TUMCREATE with an interdisciplinary team of engineers and designers have jointly developed and built a unique 3-wheeled electric scooter for cargo handling and delivery operations in megacities. This work was done in collaboration with Singapore Post Ltd. (SingPost), the Singaporean postal services and ecommerce logistics provider.
With the increase of e-commerce, the postal volume for delivery has been consistently increasing. Catering to this growth, the delivery vehicles have to upgrade their carrying capacity as there has been a significant rise in the fleet mileage and hence the impact of these delivery vehicles on urban congestion and pollution is a growing concern. On the other hand, higher postal volume and increasing complexity of delivery logistics have led to inefficient and arduous warehouse operations. Considering these challenges, LEO has been designed with the following features:
Portable cargo compartment for improved cargo handling
Modular battery system enabling cost optimization for the vehicle fleet
Compact vehicle-platform for fast-agile and emission free urban utility
Smart connectivity for increasing resource efficiency
Portable Cargo Compartment
Currently, a micro transportation gap exists within cargo handling operations. The cargo arrives in warehouses, where it is stored and processed. This cargo needs to be transported to the vehicles which ultimately deliver it. This micro transport from the warehouse to the vehicle can be highly time, effort and finance consuming depending on the type of cargo handled.
The portable cargo compartment designed for LEO can be detached/attached within seconds on press of a button and can be rolled inside the building where cargo is directly sorted into this compartment. For SingPost this solution improves their workflow saving 40min of time and effort per post officer per day.
Modular Battery System
Battery is the most expensive and a considerably heavy component in an electric vehicle. Postal services have very predictable operations. They have fixed delivery zones and driving distances, hence a single battery pack designed for the maximum distance would be underutilized in many cases adding unnecessary cost and weight. Hence, a modular battery pack is a solution enabling cost optimization over the entire vehicle fleet. LEO has battery modules of 35 km range optimally designed for Singapore Post. A fleet manager can configure the vehicles to have a range of either 35 km or 70 km without compromising on vehicle performance.
Compact Vehicle Platform
Urban deliveries vehicles should be agile; they need to travel quickly through traffic and narrow streets while carrying high payloads and volumes for making deliveries on time. Current market offers several cargo scooters which may be agile but are not suitable for high payloads and volumes. The 4-wheelers on the other hand can carry heavy cargo and big volumes but get affected by urban congestion and have difficulties finding parking spaces. LEO addresses this issue with a compact 3-wheel platform with a footprint fitting within a standard 2-wheeler parking lot. It features a tilting rider cabin and has a cargo carrying capacity of 600 litres - 120 kg payload. The tilting rider cabin is independent of the cargo compartment which always stays upright. This makes it very comfortable, safe and intuitive for the rider to weave through traffic while carrying heavy cargo at the rear. With its electric powertrain, LEO is locally emission free and quiet.
The instrument cluster developed for LEO integrates useful functions into its dashboard like fleet monitoring, real-time parcel tracking, GPS routing and real-time camera recording. This enables the fleet manager to optimize delivery operations using dynamic routing, instant push notifications and vehicle tracking.
Future of LEO
LEO fills a gap in the current transportation system for cargo delivery and anticipates the future needs of this service regarding efficiency, environmental and social impacts. Field trials were conducted successfully together with SingPost in March 2017 as a first step toward implementation and concept validation, where LEO was used in the ‘real world’ for routine delivery operations in Singapore for two weeks. LEO received a very positive feedback from its primary users, the post officers. Furthermore, it maximizes operational comfort for the post officers with its innovative features and also helps escalating acceptance of this routine job, thus having a significant social impact.