Delivery giant UPS is trialling a four-wheeled “eQuad” electric cargo bike for deliveries in densely packed urban areas, where bikes have better and easier access than conventional vehicles and are often faster.

UPS has ordered around 100 of the four-wheeled electric bikes, designed and built by British firm Fernhay, which it will test initially in seven European markets with trials in the United States and some Asian markets set to follow. Luke Wake, UPS vice president of fleet maintenance and engineering, said it would use electric quad bikes from other manufacturers within the trials.

The Fernhay eQuad has an electric-assisted top speed of around 25 kilometres and can carry up to 200 kilograms of packages. Its electric battery has a range of around 65 km, more than adequate for a shift delivering in inner urban settings.

The vehicle is only 91 cm wide, meaning it can legally use bike lanes and enter pedestrian zones that UPS’ vans and trucks cannot access. UPS believes there is an opportunity to scale up the use of the bikes in megacities and “complement its range of vans and trucks”.

“There are more and more opportunities for zero-emission solutions like this that can alleviate inner-city congestion,” Wake said, adding “It can also help our operations be more efficient at the same time.”