The government has announced £2m to support the uptake of e-cargo bikes. The funding is designed to help pave the way for electric delivery vehicles to replace older vans, improving both the environment and reduce congestion.
The announcement is part of the international Zero Emission Vehicle Summit being held in Birmingham this week. The event brings together policy makers, industry experts and opinion formers from around 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.
The Department for Transport says that spending online in the UK increased by 15.3% in the last year. 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 cause 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,” said Norman.
The announcement of the grant is an early response to the last mile call for evidence, which closed 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.
The announcement builds on previous government-funded UK trials for e-cargo bikes in Spring 2017. The DfT’s Innovation Challenge Fund grant enabled London-based e-cargo Bikes to set up a Micro Hub on an industrial estate in Islington from which grocery delivery trials with Sainsbury’s were conducted.
The DfT says the trials “exceeded expectations” in its potential commercial viability and efficiency. The trials showed that 96.7% of orders could be fulfilled in a single e-cargo bike drop.
The £2m e-cargo bike funding builds on the government’s Road to Zero Strategy which outlines the government’s ambition to lead the world in the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles. 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.
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