This year, a delivery service in Bremen is going to start using an electric tricycle that runs on hydrogen. It will make deliveries from a depot to parts of the city which are difficult for trucks to access.

The unstoppable growth of online shopping means more parcels are being delivered in densely built-up urban areas, causing increasing traffic. In the Netherlands, Post-NL, UPS and DHL all operate small trucks in these areas. However, this is not only inefficient, it also causes additional environmental and other nuisance in cities already congested with traffic.

Now, the company Rytle in Bremen wants to make parcel deliveries greener by using a hydrogen-powered electric tricycle and container on wheels. Besides the innovative drive system, the company also distinguishes itself from existing bicycle trailer systems by the accompanying logistics concept.


The electric motor in this three-wheeler gives a top speed of 25 km/h, and the tricycle is equipped with a rain cover. It uses hydrogen and a fuel cell to generate electricity, which offers two benefits: a small hydrogen tank gives the tricycle an impressive range of about 200 km with the box fully loaded. Secondly, the hydrogen itself is contained in a small pressurised bottle that can be quickly and easily changed, so the tricycle does not have to be left for long periods at a charging station. A small battery is only needed to give the bike an extra boost when accelerating, and this battery is charged when the tricycle is being ridden at a constant speed. The hydrogen-powered electric tricycle was developed by the German Aerospace Center DLR.

The hydrogen system developed by DLR for bikes.

The tricycle has a 190-cm high parcel box at the rear, which can carry up to 180 kg. At the distribution depot, the box is fully loaded by the transport company for the rider, who receives logistics information via an app. This indicates when a box is ready, and the smartest route to deliver individual packages.

The exact date when tricycle deliveries will start is not yet known.

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