Electric cargo bikes aren’t just more environmentally friendly when it comes to making deliveries – they’re quicker too. A recent study of GPS data from e-cargo bike delivery firm Pedal Me has found that their bikes deliver about 60 per cent faster than vans in city centres.
In many ways, this isn’t really news. In 2020, a freedom of information (FOI) request was made to Lambeth Council asking why Pedal Me were chosen to distribute care packages during lockdown. Lambeth replied that it was because they were faster, cheaper and cleaner than their rivals.
Pedal Me has previously said its bikes work out at least 2mph faster than vans, with even more time saved looking for parking spots.
Major courier firms are not unaware of this. FedEx, UPS, DPD and Hermes all use e-cargo bikes for urban deliveries to some extent or other.
This latest study compared deliveries on 100 randomly chosen days across the seasons against the routes vans would have taken to get the parcels to customers.
The researchers found that the e-cargo bikes had a higher average speed and dropped off 10 parcels an hour, compared with six for vans.
The bikes also cut carbon emissions by 90 per cent compared with diesel vans, and by a third compared with electric vans.
The report was commissioned by the climate charity, Possible, with funding from the KR Foundation.
Possible’s Hirra Khan Adeogun told the Guardian: “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 re-evaluate how goods move through our cities. Cargo bikes are one solution that we need to get behind.”
Steve Gooding, the director of the RAC Foundation, said: “When we last looked into van use we found that while delivery vehicles made up only a small part of the van fleet, they covered a disproportionately high number of miles.
“While businesses are driven by economics, they are increasingly being held to account for their environmental and safety performance too. Cargo bikes will tick – and carry – a number of boxes for companies looking to thread their wares through our crowded city streets, and so help us all breathe more easily.”