The UK government has announced £2 million to support the uptake of e-cargo bikes, driving UK companies towards a greener future.
The funding will help pave the way for the nimble electric delivery vehicles to replace older, polluting vans - helping to improve the environment and reduce congestion.
The announcement is part of the international Zero Emission Vehicle Summit being held in Birmingham. The event is bringing together policymakers, industry experts and opinion formers from around the globe to tackle carbon emissions and to explore ways to improve air quality.
Jesse Norman, Minister for Low Emission Vehicles, said: "Support for e-cargo bikes will help to ensure that Britain leads the way in the development and deployment of the technologies of the future.
Encouraging electric delivery bikes on to our city streets will cut traffic and improve air quality, and will show how these vehicles have the potential to play an important role in the zero-emission future of this country".
The government’s plans will encourage alternate green technologies to counter the increasing usage of diesel delivery vans that has accompanied the boom in internet shopping and comes as 16 of the UK’s largest van fleet operators have signed up to the clean van commitment in a bid to go electric.
In the last year alone spending online in the UK increased by 15.3% and the latest road traffic estimates indicate van traffic increased by 4.7% to 49.5 billion vehicle miles in 2016.
Most of these vans are diesel, which causes congestion and have a detrimental impact on the environment. Over time the government expects to see increasing numbers of electric vans on UK streets but there is also a place for other delivery modes including e-cargo bikes.
The call for evidence
The announcement of the grant is an early response to the last mile call for evidence, which closes on 10 September 2018. The call for evidence asked for views on how the government can harness the opportunities for greener delivery in the commercial and residential parts of our cities and towns.
Further detail about the distribution of this funding will be outlined shortly along with the government’s full response to the call for evidence.
It also builds on previous government-funded UK trials for e-cargo bikes in Spring 2017. The Department for Transport’s Innovation Challenge Fund grant enabled London-based e-cargo Bikes to set up their first Micro Hub on an industrial estate in Islington from which grocery delivery trials with Sainsbury’s were conducted.
The trial exceeded expectations in its potential commercial viability and efficiency, which showed that 96.7% of orders could be fulfilled in a single e-cargo bike drop.
It also forms an important part of the government’s work on the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, part of the modern Industrial Strategy, which is considering how emerging technologies and services can be used to address a range of transport challenges.