July 19, 2009

Inner city cargo train system in Utrecht

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 1:28 pm

When I was a teenager, I had to bike through the narrow and windy cobblestone streets of a typically Dutch city centre to get to school, and part of that ride was spent waiting behind large, four-ton trucks delivering who knows what. Maybe it was 50 envelopes or a crate of tomatoes. It gave me the time to muse about a system where cargo was off-loaded just outside the city centre to smaller, horse-drawn carts for further distribution.

Although Utrecht-based company Cargohopper ditched the horse, they did implement this scheme for distributing goods to inner city stores to a tee. The small width, 1.25 metre, will surely lead to less irritation for the other road users.

Some figures from the company:

Cargohopper is a vehicle that can tow 3 metric tonnes in a linear line by means of a 48 Volt 28 hp electric engine. Its max speed is 20 km/h, but that is more than enough as it is only driving in the inner city of Utrecht and does not do more than 60 kilometres a day.


Once empty, it collects dry cardboard, paper and empty packaging from shops for recycling, so it never runs empty. In this way, Cargohopper removes up to 100,000 van kilometres from the inner city streets and saves about 30 tonnes of CO2 annually.

(Link: Autobloggreen. Photo: Cargohopper.)

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