Royal Mail staff riding 'e-Trikes' will deliver post to parts of England as the firm trials the vehicle, powered by a combination of solar, battery, pedal and brake technology, for the first time.
The move will help postal workers deliver letters and parcels in a more environmentally-friendly way, said Royal Mail.
Eight e-Trikes will be trialled in Stratford, east London, Cambridge and Sutton Coldfield in the next few weeks, for six months before the company decides whether to expand the trikes more widely across the UK.
The Italian-made trikes will be able to carry letters, cards and most parcels, on roads and some cycle paths.
Pedals are assisted by a battery-operated motor, recharged by mains power, aided by solar panels on the trike.
David Gold, director of public affairs & policy at Royal Mail, said: “We are committed to making changes to our operations which reduce our environmental impact whilst ensuring we continue to meet customer expectations.
“Alongside our ongoing transformation programme and the introduction of electric vans in locations across our business, this trial is part of a programme of initiatives across our business that will ensure we can continue to deliver letters and parcels safely, efficiently and responsibly.”
Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “I’m delighted that Royal Mail is trialling e-trikes which will take polluting vehicles off our streets, helping to reduce congestion and clean up London’s toxic air.
“I hope this trial will be extended and other delivery companies follow Royal Mail’s lead so that many more communities can benefit.”
A history of Royal Mail transport
The Royal Mail has delivered mail in the UK for more than 500 years and in that time it has followed the evolution of transport.
The service was created Henry VIII in 1516 but it wasn't until 1784 that post was delivered on the horse drawn coach, a vehicle with a top speed of 8mph.
The service's success continued for centuries and the vans it used after converting from horses became part of every day life in the UK.
Their shape was immortalised by children's TV classic Postman Pat.