DPD has worked in partnership with a British-based start-up on the “common sense” design of a new electric-assisted urban delivery vehicle, the first of which will be on the roads this summer.

Electric Assisted Vehicles (EAV) consists of a team of engineers from the automotive, motorsport and aerospace sectors working on designs that they claim will disrupt the way products and services are moved in urban areas.

The firm’s approach with the building of its Project 1 (P1) eCargo bike has been to conceptually 'engineer down' from current LCVs rather than ‘engineer up’ from bicycles.

In doing so, the manufacturer said that operators of the P1 will still find many of the elements of using a van they’re used to but with the efficiencies and zero emission capability of an eCargo bike.

Nigel Gordon-Stewart, MD at EAV, said: “We’ve created a vehicle with Project 1 that will lead on to an entire range of mobility solution vehicles. All highly functional, exceptionally environmentally aware, easy and great fun to use. Also, they have to be very cool to look at which is another crucial cultural point.”

The result is a quadracycle that is peddled and steered just like a traditional bike. It has a thumb switch to accelerate up to 6mph, after which simply turning the crank by peddling provides electric assistance to tackle longer journeys or slopes.

It’s narrow enough to fit down a cycle path and can hold, in short wheelbase form, six cargo containers delivering a 150kg payload.

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It’s compatible with all charging stations, but the battery packs are removable too and also replaceable. This will allow replacement as battery technology continues to improve.

Dwain McDonald, DPD CEO, said: “Our aim is to be the most responsible city centre delivery company, which means neutralising our carbon footprint and developing smarter, cleaner and more sustainable parcel delivery services.

“Not only does the P1 look amazing, it is also incredibly smart, flexible and future-proofed. As a result, it is perfect for UK city centres and we are really looking forward to adding it to our rapidly expanding zero-emission fleet in July.”

Adam Barmby, founder and technical director at EAV, added: “We would like to re-educate the population on common sense vehicle design and intelligent methods of mobility that deliver a sense of purpose and place for urban populations.”

He added that EAV is already looking how the technology can be extended for other uses, as the chassis design is modular and enables it to be wider, longer or shorter for multiple applications. Full weather protection is also in development for year-round use.

The technology and engineering of the vehicle was developed by EAV with design partner New Territory responsible for its appearance.