The UK’s Department of Transport (DOT) has announced a new £2m (US$2.6m) fund to help companies invest in electric cargo bike to fulfill last-mile deliveries.
The eCargo Bike Grant Fund is available to limited companies, sole traders, partnerships, charities and non-profit organizations operating across England, and comes as there is increasing interest in electric bikes to facilitate short-distance deliveries.
The funding available is conditional on recipients signing up to a robust code of practice developed in association with the UK Cycle Logistics Federation and the Bicycle Association and includes cycle safety best practice.
“Funding to support the adoption of e-cargo bikes by businesses in England and enable low carbon last-mile delivery across the country is a positive step in improving local air quality, tackling road traffic congestion, and reducing transport operating costs,” said Matthew Eastwood, head of transport at Energy Saving Trust, which is encouraging applications for the fund. “Applicants can benefit from grant funding for up to 20% of the cost of a new e-cargo bike up to the value of £1,000 [US$1,308] per bike.”
Department for Transport’s cycling and walking minister Jesse Norman said, “This new fund for e-cargo bikes will help to cut congestion, improve air quality and encourage companies to play their part in creating a cleaner, greener future.
“Supporting more sustainable deliveries is just one of the positive steps this government is taking toward a zero-emission world.”
Applications for funding will be assessed on a first-come, first-served basis and businesses are invited to submit their applications for consideration.
The eCargo Bike Grant Fund eligibility criteria, code of practice and application form are available here.
One company making use of e-cargo bikes is Box Bike Delivery, a micro organization specializing in last-mile sustainable delivery in Stevenage (pictured). The organization uses bikes to deliver small/medium parcels and packages to help reduce the number of van and car journeys within the town.
Marcus Vere, the owner and operator of Box Bike Delivery, said, “The initial driver in making the change to e-cargo bikes was the need to carry more weight over a longer distance and within a more challenging environment. Using e-cargo bikes as opposed to non e-assist really makes sense. It makes sense from a health and safety perspective too and helps riders in the long term. We have certainly been reducing CO₂ emissions.
“We made 35,000 deliveries in 2018 using a small number of e-cargo bikes. It is clear that there is huge potential for these vehicles. It helps with deliveries that are further away and with capacity.”