This month saw the launch of the Cargohopper II, the largest solar van in Europe.
We’ve recently seen bicycles and even tricycles providing eco-friendly delivery solutions in cities, able to negotiate narrow or winding roads. Now a distribution scheme in the Netherlands — Cargohopper — boasts both these benefits, but with the capacity to distribute on a much larger scale. Having already imposed time restrictions and allocated specific supply routes for freight vehicles, the local Utrecht authorities wanted to do more to reduce congestion in the city’s streets and improve air quality, without compromising the supplies distribution process. The city council approached transport company Hoek, and after four months Cargohopper I — a solar-powered electric vehicle able to tow three metric tons — was on the road. Instead of being driven to the city center, goods are taken to Hoek’s main distribution center 10km outside the city. Once sorted, supplies are transported to a transhipment point 300m from the city center, and Cargohopper’s three trailers are loaded. At 1.25m wide and 16m long, it can access areas that lorries cannot. Furthermore, it can carry the same load as five vans, removing 100,000 van-kilometers from inner city streets, which equates to 30 tons of CO2 a year. A close collaboration with city councillors means it’s exempt from the usual restrictions put upon delivery vehicles. This month, a new Cargohopper vehicle debuted. The Cargohopper II is the largest solar van in Europe, with a capacity of 2.5 tonnes, and will increase the overall capacity of the Cargohopper scheme. The video below demonstrates the Cargohopper II in action: Following on from its success, there are plans to start running three more Cargohopper schemes in cities across the Netherlands. An idea for transport companies and councils in congested cities around the world to take inspiration from?