This Electric Three-Wheeler Brings Greener Delivery Options

(Bloomberg) --

In June, the electric bike startup Joco, which rents e-bikes to food delivery workers and other couriers in New York City and Chicago, began testing a new vehicle called the Deliverator. Made in Eugene, Oregon by Arcimoto Inc., the Deliverator is an electric three-wheeler with a “reverse-tricycle” configuration—two wheels in the front and one in the back—that makes it look like a giant lobster.

It has a 20 cubic-foot enclosed storage compartment behind the driver, a top speed of 75 miles per hour, a range of about 100 miles and costs $25,000. Joco is testing four as part of a pilot program with Arcimoto and has begun giving demos to ghost kitchens, grocery chains and other potential customers in need of delivery fleets.

“They've loved it,” said Joco co-founder Jonny Cohen.

I met with Cohen in the parking lot of a self-storage center on the far West Side of Manhattan on a weekday at the end of June so that I could take one of the Deliverators for a spin. After a brief tutorial, I pulled into the midday traffic on Eleventh Avenue. (Thanks to a recent change in New York state law, I didn’t need a motorcycle license to operate it on city streets, no helmet required.) The motorcycle-style handlebars felt strange at first, but after a few blocks I started to get the hang of it. When a car in front of me stopped to double park, I squeezed around it on the left and, on one open stretch, throttled up to 30 miles-per-hour. It was, far and away, more enjoyable than covering the same blocks in a van.