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Singpost and TUMCREATE to conduct road trials of electric vehicle prototype for mail delivery

Singpost and TUMCREATE to conduct road trials of electric vehicle prototype for mail delivery

Singapore Post Limited (SingPost) and TUMCREATE will conduct road trials of environment-friendly prototype electric three-wheeler, which features innovations to boost mail delivery efficiency from March 28 2017 to April 7, 2017.

The trial will take place along two delivery routes between SingPost’s Ayer Rajah Regional Delivery Base and the National University of Singapore. Three SingPost postmen will provide feedback for further development,. A manufacturing partner is being sought to convert the prototype into a market-ready product.

TUMCREATE is a research platform of more than 100 scientists, researchers and engineers led by Professors from the Technical University of Munich and Nanyang Technological University, working for the improvement of Singapore's public transportation, including the deployment of electric and autonomous mobility. TUMCREATE is funded by Singapore’s National Research Foundation as part of the Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise (CREATE).

The 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.

SingPost currently operates a fleet of 674 petrol-driven scooters for last mile postal delivery. Around half of the feel is composed of three-wheelers, which offer greater ride stability and load capacity compared to two-wheelers. The three wheeler has been designed to streamline postal processes, improve rider experience and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The vehicle’s all-electric drive produces zero local exhaust emissions. It is nearly silent in operations, reducing noise during deliveries in residential areas.

The sidewalls of the storage box are made from an advanced bamboo composite developed by advanced fibre composite material researchers under the Future Cities Laboratory at the Singapore-ETH Centre.

Lower operating costs

It had relatively lower maintenance costs and downtime in comparison with combustion engines due to fewer moving parts.

The costliest component of the vehicle are modular batteries. The batteries developed by TUMCREATE can help in optimising fleet cost 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 the travel range of almost all postal delivery trips.

Battery degradation caused by fast charging  can be avoided by incorporating regular charging into routine overnight parking of postal vehicles at delivery bases.

Smart instrument cluster

The electric three-wheeler’s smart instrument cluster includes dynamic GPS routing for priority deliveries and optimised delivery routing, fleet monitoring for data collection and management, integrated cameras, and on-demand tracking.

Reduction in delivery routine duration

The vehicle’s specially designed storage system can reduce a postman’s daily delivery routine by up to 40 minutes.

It has 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. The postman no longer requires a separate trolley to transport mail from sorting station to his delivery vehicle, cutting down on packing and unpacking.

The box offers 23% higher carrying capacity than those on existing postal scooters. This enhances delivery efficiency, especially as postal services are used increasingly for eCommerce delivery.

Better manoeuvrability and stability

Manoeuvrability and stability when cornering is improved by an articulated tilt mechanism that allows the rider cabin to lean into a turn, independent from the rear cargo section. This increases the vehicle’s agility and reduces steering effort and counteracts cornering forces. While parked, the tilt mechanism is locked to ensure a stable position on three wheels without a kickstand.

Mr Tan Tien Po, SingPost Senior Vice President for Domestic Mail, said, “Innovation and the application of new technologies is 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.”

Read press release here.Featured image: SingPost

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