Touted as true car alternatives, electric cargo bikes offer much more than just a fun way to get around town. They’re excellent at carrying more than you’d think possible, and while the very best ones can be pretty expensive, there are growing numbers of e-cargo bikes available for under £3,000 for those on a tighter budget. However, if money is no object, take a look at our guide to the best electric cargo bikes overall to get an idea of what you can get if you spend a bit more.
Most electric cargo bikes nowadays come in two basic designs: front or rear loading, relating to where you put the majority of your cargo. There’s no right or wrong way to load cargo. However, if you’re ferrying things like kids or canines, some prefer to have them sit in front so they can keep an eye on them.
You’ll likely see mid-drive motors on good quality e-cargo bikes. These help to get you going a bit quicker off the line, and the extra torque helps when you’re carrying really heavy loads. Even under £3,000 there are plenty of high-value offerings to be had, and this allows you to dip your toes into the e-cargo world without having to spend a fortune.
Best e-cargo bikes under £3,000
- Rad Power Bikes RadRunner - best under £1,500 | Buy for £1,449 from Rad Power Bikes
- Orbea Katu-E - best mid-drive e-cargo under £3,000 | Buy for £2,339 from Orbea
- Velosta 1 - best hub-drive e-cargo under £2,000 | Buy for £1,689 from Velosta
- Rad Power Bikes Radwagon 4 - best under £2,000 | Buy for £1,999 from Rad Power Bikes
- Mycle Cargo - best dual battery option under £3,000 | Buy from £1,999 from Mycle
We reviewed the original RadRunner back in 2020, but the current model, the RadRunner 2 is just as good value. It comes with a few upgrades, including ‘updated stability’ with a slacker head tube angle, full-length mudguards and an integrated brake light.
On top of all this you can carry up to 136kg. It's driven by a hub motor paired with a 672Wh battery. Rad Power Bikes claims this gives a range of up to 72km per charge. The RadRunner is the smaller sibling to the RadWagon, and is still a capable e-cargo bike despite its size. So if you want something compact with a decent payload limit, the RadRunner 2 is a great option.
For more detail, read our review of the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner.
The Orbea Katu-E comes with a compact frame, and large basket on the front as the main source of carrying. It’s definitely more of a compact cargo bike rather than something you’d take the kids to school on, but if you’re tight on space and don’t have that much to carry, then it’s worth considering.
It’s powered by a mid-drive Bosch motor and 400Wh battery, which for under £2,500 makes it a high-value option, and ideal for if you live in a hilly area. There’s also a Shimano Nexus 8-speed drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes, so plenty of good quality components to make it an enjoyable ride – whether you’re carrying a lot or not.
For more detail, read our review of the Orbea Katu-E.
Perhaps not the most well-known brand, Velosta is somewhat new to the e-bike sphere, and thus only have this model available so far. The Velosta 1 is their small-wheeled longtail e-cargo bike, and it only weighs 21.5kg. For your money you get a rear-hub Bafang motor and a 345Wh battery, which our reviewer did admittedly feel was a little small.
The payload rating is however 140kg (including rider and cargo), and you’ve got plenty of places to store things – including the front basket (which is an optional extra) and rear rack. Like some of the higher cost Tern e-cargo bikes, the Velosta 1 can also be stored vertically to save on space, potentially making it more attractive to those without a garage.
For more detail, read our review of the Velosta 1.
For those who live in flatter areas and want something decent to haul stuff about, the Rad Power Bikes Radwagon 4 is a great budget option. It comes with quite a large capacity frame-mounted battery (674Wh) paired with a rear hub motor – which means it's best for areas that aren’t too hilly.
You can fit two child seats or seat pads on the rear rack, and a retaining bar to keep them safe. There are plenty of other accessories to buy too, including cargo bags and a front basket.
For more detail, read our review of the Rad Power Bikes Radwagon 4.
The Mycle Cargo has one of the biggest carrying capacities on this list at 125kg for the rear rack, and a total bike weight limit of 210kg. This means kids, dogs, and even an adult can sit on the back without worry.
There’s even an option to equip it with dual-batteries, which is what our reviewer did. The downside to such a big bike is the weight, but if you’ve got the space then it’s an excellent budget e-cargo option for most applications.
For more detail, read our review of the Mycle Cargo.
How to choose the best e-cargo bike under £3,000
How much can you carry on an electric cargo bike?
This depends on a number of things. Firstly, where is the load to be carried on the bike? A front bucket versus front rack will likely have a different weight limit. The bigger electric cargo bikes can carry upwards of 120kg – although so can some of the smaller ones if you look at the right brands.
The cheaper e-cargo bikes tend to have a lower carrying capacity, and if we’re being honest, you probably don’t want to carry more than is recommended anyway – particularly if it’s hub driven, as the motor likely won’t cope as well under heavy loads.
A good e-cargo bike (if this is what you define ‘good’ as) will be able to carry two small children and/or lots of other luggage that you’d struggle to carry on a regular sized e-bike.
How do I choose an electric cargo bike?
The main thing when buying an e-cargo bike is to make sure you get one that will fit your needs. If you have kids you want to cart around but don’t buy a bike with suitable accessories or carrying capacity, you’re wasting your money. Equally, if you’re tight on space and need something that can fit in and out of your house, you don’t want something excessively large.
Once you know what kind of e-cargo bike you’re after, you can look at the bikes available within your budget. Having a lower budget doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get a bad e-cargo bike, but you may have to make some compromises, particularly on motor quality and battery range.
What are the different types of e-cargo bike?
There are two main types of e-cargo bikes: long tails and front-loaders. The long tails have rear racks that carry most of the weight, and can often be set up to carry kids in specific seats or on bench seats. The front loaders usually have buckets, which are great for keeping an eye on your cargo (particularly if said cargo is children or dogs).