Smart Transport

E-cargo bikes deliver faster than vans in city centre

Red and black Pedal Me cargo bike

Electric cargo (e-cargo) bikes can deliver goods about 60% faster than vans in London, according to new research.

The promise of low-carbon freight report used GPS data from Pedal Me cargo bike routes and compared them to the routes that vans would have had to take to deliver the same parcels

It found that, on average, the bikes were 1.61 times faster as they benefit from being able to take shortcuts through streets blocked to motor traffic and can quickly park up close to their destinations to drop off packages.

In addition to the time saving, the cargo bikes saved a total 3,896kg of carbon emissions and more than 5.5kg of nitrogen oxides across the 98 days of work that were analysed.

In places such as Germany and France, there are 100,000 and 50,000 cargo bikes purchased respectively, each year, compared to the 2,000 that were sold in the UK last year, which highlights the potential for growth, according to climate charity Possible, which commissioned the research along with the Active Travel Academy. 

Ersilia Verlinghieri, senior research fellow at the Active Travel Academy, said: “With recent estimates from Europe suggesting that up to 51% of all freight journeys in cities could be replaced by cargo bike, it’s remarkable to see that, if even just a portion of this shift were to happen in London, it would be accompanied by not only dramatic reduction of CO2 emissions, but also contribute to a considerable mitigation of risks from air pollution and road traffic collisions whilst ensuring an efficient, fast and reliable urban freight system.”

Hirra Khan Adeogun, head of car rree Ccties at climate charity Possible, added: “Cargo bikes mean more speed and efficiency for the customers, better health for couriers, a decreased carbon footprint for traders, and ultimately cleaner air and more public space for all Londoners to enjoy.

"Delivery vans contribute significantly to worsening air quality and take up valuable space on our roads.

"We’ve seen home deliveries skyrocket during the Covid lockdowns and that trend is likely to continue. We urgently need to put on the brakes and reevaluate how goods move through our cities. Cargo bikes are one solution that we need to get behind. ”

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