Moving towards electrification: the cargo bike market
A wave that could revolutionize mobility and city logistics: the cargo bike market! A “niche” segment of the bike economy that is well suited to urban mobility and last-mile logistics.
The Persistence Market Research estimates an average annual growth of 12.7% for the next ten years. In the last two and half years the sector has developed further: in 2019, the market share reached 75% (+6% compared to 2019) and in 2020, sales stood at 43,600 units. These are some figures of CityChangerCargoBike (CCCB), the European Union project that explores the potential of cargo bikes and promotes their use for public, commercial and private users.
The two-wheel revolution towards electrification
In the words of the Report on smart mobility by the Politecnico in Milan: “The term electrification refers to the transition from a traditional power supply (typically diesel or gasoline) to an electric one” Electrification does not only involve cars and heavy transport, but also the world of urban micromobility.
The electrification of cargo bikes, i.e. bicycles, tricycles and quadricycles with pedal assistance, is the icing on the cake in this innovation drive. With the evolution of electric motors, cargo bikes have been able to overcome the biggest difficulty, that is pedaling uphill and with a full load. Thanks to the implementation of a battery-powered electric motor, cargo bikes are appealing to an increasing number of users and uses, ranging from simple family mobility in the city, to urban logistics services and food delivery.
And even though we are beginning to see these vehicles on our streets, especially in countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, we hope that this push for innovation derives from a greater awareness: how would be better to experience cities without traffic? There is no doubt, that the two-wheel revolution towards electrification is a trend that will not go backwards. It will only accelerate.
A measurable game changer for our cities
The widespread introduction of cargo bikes in urban areas has proven to be a real game changer for cities: cargo bikes make urban space more efficient, improving air quality and safety. But they are not yet established in all European cities.
In fact, CityChangerCargoBike (CCCB) aims to replace other vehicles with cargo bikes for:
23-25% of commercial deliveries in cities
50% of commercial services and maintenance trips
77% of private logistics (travel, leisure, child transport)
The University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam also conducted a study on the benefits of cargo bikes. The study focused on the category of so-called LEVV or Light Electric Freight Vehicles, which are muscle-powered (cargo bikes) or electric-powered (cargo e-bikes) vehicles consisting of three or more wheels, with cargo space for goods, which can reach up to 300 kilos.
Which are the main advantages?
Small deliveries in the city without the need of a parking space
Accelerate delivery times compared to medium-sized vans
Reduction in polluting emissions without having to make empty transfers
No compliance to regulatory obligations because they do not require registration
Access to pedestrian and restricted traffic areas
The study also highlights what will be needed in the future. In addition to the convenience and practicality, there is the need for a general improvement in urban system infrastructure, which should go hand in hand with the use of electric cargo bikes: parking hubs, battery charging zones, and an increasingly close synergy between public and private entities and technology companies. Utopia or reality? What is certain is that cargo bikes can start a new mobility culture, which travels in a green and smart way.