities, is looking for ways to fight urban congestion and pollution. It’s great when a company like UPS brings us a unique solution that will help us combat climate change and protect the environment.”
This trial will help UPS determine the effectiveness and efficiency of using the bikes over traditional truck methods, and it’s the prime starting place because Portland is often referred to as “Bike City USA.” The city is known for its environmentally-friendly policies and liberal attitudes, making it the perfect debut spot.
The company has already come a long way in their effort to be more fuel-efficient and last August, they announced that they had successfully driven 1 billion miles with its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet. David Abney, Chairman and CEO of UPS said,
“We had a big sustainability goal as we set out to make the most of our rolling laboratory by driving 1 billion clean miles in alternative fuel vehicles – that’s the equivalent of well over 4,000 trips to the moon. With more than 100,000 drivers logging more than 3 billion miles per year, our future depends on our ability to meet the growing demand for global trade while reducing our impact on the environment.”
Hopefully this trial in Portland will be successful and persuade the company to deploy the bikes elsewhere in the U.S., where environmental policies are likely to fall by the wayside or thrown out altogether with this new Trump administration. Based on the success it has had in the past, there’s a good chance that you’ll be seeing a bike near you fairly soon.
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