By Allison Reilly
PARIS – Four is a small number, but four is already having a big impact in the French capital. FedEx in France has incorporated four electronic bikes into its fleet and will increase that number to 12 next month. These four e-bikes have already made big difference in delivery speeds and operation costs.
“We are very committed to customer service, “ said Dirk Van Impe, the managing director of ground operations in France. “E-bikes brings us closer to customers and improves the customer experience.”
Paris plans to develop 400 miles of bike lanes by 2014, and these bikes can utilize the lanes that are already in place. These bikes can also get to places that typical delivery trucks cannot. Van Impe said that currently, only one postal code is served exclusively by the bikes and plan to add another postal code in October. The e-bikes used are from a transportation service in France called Urban Cab, which gave FedEx the rights to use these bikes in the city. They require manual peddling to start and can travel at speeds up to 12 miles an hour. One e-bike has around 2 cubic feet of carrying capacity, which holds about 330 pounds of express packages. The carrying compartment can also be removed from the e-bike in order to ease the loading process. As a result, productivity has increased 20 to 50 percent per parcel, meaning that there are more deliveries per hour compared with a normal delivery truck or car.
“The e-bike is dedicated to our type of operations,” Van Impe said. “They’re part of the future, and part of our strategy of reducing emissions and operating costs.”
The goal is to reduce carbon emissions by 2020, and the e-bikes have zero CO2 emissions. Van Impe said Paris was the perfect place to reach for this goal because of the cities environmental aspects and the e-bikes are flexible with pedestrian-only walkways and in areas of dense activity.
“As a company that delivers more than 7 million packages a day to more than 220 countries and territories, FedEx seeks to connect the world in responsible and resourceful ways,” said Mitch Johnson, director of environmental affairs & sustainability for FedEx. Plans are in motion to expand the use of the e-bikes to other European cities like Munich, Milan, Amsterdam and Brussels, as well as other cities in France.
Video of the bikes in actions: http://mediacenter.fedex.designcdt.com/node/482