Singapore Post Limited (SingPost) and TUMCREATE have announced that a road trial will commence on 28 March 2017 of a prototype electric three-wheeler that is environmentally friendly and features innovations to boost mail delivery efficiency.
The vehicles were developed by researchers with the support of the management team at TUMCREATE, in conjunction with SingPost, the customised vehicle will serve as a test bed for concepts that will guide SingPost’s application of electric vehicle technology for postal operations and eCommerce logistics.
In a press statement, it is noted that the three-wheeler has been designed to streamline postal processes, improve rider experience and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
SingPost currently operates a fleet of 674 petrol-driven scooters for last mile postal delivery. Of these, about half are three-wheelers, which offer greater ride stability and load capacity than conventional two-wheelers.
Mr Tan Tien Po, SingPost Senior Vice President for Domestic Mail, said, “Innovation and the application of new technologies are how we improve SingPost’s services and meet the evolving postal needs of Singapore. We are excited to take this step forward with TUMCREATE, towards realising an urban logistics solution that addresses the future needs of mail and eCommerce logistics, increasing demands for fast and flexible delivery, and the growing need for environmental sustainability.”
Prof Ulf Schlichtmann, Professor at Technical University of Munich (TUM) and TUMCREATE Program Director, said, “I am really excited about this innovative vehicle for Singapore which our dedicated TUMCREATE 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 local exhaust emissions and, with relative simplicity and fewer moving parts compared with combustion engines, reduces maintenance costs and downtime. Additionally, it offers near-silent operation, thus curbing noise disturbance, especially during deliveries in residential areas.
Modular batteries, the costliest component of the vehicle, were developed by TUMCREATE so that fleet cost may be optimised by matching battery capacity to the route on which the vehicle is deployed. By changing the battery configuration, the vehicle’s range may be configured to 35 kilometres, which is sufficient for an average mail delivery route – or 70 kilometres, which will satisfy almost all postal delivery trips made.
“By changing the battery configuration, the vehicle’s range may be configured to 35 kilometres, which is sufficient for an average mail delivery route – or 70 kilometres, which will satisfy almost all postal delivery trips made,” it said.
They also noted that the vehicle features a specially designed storage system that can reduce a postman’s daily delivery routine by up to 40 minutes which is achieved through a detachable, rollable storage box that the postman may pack at his mail sorting station, wheel to the vehicle, and load up on the vehicle with the help of a motorised 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,” it wrote.
It also stated that the box, at 567 litres, offers 23 percent more carrying capacity than those on existing postal scooters which enhances delivery efficiency, especially as postal services are used increasingly for eCommerce delivery.
SingPost stated that the trial will take place along two delivery routes between SingPost’s Ayer Rajah Regional Delivery Base and the National University of Singapore and end on 7 April 2017.
“Three SingPost postmen have been assigned to provide real-world feedback for further development, while a manufacturing partner is being sought to convert the prototype into a market-ready product,” it added.