The Government has announced a £2 million funding package to support the uptake of e-cargo bikes.
"The funding will help pave the way for the nimble electric delivery vehicles to replace older, polluting vans," said a Government statement, and that this would "improve the environment and reduce congestion."
In May last year BikeBiz reported that the DfT was to start a consultation on "plug-in" grants for e-cargobikes. Today’s announcement is of a funding package that will include a mix of stimuli, including purchase grants and promotional schemes, and is believed to be the start of further financial support for e-cargobikes.
The announcement was made during the Zero Emission Vehicle Summit being held in Birmingham this week. The event is bringing together global policymakers, industry experts and opinion formers to tackle carbon emissions and to explore ways to improve air quality.
Roads minister Jesse Norman – who is also the minister for cycling and motorised 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."
He added: "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 £2 million boost aims to counter, in part, the increasing usage of diesel delivery vans that has accompanied the boom in internet shopping. The latest road traffic estimates indicate van traffic increased by 4.7 per cent to 49.5 billion vehicle miles in 2016.
The new package is on top of previous government-funded trials of e-cargo bikes. Last year the Department for Transport’s Innovation Challenge Fund grant enabled London-based E-cargobikes.com to set up on an industrial estate in Islington from which grocery delivery trials with Sainsbury’s were conducted.
The trials exceeded expectations in its potential commercial viability and efficiency, which showed that 96.7 per cent of orders could be fulfilled in a single e-cargo bike drop.