DELIVERY giant DPD has orderd a fleet of 12 EAVans for evaluation from Oxfordshire based Electric Assisted Vehicles (EAV).
Costing from £10,000 for the short-wheelbase version, the EAVs – which are van-like eCargo bikes – have a range of 30 miles on a charge.
The battery can be removed for easy charging on a domestic 13amp circuit; a range of up to 60 miles is available if the batteries are piggy-backed.
The upright design has been created ‘down’ from a van rather than ‘up’ from a bicycle. The load area has been shelved to take DPD’s tote box system and has a capacity up to 120kg.
A long-wheelbase EAVan with a 2m square cargo box and 175kg payload is available for £12,000. Other EAVan options include a medium-wheelbase and pod-trailer specification.
“We wanted the EAVan to be as usable as possible by anyone,” said Adam Barmby, technical director and founder of EAV.
“Getting people out of vans and onto eCargo bikes isn’t easy if they think it’s going to be an awful experience. Being exposed to the elements or being low to traffic isn’t going to appeal to anyone.
“So, we started with the idea of the outer body of a light commercial van and we added the electric pedal-assist propulsion system. We’ve used all the electric assistance which the regulations permit including a thumb throttle, which we call an ‘e-nertia’ switch, which accelerates the EAVan up to about 3mph. After that, simply turning the pedals provides enough power to move up to 120kgs of payload in the cargo area up to a maximum assisted speed of 15mph.”
The design is modular, says EAV, and allows a variety of uses, from a pick-up to paramedic use.
EAV says the platform has the potential for larger vans and Personal Transport Vehicles (PTVs), including taxis, minibuses and even personal vehicles to replace individual cars.
Further EAVan developments include weather-proofing by adding doors, an undertray floor and in-vehicle heating and ventilation system.
Nigel Gordon-Stewart, chairman and executive director of EAV, added:
“We travel far more slowly than we think, especially in towns and cities. If we can reduce the mass of traffic, both in terms of actual weight and sheer volume, as well as remove all toxic emissions using bio-mechanical EAVans and EAVehicles, we’d have a cleaner, safer and much more enjoyable environment in which to live and work.
“And there’s no impact on business efficiency using EAVans. They’re highly efficient so it’s mainly a culture change that’s needed and EAVans and EAVehicles are really fun to use and a much healthier solution for people as a whole.”
The EAVan was launched at the recent Oxford EV Summit at the Saïd Business School of the University of Oxford.
Last year, DPD opened its first all-electric depot in London; the company plans to add a further seven all-electric depots in the capital.