As the UK plans its post-lockdown transportation strategy, the City of Nottingham has secured funding from the central government Energy Saving Trust for nearly £50,000 (US$61,000) for a fleet of electric cargo bikes, which could help ease congestion caused by delivery vehicles.
The City Council will team up with local bicycle manufacturer Raleigh to produce the ‘eCargo’ cycles. The electric bikes are designed to allow individuals and companies to transport bulkier items between locations. They have a large compartment at the front and are powered by an electric motor.
The project opens up access to a commercial vehicle option that is currently out of reach for both private and public-sector organisations. It will be of particular benefit to smaller organisations who may currently rely on external providers for deliveries within the city.
Through an extended trial period, organisations will be able to assess – with support from the Council’s Workplace Travel Service – if an eCargo bike can benefit them financially over a set period.
The £47,900 grant has come from wider £1.2m Department for Transport funding and has been distributed by Energy Saving Trust. The 15 eCargo bikes will be provided by Nottingham-based Raleigh and include 12 two-wheeled bikes and three trikes.
“We’re really pleased to have secured this funding – another example of a successful bid for government money in Nottingham,” says Councillor Adele Williams, portfolio holder for transport at Nottingham City Council. “We continue to lead the way on sustainable transport projects and have a proud national reputation for innovation.
“We know that eCargo bikes have been very popular in other major European cities and we hope they will prove so in Nottingham – we have set out to enable a clean freight system as part of our carbon neutral action plan. Securing the funding for these bikes demonstrates our commitment to achieving this.
In time, it is hoped to make eCargo bikes available at local mobility hubs across Nottingham – as part of the city being chosen as one of four trial Future Transport Zones in England.
“eCargo bikes are an attractive low-carbon transport solution which offer important benefits, most impressively fuel cost savings and contributing to improved local air quality,” says Tim Anderson, head of transport at the Energy Saving Trust. “Last-mile delivery is an important area for consideration in our journey to reduce transport emissions to net zero by 2050.”