Electric Bicycle Mail-Delivery

Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $69,200

Letter of Intent:


UW Mailing Services Campus Sustainability Fund LOI

Electric Bicycle Mail Delivery Program


Define the campus environmental problem that you are attempting to solve:


University of Washington’s Mailing Services currently delivers mail and printed material to approximately 80,000 students, faculty, and staff on and off the Seattle campus. There are 12 conventional delivery vehicles performing 20 daily delivery routes that service the entire campus. These vehicles contribute to global warming by emitting carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. The vehicles burn on average, 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year and release 96,000 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere (24 lbs. CO2 per gallon of fuel). Our research shows that replacing a vehicle with an electric assist cargo bicycle will have an immediate impact on the energy consumption, CO2 emissions, noise pollution, and vehicle congestion on the UW campus.


Describe your proposed solution to this problem:


Our goal is to make UW the first large university in the nation to address the issue of energy consumption reduction and climate change in mail services, by creating an E-Bicycle Mail & Package Delivery Program. We are proposing moving 210 daily mail stops, totaling 12 miles a day, to full bicycle delivery. This would involve the purchase of five electric assist bicycles, trailers, and all-weather bicycle shoes. After implementation of bicycle delivery on the main campus, we intend to incorporate the bicycles to expand the program to the entire campus and University District.


Vehicles currently in use are leased from UW Fleet Services at a cost of $50,000 per vehicle. As we reduce the need for diesel truck delivery, we will return the vehicles to Fleet Services. This will effectively free up extra money in the mailing services budget, and if unused, the money will be returned to the University’s central fund. UW Mailing Services has recently partnered with UW Creative Communications and UW Copy Services to provide delivery services of their printed materials as well. We would like to, whenever applicable, incorporate bicycles on these deliveries. If successful, we see eliminating one or two of the cargo vans currently in use for these routes.


What form and amount of student leadership will your project involve?


We will continue our collaboration with the students at UW Sustainability in creating an educational outreach campaign to inspire behavioral change within the UW community. This will involve the use of our metrics to create a "fun facts" media campaign to display on the sides of our new, highly visible electric cargo bicycles and trailers. These fun facts will include the current number of stops along the delivery route, the reduction in diesel fuel consumption, and the amount of CO2 saved as a result of switching to the bicycle delivery system. We hope to connect two UW students currently working for Mailing Services and Creative Communications with the ASUW Graphic Design Office. There they will receive assistance in creating eye-popping illustrations to display the project’s metrics.


Our project has an already established a partnership with the ASUW student-run Bike Shop to service and maintain the bicycles. This includes fixing spokes, rims, tires, and adjustments to the trailers holding the cargo boxes. We hope that once electric bicycles become more of the norm in the coming years, the shop will also be able to solve issues with the electric motors.


We are looking to make a connection with the Environmental Studies Department in order to include student involvement in tracking metrics for the project. Our goal is to conduct an ongoing carbon footprint analysis, detailing emission reductions from switching diesel trucks to electric bikes. This way we can keep track of the project’s success, and constantly update the metric graphics to display to the UW community.


Finally, the project has displayed student leadership with the help of a UW Senior majoring in Finance. After meeting with Douglas Stevens from Creative Communications and UW Mailing Services, he has helped to be the middleman between the time-pressed mailing services and other aspects of the project’s development. His work has involved obtaining more student engagement, working out the budget costs, and drafting up this letter of intent.


What amount of funds do you anticipate your project will require from the CSF?


We have already chosen the optimal model of the E-Bicycle we wish to implement based on range-per-charge and power necessary to support delivery cargo. The E-Assist Bullitt bicycles cost $6,000 per unit. The bikes would require an additional $6,000 in order to construct two alloy cargo boxes for the front and back of each bicycle[1]. With five bicycles in the fleet, this totals to $60,000.


All weather bicycle shoes would cost $100 a pair. We have a crew of 12 riders on our team, hence we would like $1,200 to fully prepare them for the elements.


Materials required to print and install graphics on the sides of the cargo boxes would cost $100 per unit. Again, this would be the mailing services logo, as well as fun facts about environmental footprint reductions. For the whole fleet, this would total $500.


The ASUW Bike Shop does not currently have the capability to repair motors on the bikes, so we are requesting additional funding for service warranties from the E-Assist Bullitt Company. Service agreements cost $500 a year per bicycle, and we would like to purchase three year warranties for the start of this project. This comes out to $7,500 to cover the entire fleet. We anticipate that the ASUW Bike Shop will have the capability to fully repair any problems with the E-Assist Bullitt bikes beginning in year 2020.


Adding up everything in our proposed budget, we are asking for a total grant of $69,200 to fully implement the E-Bicycle Mail Delivery System. We thank you for your consideration in our endeavor. 


[1] This price also includes construction and installation of trailers to hold the boxes. We are working on involving students with this construction process, but as of now have received these cargo construction quotes from a local metal-working business.




Primary Contact First & Last Name: Kellan J. Kinney