E-cargobikes.com was founded in 2017 to establish electrically assisted cargo bikes as the preferred urban delivery platform for grocers and other retailers.
Ti interviewed James FitzGerald, co-founder and MD of e-cargobikes.com to find out more about the design of their e-cargo bikes, which are transforming urban logistics by replacing the polluting van-based model.
e-cargobikes.com’s first contract was with Sainsbury’s to run a trial from their Streatham superstore in South London – a proof of concept, to see what this novel platform’s capabilities and limitations were. It was a great success, all KPIs were met, and it proved that one of ECB’s e-cargobikes could deliver the same, if not more, volume and weight of groceries in the same timeframe as a van, at commercially viable rates and for a fraction of the energy costs.
Based on this experience and other studies ECB developed a detailed understanding of clients’ precise needs, after which James began the process of designing a new logistics platform built around the e-cargobike – one he believes will transform home delivery in towns and cities across the world. James expects his modular Veri-cargo™ system to do for e-commerce what the shipping container did for global trade. Items in a typical home delivery order might be handled as many as 12 times before reaching the end customer. Versi-Cargo™ reduces these handling instances by up to 80% which not only saves money on handling, but also enables the major grocers to combine next day, same day, same hour, big basket and small basket on a single delivery platform. James believes this is key to the future viability of home delivery because the delivery cost grocers bear – and the environmental cost we all bear – are inextricably linked to drop density. Consolidating the full spectrum of customer order types and timings onto a single versatile delivery platform can triple drop density – it’s akin to telco and media companies’ ‘triple-play’ channel consolidation. This revolution is about to take hold.
The current flock of commercially available e-cargobikes have evolved from those designed for domestic use and so need significant re-engineering to withstand the tough last-mile environment, where they are subjected to the UK’s potholes and speed humps 18 hours a day 364 days a year.
This is where ECB’s in-house engineering capabilities come into play, they made good use of Neasden’s infamous potholes for research purposes. The Merc Sprinter is an engineering marvel – it can run for 40,000 miles between services without so much as a wash – ECB’s design approach to Versi-Cargo™ is no different to that of Daimler Benz’ or Boeing’s, using Dassault’s Systèmes state-of-the-art FEA fatigue simulation software to run millions of Neasden miles in matter of days, so they know the vehicle is dependable and safe. Tesco et al are never going to ditch all their vans until there’s a safe and reliable alternative. ECB will launch their revolutionary new system with selected partners in Q1 2023.
E-CargoBikes.com chose intentionally to address the most challenging branch of logistics – the grocery sector with its strict cold chain constraints. Their passive low-energy solution has been tried, tested and certified by multiple clients and their testing labs, so they can keep goods cold for three and a half hours and beyond.
The challenge for e-cargobikes.com is to demonstrate their capacity to scale up rapidly to meet demand for a grocery home delivery market that is worth £2bn in the UK alone. Academic studies suggest that up to 50% of vans on the road could be replaced by cargo bikes. There is a lot to play for.
Source: Transport Intelligence, 22nd of August 2022
Author: Julia Swales
GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN INTELLIGENCE (GSCi)