City of Portland adds two electric cargo bikes to vehicle fleet

The City of Portland’s vehicle fleet just got a bit more bikey.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has purchased two new electric-assist cargo bikes to help get official city business done: a Tern HSD and a Specialized Globe Haul. PBOT Communications Director Hannah Schafer recently shared more with BikePortland about the bikes and what they’ll be used for. She said both bikes were bought for specific uses and not as general loaner bikes.

Here’s more about the bikes from Schafer:

  • Blue Tern HSD – This bike is outfitted with a large front rack and two high capacity panniers for our Active Transportation team to use for delivering materials to various locations around the city, such as delivering cartons of bike maps to Multnomah County Library or transporting bike helmets for bike skills workshops. We’ve also attached a bike trailer to it, for extra extra capacity, and hauled up to nine boxes of bike maps (approx. 35 lbs each) to the library’s distribution warehouse.
  • Specialized Globe Haul – This e-bike, with a higher top-speed of 28 mph, is being used by staff in our Traffic Operations team to conduct field work. That includes traffic observations and investigations, work order inspections, and more. It is also shared with staff in our Temporary Traffic Control team to use for special event work. The team has found that for a lot of the work, it is easier and more convenient to use an e-bike versus a car, or at the very least offers some additional multimodal flexibility. It also gives staff who may not be regular bike commuters the valuable experience and perspective of using the road when biking.

The Tern HSD has a retail price of about $4,300 and the Specialized goes for about $2,800. Schafer said both teams used their program budgets to fund the bikes.

If you see PBOT staff on these rigs, be sure to do the nod and wave. We want to see more e-bikes in the city fleet!

In related news, PBOT announced late last month they’re moving forward with their Zero Emission Delivery Zone pilot project. That project aims to encourage a transition to zero emission vehicles by commercial fleets that work in the central city and was funded with a $2 million federal grant.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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rick
rick
1 month ago

Why not use Bike Friday’s cargo bikes? They are welded in Eugene, Oregon.

Todd/Boulanger
Todd/Boulanger
1 month ago
Reply to  rick

rick – good point when comparing the features of the 2 bikes that PBoT did select. (Though the Haul A Day is not as capable as a bakfiets type bikes, IMTO.)

(PS. I love Bike Friday, I had a World Tourist in the 90s.)

Daniel
1 month ago
Reply to  rick

Thanks for keeping us in mind! That would have been a great opportunity, maybe for their next one? We would be honored to work with PBOT! -Daniel, Bike Friday Marketing Coordinator.

Nick
Nick
1 month ago
Reply to  rick

 It also gives staff who may not be regular bike commuters the valuable experience and perspective of using the road when biking.

Fair point, but in my experience of trying to get friends and family to try my bakfiets has been a bit tricky because it’s too different (looking/feeling/riding) from a regular bike.

Rob Galanakis
Rob Galanakis
1 month ago

Another significant sleeper grassroots development. Fundamentally different experience arriving at an observation site by bike vs. by car. More of this, PBOT!

Todd/Boulanger
Todd/Boulanger
1 month ago

Great move…though a day late and a dollar short; if I can be picky / Monday morning quarterbacking. I love both of those EVs, but…

I would have expected PDoT to have done this a few years ago and picked a bakfiets type vehicle* for its cargo capacity AND ability to lock up the cargo box (assuming they got the upgrade), especially for the Active Transportation work tasks mentioned. Note: I do understand there is a cost differential, but that pales in comparison to any average purchase by public works fleet managers. And in my experience with the analogue bakfiets, its always nice to lock up field equipment when you have to step away to take a measurement or talk to citizens…

  • Urban Arrow, etc.
EEE
EEE
1 month ago

The Specialized isn’t even an ebike under Oregon law, so they won’t be able to (legally) use it in bike lanes or MUPs, or has the law changed already?

Champs
Champs
1 month ago

Not sure why it matters that they are electric bikes, but I guess it’s better than a car?

Guess I’ll take the trickle-down effect of having nice analog bikes not being targeted by thieves anymore, too.

Old Potato
Old Potato
1 month ago

Go PBOT! I have a sort of reflexive bias against ebikes, like many other ‘regular’ bicyclists. But even with that they seem like a great option for limited local deliveries, like what PBOT described as their intended use. I think this is a great idea and I hope it catches on with other Bureaus.

dw
dw
1 month ago
Reply to  Old Potato

One big hurdle a lot of folks have to getting on a bike is physical fitness, or just not wanting to be sweaty when they arrive at their destination. Anything that will get people experiencing the city on a bike is a win in my book – especially the people who are planning and building our infrastructure.

Riley
Riley
1 month ago

Love to see it! The Zero-Emission Delivery Zone project sounds great, too.