Rolling change on that last mile

Interview with Ingo Lübs, Managing Director of Rytle

Facts

Revolutionizing delivery logistics in urban areas – that is the vision behind the Bremen-based start-up Rytle. To that end, the company created a holistic concept centered around the electric cargo bike for transporting a variety of types of goods over the “last mile” – and with nearly zero emissions at that. Particularly impressive: the Rytle “MovR” can handle small packages, but also entire palettes, including those for temperature-controlled cargo. We spoke with Ingo Lübs, Managing Director of Rytle, about the challenges and successes when it comes to conquering the last mile.

Interviewer: Where did the idea behind Rytle come from and what were the biggest hurdles and challenges in developing the product?

Ingo Lübs: RYTLE embodies a symbiosis of “the best of many worlds.” It has involved combining expertise in cargo bikes, automotive consultancy, IT, and in logistics in trailer manufacturing. The goal is to provide an effective, integrated solution that would improve overall performance.

From the start, the emphasis has been on straightforward coordination among individual components – for example, we achieve continuous networking in real time through the combination of existing telematics and a newly developed software platform.

The complexity of international markets remains a challenge, however we are witnessing obvious domestic and international demand. There is a great need for professional solutions and concepts – getting to grips with that “last meter” is very much our singular focus.

Rytle bikes are already in use in more than 30 cities in Europe and are utilized by several delivery services. Do you ever get feedback from drivers, pedestrians or delivery recipients? What do people make of this unusual vehicle cruising through the streets?

The feedback we have been getting internationally has been very positive. Our RYTLE-MovR proves that many stakeholders are looking for better ways to deliver on that “last meter.” Urban road users in particular love our bikes and their drivers. To put it bluntly, city couriers, who used to have to double-park their trucks, are no longer being cursed out like they used to. They get positive reactions instead and are even being asked to have their photos taken.

“RYTLE MovR 25” has recently been deployed in Miami and Portland in the US. How do requirements related to city logistics and traffic there differ from those in Europe?

The specifications are ultimately quite similar. It’s obvious a smart and urban solution is needed. It may vary in details depending on the local regulations and laws in particular cities or states – but we are exceptionally well prepared for that. Meanwhile, we see the same thing in Canada, another country in which we have introduced RYTLE’s effective transportation solution.

“Urban road users in particular love our bikes and their drivers. To put it bluntly, city couriers, who used to have to double-park their trucks, are no longer being cursed out like they used to. They get positive reactions instead and are even being asked to have their photos taken.”

Ingo Lübs, Managing Director of Rytle, on the reactions the couriers experience in the city centers

The Austrian national postal service is also testing Rytle in a three-month pilot project. A truck brings all packages to one central city hub. From there, the packages are delivered by Rytle bike. How has the collaboration been working out so far?

Extensive exchange with the Austrian postal service has meant that we have received consistently positive feedback thus far; the process of fine-tuning has been smooth and very constructive and our system’s use in Vienna has demonstrated how flexible it is.

Refrigerated products or warm meals can also be transported in Rytle Boxes. What can you tell us about temperature-controlled Rytle Boxes? 

We have noticed a great demand for temperature-controlled transportation – we get asked about it on a daily basis and our MovRs are being used for this purpose. It is also clear that an increasing number of internationally active companies are looking for services of this sort: for instance, to deliver freshly chilled foods to restaurants or end consumers. The possible applications and related goods are very diverse. At the same time, the common basic problems on the “last meter” – whether it’s among florists, retailers or in the food sector – are very similar.

There are new and interesting ideas for optimizing last-mile-logistics in a number of cities. Could you imagine collaboration or combining with other last-mile-solutions like transportation via inland waterways or underground pneumatic tubes?

We at RYTLE are constantly looking at new trial approaches as well as tried and tested solutions. The use of boats on inland waterways, as they’ve done in Paris, shows how important the “last meter” or the “last mile” already is around the world. Time will tell whether systems like underground pneumatic tubes can really be used – but whatever comes, it’s sure to be exciting.

This article can be found here.

Released: 11.09.2019, cargo partner