When those of us who live in urban areas picture letter carriers – or posties, or mailmen/women – we usually think of them as people who deliver the mail by foot.
The fact is, however, letter carriers in much of the world use small motorcycles to make their deliveries. If Australian inventor Simon Williams has his way, many of those motorcycles may soon be replaced by his electric three-wheeler. Not only is the Williams Deliver-E Trike quieter and cleaner than gas-powered bikes, but its two rear swing arms pivot independently, allowing the vehicle to lean into turns and stand upright when parked at the side of a sloping road.
Simon had long been interested in building an electric motorcycle, but it was actually a 2005 Gizmag article on The Rider, a tilting electric commuter concept trike, that inspired him to start work on the Deliver-E. “As a motorcycle rider I could see the drawbacks – as far as handling and practicality – but I saw potential for a cargo vehicle based on the tilting three-wheel concept,” he told us.
While his trike could certainly find use with commuters and a variety of delivery people, Williams decided to target it specifically at letter carriers. To that end, he actually quit his job and worked as a postie for 18 months, just to get a sense of what they needed in a bike. He discovered that the Honda CT110s currently in use by Australia Post were stressfully noisy, a hassle to manually back up, and that heavily-laden ones could fall over when parked perpendicular to a slope – a situation that could often arise, when dropping off letters in mailboxes along a road’s sloping shoulder.