Singapore Post (SingPost) has begun trialling an electric three-wheel delivery vehicle today (March 28) with the purpose of reducing carbon emissions for inner city deliveries.
The prototype has been developed as part of a joint initiative between SingPost and TUM-Create, a research platform for the improvement of Singapore’s public transportation, including the deployment of electric and autonomous mobility.
SingPost currently operates a fleet of 674 petrol-driven scooters for last-mile postal delivery, approximately half of which are three-wheelers.
Tan Tien Po, senior vice president for domestic mail, SingPost, said, “Innovation and the application of new technologies is how we improve SingPost’s services and meet the evolving postal needs of Singapore. We are excited to take this step forward with TUM-Create, toward realizing an urban logistics solution that addresses the future needs of mail and e-commerce logistics, increasing demands for fast and flexible delivery, and the growing need for environmental sustainability.”
Prof. Ulf Schlichtmann, from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and TUM-Create program director, said, “I am really excited about this innovative vehicle for Singapore which our dedicated TUM-Create team has developed in cooperation with SingPost. It has been a very rewarding collaboration, and we feel that Singapore will benefit from our research expertise which is backed up by TUM’s strong track record in vehicular technology, especially electrically powered vehicles.”
The vehicle’s all-electric drive produces zero exhaust emissions and has fewer moving parts compared with combustion engines, reducing maintenance costs and downtime. Additionally, it offers near-silent operation, thus curbing noise disturbance for deliveries in residential areas.
Modular batteries, the costliest component of the vehicle, were developed by TUM-Create so that fleet cost may be optimized by matching battery capacity to the route on which the vehicle is deployed. By changing the battery configuration, the vehicle’s range may be altered to 35km (21.7 miles), which is sufficient for an average mail delivery route, or 70km (43.4 miles), which will satisfy almost any postal delivery route.
The vehicle features a specially designed storage system that can reduce a postman’s daily delivery routine by up to 40 minutes. This is achieved through a detachable storage box that the postman may pack at their mail sorting station, wheel to the vehicle, and load with the help of a motorized hoist. Packing and unpacking is cut down as the postman no longer requires a separate trolley to transport mail from sorting station to his delivery vehicle. The box, at 567 liters, offers 23% more carrying capacity than those on existing postal scooters.
Maneuverability and stability when cornering is improved by an articulated tilt mechanism that allows the rider cabin to lean into a turn, independent from the rear cargo section. This increases the vehicle’s agility and reduces steering effort and counteracts cornering forces. While parked, the tilt mechanism is locked to ensure a stable position on three wheels without a kickstand.
The electric three-wheeler is equipped with a smart instrument cluster that includes dynamic GPS routing, fleet monitoring and data collection systems, integrated cameras, and on-demand tracking.
The trial will take place along two delivery routes between SingPost’s Ayer Rajah Regional Delivery Base and the National University of Singapore. Three SingPost employees have been assigned to provide feedback for further development, while a manufacturing partner is being sought to convert the prototype into a market-ready product. The trial will end on April 7, 2017.
March 28, 2017