Pelican’s ebike freight train can haul over 1,000 lb of cargo

In the realm of urban freight transport, the pelicanTrain stands out as a significant innovation, reshaping how cargo is moved within city confines. This unique cargo bike system, originating from France, distinguishes itself by combining an electric cargo bike with one or two powered trailers, presenting a greener and more efficient alternative for urban cargo transportation.

The Core Concept

At the heart of the pelicanTrain system is an aluminum-framed electric bike. While it is a competent bike in its own right, its real strength lies in its capacity as a cargo-hauler. The rear of the bike features a boxed frame, supporting a level rack over the 20-inch rear wheel and two lower racks at the sides. This setup alone allows for carrying up to 300 liters or 220 pounds (100 kg) of cargo. Compared to other ebikes in the market, the pelicanTrain bike may seem modest in its standalone capacity. However, its true potential is unlocked when it is combined with the additional trailers.

Expanding Capacity

The pelicanTrain transcends its initial cargo limits through the integration of one or two self-powered trailers. The first trailer, when hitched to the bike, boosts the cargo capacity by 440 pounds (200 kg) and 1,500 liters. This increase is achieved without compromising the ease of riding, thanks to Pelican’s proprietary control system that seamlessly synchronizes the acceleration and braking of the bike and trailer.

The pelicanTrain seamlessly accommodates Euro crocodile crates, fitting three on the bike and up to 16 or 200kg on the trailer. Images courtesy Pelican

The option of attaching a second trailer further enhances the system’s utility, elevating the total cargo capacity to an impressive 1,100 pounds (500 kg) or 3,000 liters. This modular approach not only increases the volume and weight capacity but also offers a flexibility unseen in similar cargo bike systems.

Performance and Practicality

In practical terms, the pelicanTrain rivals the cargo volume of small vans like the Ford Transit Connect or Volkswagen Caddy SWB, carrying nearly the same or slightly more. The design ensures that even when fully loaded, the trailers power their own weight, allowing the rider to pedal comfortably, much like riding the cargo bike alone. This feature is particularly beneficial in urban settings where maneuverability and ease of use are paramount.

Pelican provides a variety of solutions tailored to diverse needs.

Moreover, the pelicanTrain demonstrates impressive hill-climbing capabilities, handling 18% grades even when fully loaded. Each component of the system, including the bike and trailers, is equipped with individual battery packs, ensuring a range of 31 miles (50 km) under full load. A noteworthy safety feature is the emergency brake system on the trailers, which activates to immobilize the trailer in case of accidental detachment from the bike.

Comparisons and Versatility

When compared to other cargo ebike/e-trailer setups, like the Tern/Carla Cargo duo or the Nanuk Megaliner from Germany’s Cargo Cycle, the pelicanTrain holds its own. While it matches the 1,100-pound payload of the Megaliner, it falls short of the latter’s 4,000-liter cargo volume. However, the pelicanTrain compensates with its modularity, easily transitioning from a compact electric cargo bike to a long double-trailer train.

Pelican opts for a train-style design, while Germany’s Cargo Cycle favors a tractor-trailer ebike approach. Image courtesy Cargo Cycle

Accessibility and Affordability

Understanding the diverse needs of potential users, Pelican offers the pelicanTrain both for sale and rental. This flexibility is a boon for those who require such a transport solution for short-term needs, like moving between apartments, without the commitment of ownership. The retail pricing for the pelicanTrain starts at €4,500 (approximately US$4,920), while rental options begin at €15 per day or €45 per month, making it an accessible option for various budgets and requirements.

pelicanTrain adapts for public space maintenance, featuring trailers for waste collection, transportation, and other uses.

Conclusion

The pelicanTrain emerges as a noteworthy solution in the realm of urban cargo transportation. Its innovative design, combining an electric cargo bike with one or two powered trailers, offers unprecedented flexibility and capacity in urban freight transport. By providing a greener, more efficient, and adaptable method of moving goods through city environments, the pelicanTrain is set to make a significant impact in the way we think about urban logistics.

A versatile bike for restaurateurs: from quick, small deliveries in bike mode to larger hauls with a trailer, including refrigerated options.

Source: Pelican

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