Cargo Bikes: The Future of Inner-City Zero-Emissions Travel?

The Armadillo cargo bike made an appearance at the international Cargo Bike Festival in Berlin in 2018.

While most deliveries are still done by truck or car, that could soon be set to change, particularly in urban areas. Sweden's Armadillo cargo bike can transport up to 150 kilograms from A to B - completely emissions-free.

Author Thorge Jans:

Translation Thorge Jans, 06.04.19

This particular cargo bike is the result of seven years of research, trial and development. The team behind it wanted a bike that looked good (it was named one of the world’s 10 most beautiful bikes by the BBC) and to be sturdy enough to withstand the stresses and strains of everyday delivery runs in heavy inner-city traffic. It also had to be as environmentally friendly as possible and not produce any direct emissions. In other words – it had to have the potential to revolutionise the world of cargo transport. The result was the e-cargo bike “Armadillo” from the Swedish manufacturer Velove.

The bike is designed to be used by professional couriers, is made of a solid aluminium frame and weighs in at 64.5 kilograms. It has four wheels, to ensure that it’s as stable as possible. And apparently it’s fun to ride too, with users praising its ride comfort and ease of handling.

And it achieves its main goal too – being able to transport heavy objects while at the same time being agile and compact (check out the video below for evidence of its manoeuvrability). That gives it a huge advantage over vans or trucks – particular in congested city traffic when it comes to covering the last mile. And it taps into the electromobility trend too, with a 250-watt electric motor installed under the cargo area. The batteries can simply be swapped out and replaced with fully-charged ones when they’re empty.

The price may be seen as a drawback by companies, however, with an Armadillo bike costing upwards of 7800 euro.

While Velove is a Swedish company, the market for cargo bikes is strong in Germany too, and Velove opened its first branch in the country in 2018. According to Velove CEO Johann Erlandsson:

    “We identified Germany early on as an important market for us – there is huge potential to replace many vans with more productive and city-friendly solutions for last mile delivery. We have major customers in Germany now, so it was natural for us to decide on Germany as the place we would open our first overseas Velove store.”

The idea of revolutionising urban logistics using a combination of bicycles and e-mobility is not new though: a fleet of climate-friendly electric cargo bikes has been cruising through the streets of Berlin for several years now. And eco-startup Nüwiel has developed a smart, motorized, electric bicycle trailer that can also be used to transport heavy loads through hilly streets.

To find all of our other articles on the topic of e-mobility, click here.

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