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Sustainable logistics provider Urb-it has partnered with Dutch-based solar-powered e-cargo trike manufacturer Need the Globe (NTG) to test its world-first SunRider e-cargo trike in Glasgow.

By harnessing solar power and enabling charging on the move, the SunRider reduces ongoing charging time. Urb-it said this makes it an ideal choice to add to its fleet of e-cargo bikes, as part of the company’s continued effort for cost-efficient and sustainable deliveries for the last mile.

By utilising ongoing charging, the Solar Cargo Bike extends its operational range by adding up to an additional 100km per day. Equipped with a spacious euro pallet-sized cargo box, the SunRider also enables Urb-it to offer customisable options that suit a multitude of requirements. With its payload capacity of up to 150kg it can transport a wide range of goods easily.

“The SunRider offers so much potential to enhance our sustainable last mile deliveries that we thought Urb-it would have to test it operationally on the cycle paths of Glasgow, our northernmost centre,” said Hannes Skugghall, chief mission officer, Urb-it.

Testing this solution in Glasgow poses unique challenges due to the city’s limited sunshine; however, Urb-it believes the Scottish city presents an ideal testing ground to evaluate the trike’s performance under challenging climatic conditions.

“We wanted to test the trike’s performance in Glasgow to ultimately see how the performance could be measured against the other major cities we service across in the UK, France and Spain,” explained Skugghall.

The sunshine hours in Glasgow peak at almost 200 hours per month in Spring, falling to around 35 hours per month in the middle of winter.

“With limited sunlight, the efficiency and charging capacity of the solar panels may be significantly affected, and as a result, we wanted to test the trike’s range and overall performance,” added Skugghall.

“The unpredictable weather, frequent cloud cover, and shorter daylight hours pose obstacles to harnessing sufficient solar energy for continuous operation. This means that we need to optimise the trike’s energy management system to maximise efficiency and battery life, and we are working closely with the manufacturers to provide the necessary data that will help drive further innovation in advanced solar panel designs and energy storage capacity.”

While the trial has only just begun, there has been some positive feedback from Glasgow.

Terry Gibb, city manager for Glasgow, Urb-it, said: “We now have an additional tool to help drive our committed objective of sustainable last mile logistics for Glasgow. The initial results are very promising for the future, and we have more flexibility and increased payload for our city’s great ecommerce companies. We look forward to working with SunRider as we continue to test the trike in the early summer months to see the level of improved performance and to give our clients the sustainable delivery options they so desperately need.”