Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images
Big cities are crowded places, and that’s why UPS has decided to test 100 or so electric quad “bikes” for package delivery. The company says it’ll work with Fernhay to leverage its eQuad, a pedal-based electric-assist delivery platform that somewhat resembles a miniature UPS truck. Though these vehicles don’t have the same capacity as the company’s regular delivery trucks, the smaller size will make it easier for drivers to navigate cramped city streets, narrow alleys, and generally congested areas.
Details about the plan were recently disclosed to Reuters, which reports that UPS will also test out similar EVs from other companies, though it hasn’t named any of them at the time of writing. Focusing specifically on Fernhay’s eQuad, the delivery bike, at first glance, looks like a miniature truck. That’s not how it works, however, as delivery drivers will instead pedal the four-wheeled vehicle, navigating it around city streets with the assistance of an electric motor. The speeds vary based on how fast the driver is pedaling, but top out at around 15 mph, meaning these bikes will be used for so-called “last mile” deliveries straight to porches, package lockers, and mailrooms.
An electric-assist quad bike with package storage
According to Fernhay, its eQuad delivery bike is only around 2.7 feet wide, making it narrow enough to use in city bicycle lanes, among other places. As well, the e-assist bike has a “Cube” package storage space measuring just under 6 feet in length, while the full vehicle clocks in at less than 10 feet long overall. Despite its appearance, the company says it designed the eQuad in such a way that it’ll remain stable even when loaded with packages and used on potentially rough city surfaces. The pedals and electric assist motor are joined by motorcycle tires, metal wheels, and hydraulic disc breaks on the front.
Fernhay’s website indicates the eQuad can be configured to meet a customer’s needs, at least when it comes to the battery. The delivery company, meanwhile, revealed to Reuters that the model it’ll test gets around 40 miles per battery charge. The bike’s electric nature means it’ll be essentially silent when compared with trucks, not to mention its complete lack of emissions. Though customers aren’t likely to notice anything different when these bikes are tested, it’ll make things much easier for delivery drivers who may otherwise have to lug around packages in a cart when they’re destined for places where trucks can’t operate.
This is the latest in a long series of UPS tests involving EVs, an effort made in light of the company’s wider sustainability goals, which include increasing its renewable electricity use to 25 percent by 2025. Among other things, the company has slowly increased its use of “alternative” fuels for its ground-based services, though it also has some big plans (with a more distant outlook) related to its aviation operations.
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Confessions of an in-house creative strategist on feeling unfulfilled, difficulty in returning to agencies as the ‘pay is less’
The war for talent between agencies and brands’ in-house agencies has cooled. Even so, for adland talent who’ve made the move in-house, some say they are looking to go back to agencies after feeling creatively stifled. It’s not the easiest strategy to execute.
In the latest edition of our Confessions series, in which we trade anonymity for candor, we hear from an in-house creative strategist about their experience, why they want to go agency-side now and how pay is keeping them from doing so.
This conversation has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
What’s the in-house experience like?
I’ve been in-house for about a year. It’s very one-sided. The difference between agency and in-house is that with agencies, there [are] a lot of opinions and ideas [outside of the brand message] that go into creative. With in-house, you have the brand’s message and all creative is reflective of the brand’s message. With in-house, regardless of trends in the market, it’s a lot of ‘we’re going to stick to this one way of doing things’ mentality. It’s a lot of opinions about what the creative should be based on what it has been before. It makes it hard to introduce something fresh. It makes it hard to hire or be a new hire. If you’re not actually going to adhere to advice from new hires, what’s the point in getting new people? Are you just bringing people on board for a second opinion? That’s what it feels like.
Sounds like you don’t have the creative control you desire.
It feels like more of a second opinion role than to get something to manage or control. [Where I am now] it feels like we’re leaning more into what [our strategy] used to be than thinking about what we could be. That’s a big issue with in-house. With agencies, like I said, there’s a lot more trial and error. With in-house, a lot more of this is what we’re doing, these are the funds we have and this is what has worked in the past. In reality, a lot of what worked in the past, when you put it back into the market, it’s not going to work anymore.
Why do you think it’s more challenging to get to a new creative strategy in-house?
With agencies, you have multiple perspectives. You’re working on multiple brands. You can see something working for another brand and talk to your client about it. You can pivot. You have the background and perspective to [pitch that pivot]. When you’re in-house, you only have the knowledge of your brand and what’s working for you.
Are you looking to go back to agencies?
Personally, I am looking to go from in-house to agency but I get paid a lot more being in-house than what I’ve been offered at agencies. I’ve been in interviews with agencies where they’re telling me that I’ll be learning [programs I already know how to use] so that’s why the pay is less than what it should be. There are agencies I’ve interviewed with who ask me to move to New York for less than what I make now and make that work. [With inflation,] there’s no reason why salaries aren’t also increasing.
So you’d like to make the jump creatively but it’s hard when the compensation isn’t up to what in-house offers?
It’s hard. I’ve been lowballed, too. They’ll post a salary for a position, go through the interviews and then offer less than what’s listed on the salary description. What was the point of putting the salary range there? I feel like people are putting salary ranges on job descriptions just to attract people with the experience that they are looking for but by the time they make the offer, it’s not what they said it would be. It’s offensive.
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