Last mile vehicle ‘dark hub’ opens in London

Port Dark Hub

Electric last mile delivery vehicles can now be hired from a new ‘dark hub’ in Leicester Square, London, by couriers and delivery firms.

The initive, dubbed "Boris Bikes for couriers" is operated by technology company Port, in partnership with Q Park. Vehicles, including electric bikes, cargo ebikes, mopeds or scooters, can be hired on a weekly or monthly subscription through the Port app.

Users can access the vehicles at any time, which are stored and charged in dedicated docking stations, at Q Park’s Leicester Square car park.

Charging, storage and maintenance are included as part of the subscription.

Kamil Suda, founder of Port said: “We are hugely excited to be launching our first Port dark hub in the heart of London. Electrification of the last mile delivery industry is both a great challenge and opportunity; we want to bring Port’s solution to every major city to help the sector reach net zero and fully capitalise on the benefits of small EVs.”

Offered to both independent couriers and delivery firms, Port’s dark hubs mean courier companies can automate currently labour-intensive fleet management tasks and unlock the full potential of EVs.

Port believes the hubs will empower more drivers to enter the industry. By building its dark hubs in city centres, the company says it can activate a suburban workforce that is currently untapped by the last-mile delivery industry, as suburban workers are largely unable to cover the long distance between their homes and the city centre by e-bike or moped. The dark hubs will enable them to commute into the city centre and pick up their fully charged vehicle for the day.

The dark hub launch follows two years of R&D by Port, which has built every aspect of the dark hub platform – including the proprietary hardware and software – from the ground up. At the heart of the system is the world’s first, patented universal docking station that can lock and charge any small electric vehicle.

Following successful trials in Madrid, the company is now taking its first steps to expand across Europe – with plans to enter the Barcelona market next.

John Denton, head of sales and marketing at Q-Park UK, added: “We are delighted that Port have decided to work with us to operate from our Leicester Square car park. We believe that our safe and secure facilities offer an ideal location for Port vehicles to be located and easily accessed by couriers. We are delighted to once again demonstrate why we are at the forefront of Sustainable Urban Mobility.”

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