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Will this teeny electric bicycle van thing save our city centres?

Has this Oxford-based company invented the delivery van of the future?

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Fully electric delivery vans are nothing new. Nissan, Peugeot, Renault and Citroen will all sell you an emissions-free workhorse that’ll help to limit pollution in built-up areas. What those options can’t solve, though, are congestion issues at the same time.

Step forward the EAVan. Yes, we know it looks remarkably odd, but stick with us here. Designed and built by Oxford-based startup EAV, it’s described as a bio-mechanical electrically-assisted super-lightweight delivery vehicle. In plain English – it’s a four-wheeled bicycle with an electric motor attached and a big boot for parcels. 

Seems like a worthy idea for city centres doesn’t it? And surely anything that gets a bit more traffic off the roads – or off less of the road at least – is a good thing for the rest of us. 

With its 250-watt motor, the EAVan can apparently cover a range of up to 60 miles at 15mph (although we reckon Chris Hoy might be able to eek out a bit more speed using the pedals). It can then be recharged in six hours by using a standard 13amp, 240v plug socket, or the battery can be swapped out for a fully-charged spare.

The body is made from advanced composites; one of which is carbon fibre, another is made from hemp fibres that are bonded together with a resin based on the oil from cashew nut shells. Yeah, us neither. 

The EAVan can be had in multiple body styles. There’s a LWB version, a pod and trailer combo and plenty more possibilities. Plus, EAV says it comes under ebike legislation but includes a number of vehicle attributes such as lights, load ratings and wing mirrors.

Delivery firm DPD has already placed orders, as have Norwegian and Danish/Swedish postal services, and EAV are now crowdfunding to take the EAVan further. The company reckons they could also be flatbed trucks, ambulances, security vehicles or taxis.

So, what do you think Internet, will we be seeing these all over our city centres in the near future?

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