Recent drivers in the cargobike industry in the UK

In Cycling Industry News, Richard Armitage, chair of the European Cargo Bikes and Cycle Logistics Experts Group has recently written on recent trends of the cargobike industry in the UK.

Image by Zedify

First he highlights years of development finally bearing fruit, with sales showing 50% annual growth. However present sales figures are dwarfed by the potential:

The Cargo Bike & Cycle Logistics Experts Group has adopted an ambitious approach. Annual sales of light commercial vans in Europe reached the 2 million mark in 2017/18, with the overwhelming majority diesel powered. Turning to the domestic market, Copenhagen has around 40,000 cargo bikes in regular private use. By 2030, the Experts Group envisages annual sales of 1 million cargo bikes for commercial deliveries and a further 1 million annual sales of family cargo bikes.

Both in Germany and in the UK subsidy schemes have been very successful.

In the UK, the Department for Transport’s eCargo Bike Grant Fund for businesses and organisations has awarded £2m in grants. Interest generated by the Fund lead to 58 English councils submitting bids worth £4.2m in March 2020, of which the Fund grant aided £1.6m. The UK government is left with a positive problem of whether to find additional funds for the remaining £2.6m of ‘shovel-ready’ proposals.

Again, it is fruitful to compare the cargobike sector with the more established automotive sector, where the amount of grants offered is an order of magnitudes greater.

Armitage then touches on standards:

On 20 January 2020, work began on a new European cargo bike standard. CEN held the inaugural meeting of Working Group 9 (Cargo Bikes) of Technical Committee 333 (Cycles) in Delft, the Netherlands. Erik Driessen of Dutch cargo bike manufacturer Urban Arrow is WG9’s leader. The Cargo Bikes Experts Group is taking a leading role in the development of this standard, with several members formally accredited by CEN, including Arne Behrensen of, who is representing the European Cycle Logistics Federation. There are already national standards published in Germany (DIN) and France (NF). The vitality of the growing cargo bike market is guaranteeing a lively debate between cargo bike manufacturers, retailers and users about what the new standard should contain.

The strong sales are forcing manufacturers to increase production volumes; some of the Dutch manufacturers being advantaged by having parent companies with large facilities.

Armitage concludes with citing the work of the organization he chairs:

The European Cycle Logistics Federation (ECLF) emerged in 2014, bringing together cycle logistics operators, suppliers and supporters. The 2017 ECLF Conference had 400 participants and 41 exhibitors, from 24 countries, over three days. The host, the City of Vienna, announced a cargo bike purchase subsidy scheme which was very successful in kick-starting the cargo bike market and subsequent use in the city. The event received significant support from deputy mayor Maria Vassilakou, the Green Party executive councillor responsible for Urban Planning, Traffic & Transport, Climate Protection, Energy and Public Participation.
Today the ECLF has spawned national cycle logistics associations in Belgium, Germany and the UK, whilst others are being set up. ECLF and Cycling Industries Europe have formed a strategic partnership to strengthen the impact and industrial coordination of the cargo bike sector. They have combined forces to create a stronger advocacy voice for cycle logistics businesses in EU and national government policies, ensuring representation in Brussels. In turn, this has lead to the establishment of a Cargo Bikes & Cycle Logistics Experts Group, to provide industry-wide leadership on growing the sector.

Read the full article here

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