For the last 12 months, the IKEA Delft store in the Netherlands has been delivering products within the city centre using a solar powered e-cargo bike. After deeming the trial a success, the retailer has decided to scale up and give all IKEA stores around the world the same option.
According to IKEA’s sustainability manager, Helene Davidsson, the SunRider electric three-wheeler is capable of carrying around 90 per cent of the firm’s product range.
“We want to meet more people, and many of our future customers will live in cities with limited access to transportation,” she said. “This challenge provides a great opportunity to explore new ways of making our products available.
“The solar-powered cargo bike will be a valuable addition to last-mile service, as it offers a quiet, emission-free alternative that can also bypass traffic congestion.”
The SunRider is billed as being “up to 100 per cent” solar charged via panels built into the rear cargo box. While this is very obviously a roundabout way of saying it’s not entirely solar-powered, it does get a surprisingly large proportion of its charge this way.
IKEA say the solar panels provide an average of 65-70 per cent of the charge needed for daily deliveries and up to 100 per cent on sunny days.
This means a 67 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to a conventionally charged e-cargo bike and 98 per cent less than a diesel van.
The bike, which is powered by a front hub motor, has a range of about 100km (62 miles) per charge and can carry up to 150kg of cargo.
It’s also been tested in Vilnius in Lithuania where shipments were limited to 30kg to allow for multiple deliveries per trip.