UPS eBike - UPS Chairman and CEO David Abney

UPS Now Delivers By E-Bike

The traditional bike messenger rig is about to get a lot bigger and a lot browner.

UPS eBike - UPS Chairman and CEO David Abney
UPS eBike – UPS Chairman and CEO David Abney (not in shorty-shorts)

UPS announced this month that it began testing e-tricycle delivery this November in Portland, Ore., (of course).

How the global parcel courier managed to keep it a secret is astounding. I mean look at this rig!

UPS bike delivery

UPS eBike ‘Cargo Cruisers’

Bike delivery is nothing new. Major metro areas around the U.S. have embraced bike messengers for their speed and efficiency in navigating urban landscapes.

But the UPS Cargo Cruiser takes it to a much larger level.

According to UPS, it launched this first U.S. eBike test program on Nov. 21. The test is part of the company’s “Rolling Laboratory,” a testing program for alternative-energy vehicles.

It first debuted its Cargo Cruisers in Hamburg, Germany, in 2012. That program proved successful and UPS renewed the Cruisers’ use there into 2017.

UPS e-bike courier

Drivers can run the covered e-trikes entirely on pedal-power, or in conjunction with the electric motor.

The Cruiser is reportedly a custom modification of the Portland-made Truck Trike. It can haul a whopping 600 pounds—in addition to a 200-pound driver.

Portland was a natural fit for testing in the U.S. It’s consistently a top cycling city by most rankings. It’s also a UPS hub for non-motorized, seasonal bicycle delivery.

Believe it or not, cycling is in UPS’s DNA.

“Early in our 109-year history, UPS operated as a bike messenger company,” said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president of global engineering and sustainability.

The company plans to test more e-trikes around the country in 2017.

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the editor-in-chief of GearJunkie and a fan of virtually all sports and activities. From biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming — if it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.