The Veload electric quadricycle lends itself to a variety of uses, including as a hearse.

This German Undertaker Uses An Electric Quadricycle As A Hearse

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Electric cargo bikes and trikes and quadricycles are being put to a wide variety of uses, from hauling materials to passengers to tools to packages, but what if your passenger is, say, dead? It turns out that electric cargo bikes can also make a great hearse, enabling the deceased to get from service to cemetery as low-carbon as possible.

Green burials, once just a niche funerary option, have come a long way in the last few decades, and even if they still aren’t a very common choice, they’re no longer an edge case, so people can choose a low-impact afterlife for their mortal remains. However, green funeral processions aren’t really a thing yet, which is a shame, because there are plenty of electric mobility options available for a funeral cortege, including electric hearses, but not very many processions are truly as “sustainable” as the green burial itself is.

In Kassel, Germany, home to the Brothers Grimm, an undertaker has started using an electric 4-wheeled cargo bike with a custom box on the back to transport the deceased on shorter routes, according to Jürgen Dahlfeld, also a carpenter and casket-maker, gave up his private car about 9 years ago, and said, “Since then, we have been able to go about our everyday lives without a problem without a car,” except for using a car-sharing service a few times a month when one is needed.

Below is closer look at this e-hearse, along with an opportunity to work on your German language skills:

The e-cargo bike is from a small startup named Veload, which builds its unique electric quads just north of Kassel. The vehicles are side-by-side tandems with recumbent-style pedaling setups, although two pedalers aren’t required. The Veload measures some 2.80 m by 1.25 m (9.2 ft by 4.1 ft) and has a payload limit of 400 kg (881 lb), with a Heinzmann CargoPower hub motor system and a 1400Wh LiFePO4 battery that has a range of up to 60 km (37 mi) per charge, with a top speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph).

The layout of the Veload is like a small pedal-powered pickup, with the rear of it capable of hauling bulky or large objects on its own, or having a purpose-built container, racking system, or even solar canopy added to it. It also features a reverse mode and a regen mode, as well as lights and turn signals. The Veload is a bit on the pricey side, most likely due to the very small scale of the company, which is aiming to be able to build two of them each month, but for the right person and the right application, spending €14,042 to buy one for commercial use might make sense.

This isn’t the first bike or e-bike hearse by any means, as a quick web search found a Parisian undertaker who uses one, a ritzy-looking UK bicycle hearse, a Swiss undertaker who uses one, a Danish cycle hearse, and another UK company which offers a tandem bicycle hearse (and motorcycle hearses, although no electric motorcycle hearses just yet). Maybe this could be built into a local cleantech business, who knows? In some locations — perhaps many locations — it’s legal to have a bicycle funeral procession, but obviously you’d want to do your legal due diligence before getting into the e-mobility funeral business…

Image courtesy of Veload.

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Derek Markham

Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee.

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