NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — Sleek four-wheeled carts sound familiar enough, but not even UPS knows exactly what could be the delivery giant’s latest way to get packages delivered to your door.
UPS on Tuesday unveiled a battery-powered, four-wheeled cycle to move cargo more efficiently and reduce its carbon footprint on some of the world’s most congested roads. The company is trying to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
The slender vehicles are emblazoned with the company’s gold logo and stripe on a dark brown background. But the “Equad” – as the company calls it – gets entertainment from passersby.
Ian Lagovitz had never seen one and went on to look for it.
“It looks strange,” he said, “but it’s probably good for the city, isn’t it?”
Mohammad Islam called the vehicle “cool stuff” and wished the event.
“Big trucks always block traffic,” he said, “so if they do that kind of stuff, it’s 10 times better for everyone.”
The pedal-powered vehicle was dwarfed by one of the company’s more traditional delivery trucks, which rumble through traffic and sometimes draw the ire of motorists trying to approach trucks parked in narrow streets.
Delivery companies have tried all kinds of ways to deliver packages – from traditional vans to drones. The company now has a fleet of over 1,000 electric vehicles and thousands more that are not powered by conventional gas engines.
UPS said a trial run is centered in New York City and several cities in Europe.
“New York is a complex city when we look at density,” said Nicole Pilate, UPS’s director of industrial engineering. “So if we can have success here in the city, we can see how we implement in other cities across America”
The company started in Seattle more than a century ago and the first deliveries were done on foot or by bicycle. As the company grew, so did its motorized fleet.
“It’s right in my wheelhouse,” said Dyton Anderson, a 22-year-old UPS delivery person and an avid cyclist who is helping run the program. “I ride to and from work—from the Bronx to even the 43rd here—so it’s very comfortable for me.”
Associated Press writer Bobby Cana Calvan contributed to this story.