E-motorcycles could help solve Brazil’s congestion problem

Brazil's iFood delivery giant and start-up Voltz Motors have designed a motorcycle to reduce costs and carbon emissions. By Elle Farrell-Kingsley

Brazil is at the forefront of Latin America’s delivery sector. With a land area of 3.29 million square miles (slightly larger than the continental US ), its hilly terrain can be challenging for drivers—for example, there is a considerable rise from 1,000 to 3,000 feet above sea level between the cities of São Paulo and Rio Grende do Sul.  However, the more significant problem is traffic in big cities such as São Paulo, which has 22,430,000 residents, according to data analyst Macrotrends. Navigating both the hilly terrain and congestion makes it necessary for couriers to use a motorcycle or bicycle for food and grocery deliveries, as they can manoeuvre easily between other vehicles.

Special report: Electric motorcycles

"The traffic jams are epic," confirms Fernando Martins, Head of iFood's Logistics and Innovation Team. "Friday evenings in São Paulo are a commuter's worst nightmare, with bumper-to-bumper traffic in and out of the city averaging about 145km.” On average, Recife and Rio de Janeiro residents lose 92 and 82 hours to congestion each year, respectively, according to TomTom’s latest congestion figures.

To navigate these issues, Brazilian food tech and online delivery giant iFood is launching its first e-motorcycles in collaboration with a Brazilian start-up, Voltz Motors. Consumer intelligence researcher Measurable AI’s e-receipts data panel reveals that iFood is leading the market across Latin America, with a market share of over 80% in the food delivery sector. Comparatively, Uber Eats accounted for just 10%, before withdrawing its services from the market in March 2022. iFood operates in over 1,700 cities throughout Brazil and Colombia, serving 40 million consumers through its network of more than 200,000 active delivery drivers.

Behind the move

iFood and Voltz Motors have worked together for many months, alongside other partners, including the Instituto de Pesquisa Tecnológica (IPT), a Brazilian reference in new technologies, to test their latest e-motorcycle. "This R&D phase was carefully executed to ensure the e-motorcycles are comfortable, efficient, and safe, while also meeting the practical day-to-day requirements of delivery drivers," Martins explains.

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