In the realm of French electric bike (ebike) innovations, the Pelican eTrain has emerged as a modular cargo system, capturing attention alongside the Pi-Pop in a month marked by groundbreaking developments. This unique ebike system, designed for hauling substantial loads, combines a robust electric cargo bike with one or two powered trailers, showcasing an unparalleled capacity to transport up to 1,100 lb (500 kg) and/or 3,000 liters of cargo, rivaling the capabilities of small cargo vans.
The Pelican ebike, at the core of this freight eTrain, boasts an aluminum frame and a solid build. While its standalone cargo capacity is listed at 300 liters or 220 lb (100 kg), it is not as potent as some cargo-specific ebikes like the Ouca or Trek Fetch+. However, the Pelican eTrain distinguishes itself through modularity.
With Pelican’s hitch system, the eTrain can tow a large trailer with its own e-drive, capable of carrying 440 lb (200 kg) and/or 1,500 liters of cargo. The synchronization of acceleration and braking between the bike and the trailer ensures seamless movement as a single unit. Additionally, the eTrain can attach a second self-powered trailer, doubling its cargo-hauling capability to a total load of 1,100 lb (500 kg) or 3,000 liters.
Comparatively, the Pelican eTrain rivals the cargo volume of short-wheelbase vans like the Ford Transit Connect and Volkswagen Caddy SWB, presenting an eco-friendly alternative that encourages physical activity. The trailers essentially power their own weight, allowing the rider to pedal comfortably, even on inclines. The system can handle 18% grades with a full load, and individual battery packs provide a range of 31 miles (50 km) under full load.
While surpassing similar cargo ebike/trailer setups, such as the Tern/Carla Cargo duo, the Pelican eTrain falls short of the Nanuk Megaliner from Cargo Cycle, a German company. The Nanuk Megaliner, with a similar payload capacity, features a massive box trailer capable of accommodating 4,000 liters of cargo. However, Pelican’s eTrain stands out with its modularity, transforming from a compact electric cargo bike into a long double-trailer train.
Pelican offers the eTrain for both sale and rental, providing flexibility for users with temporary needs, such as moving apartments without access to a traditional vehicle. The pricing starts at €4,500 (approximately US$4,900) for purchase, while rentals are available at €15 per day or €45 per month, catering to diverse user preferences and requirements.