The hype for electric cargo bikes is growing, both for business and family use. This surge is set to continue as governments invest billions in active travel and cycling infrastructure to tackle the climate crisis.
In Europe, the e-cargo bike market is booming, with upto 100,000 sold in France and Germany each year. UK cargo bike sales are a little behind our European neighbours, with just 2,000 sold in 2021, but industry experts forecast a rise by 60% this year, and a 15-fold increase in market size over the next five years.
If you’re wondering what an electric cargo bike actually is, who it’s for and what you can carry, we’ve got all your questions answered here. So, you can decide for yourself if it’s a bandwagon worth jumping on.
What is an electric cargo bike?
An e-cargo bike is a specially-adapted e-bike designed to carry larger and heavier loads. Like kids on the school run, deliveries for businesses, or carrying your weekly food shop home.
Like standard electric bikes, e-cargo bikes are equipped with pedal assist (a motor that kicks in to help you as you pedal), but with the addition of a purpose-built cargo carrying area to transport your precious load.
They come in many different sizes but the built-in open top or lockable cargo area is usually at the front of the bike. Making them much easier to ride and manoeuvre than pulling a trailer at the back.
What is an electric cargo bike used for?
You can carry just about anything in an e-cargo bike. From shopping, goods and heavy tools, to people, dogs and more. They’re perfect for busy urban settings and easy to ride because of the powerful motor and specially designed geometry with large cargo storage areas.
For businesses, they’re fast becoming the default transport choice for ‘last mile’ deliveries. Offering cheaper, more nimble and zero-emission alternatives to vans and lorries.
For families they’re revolutionising school runs, shopping trips and days out with the kids, as many parents swap sitting in traffic for specially adapted family e-cargo bikes.
See this article for some feel-good family e-cargo bike content.
What are the benefits of using an e-cargo bike?
For busy towns and cities, switching to an e-cargo bike is a no-brainer. They’re cheaper to purchase than a van or car, with much lower running costs and zero emissions. Because of this, electric cargo bikes are exempt from Low Emission Zone and Clean Air Zone charges, adding further to the cost benefits.
Not only are they cheaper, e-cargo bikes are also often quicker alternatives to using a car or van, as shown in this 2021 study that found e-cargo bikes delivered 60% faster than vans in city centres.
Plus, they bring all the usual health benefits of cycling for people and the planet. Reduced stress, improved mental, increased fitness, less congestion and better air quality for all.
When you add it all up, what’s not to like?
Best e-cargo bikes available in the UK
Long-standing UK bike brand Raleigh is one of the main players in e-cargo bike manufacturing. They have seen e-cargo bike sales increase by 75% last year at its Nottingham factory. Another key brand is Dutch company Urban Arrow, the world’s leading manufacturer of electric cargo bikes.
Also check out our partner, Pure Electric’s website, one of the UK’s leading e-bike retailers with branches across the country and a range of electric cargo bike brands and information.
Raleigh Stride 2 Family Cargo Bike – RRP £4,395
Equipped with a 500Wh Bosch battery and up to 40 miles range on a single charge. The Raleigh Stride 2 will power you long past the traffic you once sat in with the kids. The bike features a low step, 50cm frame, 26 inch wheels and built-in lights and mudguards. Making it comfortable to ride in all weathers.
Finance is available and you can book a test ride on the website too.
Urban Arrow Family Cargo Bike – RRP £4,750
This ultra-versatile e-cargo bike from the world’s leading manufacturer of electric cargo bikes comes equipped with a 400Wh Bosch battery and 40-60 mile range with load. You get two standard seats for the kids but you can add an extra bench to carry three if you need. Along with plenty of other accessories on the Fully Charged website.
Finance is available.
Raleigh Pro Cargo Bike– RRP £4,950
This *business savvy electric cargo bike is powered by a Yamaha 250W motor with a range of upto 37 miles. Its lightweight fibreglass box carries upto 80kg load capacity and it comes with integrated front and rear LED lights for best visibility in low-lit busy city streets.
If you fancy three wheels rather than two, this model also comes as an e-cargo trike. Finance is available.
*Disclaimer – please note that Bikmo cycle insurance policies do not cover any bike being used for business purposes.
Electric cargo bike insurance
Bikmo offers comprehensive insurance cover (with a 25% discount) for electric powered riders. So, if you’re considering buying an e-cargo bike (or any e-bike for that matter), we’ve got your back.
For your Bikmo Electric Bike policy to remain valid, your e-cargo bike must have pedal assist and a maximum power output of 250 watts, be restricted to 15.5mph / 25km/hr and can only be ridden by someone over the age of 14. If your e-bike does not fulfil these requirements it may be subject to the Road Traffic Act. Which would require you to pay tax and licensing. Visit this page on the government website for the electric bike rules in the UK.
Got more e-cargo bike insurance questions? Visit our Electric Bike Insurance FAQs for more information.