Last-mile mixed electric fleets could save €500M annually and cut emissions by 80%

A new study by EIT InnoEnergy shows e-cargo bikes reduce the total cost per parcel compared to e-vans alone, regardless of the fleet mix and the city layout.
Last-mile mixed electric fleets could save €500M annually and cut emissions by 80%

Today, a new study by EIT InnoEnergy, a body of the European Union, found that mixed electric fleets of e-cargo bikes and e-vans can save urban logistics providers significant costs compared to a 100 per cent e-van fleet operation and contribute to improving overall life quality in cities.

The research shows for a large logistics player delivering 2 billion parcels per year with a mixed fleet of 80 per cent e-cargo bikes and 20 per cent e-vans (compared to 100 per cent e-van fleet), the annual cost savings could amount to ~€554 million by 2030, while reducing last-mile logistics emissions by up to 80 per cent.

According to Jennifer Dungs, Global Head of Mobility at EIT InnoEnergy, rising parcel volumes, combustion-engine vehicle bans from city centres, significant parking challenges, and the need to save costs in a low-margin business are pressuring logistics operators to decarbonise their last-mile delivery operations.

“This study demonstrates that e-cargo bikes are not only a sustainable way to address these challenges, but also cost-competitive and viable for major logistics players - already today, and even more so by 2030.”

Findings showed that e-cargo bikes reduce the total cost per parcel compared to e-vans alone, regardless of the fleet mix and the city layout.

In the study’s baseline case, the total costs per parcel in 2023 would be €0.05 lower than that of a pure e-van fleet (€1.36 vs. €1.41). By 2030, that difference on a per parcel base would increase to €0.20.

In an optimised scenario (80 per cent e-cargo bikes/20 per cent e-vans, operating in a medium-sized city), the savings in relation to a 100 per cent e-van fleet would be even more substantial: €0.08, or 5.3per cent, less costs per parcel today (2023) would add up to total annual savings of ~€156 million for such large logistics provider.

That cost difference per parcel would climb to €0.28, or 17 per cent, by 2030, equalling total savings of ~€554 million.

Further, introducing e-cargo bikes could reduce emissions from last-mile logistics by up to 80 per cent across Europe’s 100 largest cities while reducing traffic congestion and competition for space by replacing up to 120,000 vans. 

Startups to watch:

ONO motion (Germany)

Image: ONO Cargo.

ONO motion offers commercial cargo e-bikes with a physical footprint only a quarter of the size of an electric truck. Its cargo ebikes accelerate last-mile deliveries and the emission-free transportation of goods within cities. With its generous loading area and 280 kg payload, its ONO Allround offers plenty of space for various load carriers, such as Euro pallets (EPAL), cages, or big boxes.

Vok (Estonia)

Image: Vok.

Founded in 2019, Vok Bikes provides e-cargo bikes with swappable batteries that can ride for 100km on a single battery at a speed of 25km.

Its clients include Lithuanian courier service Ziticity, Estonian e-scooter producer and fleet operator Tuul by Comodule, and Estonian national postal service provider Eesti Post. Wolt, a Finnish food delivery company, operates in over 100 cities in Europe and Japan.

PedalMe (UK)

Image: PedalMe.

Pedal Me is a cargo and passenger bike service founded in London in 2017. It operates within a 9-mile radius of Central London (with the option for longer journeys), using a fleet of 55 Urban Arrow bikes and 45 employees. It covers 25,000km each month.

Pedal Me claims to be the only cargo freight service whose bikes can carry the following, in one ride, back to back on the same day while moving at an average speed of 15 km/h in Central London:

● two adults and a small dog 

● 480L of essential products and food 

● 150 kg of liquors and beers ● 50 hot meals 

● a cement mixer 

● a fridge

Significantly, Pedal Me allows their customers to share delivery runs, reducing costs whilst using a sustainable alternative. All Pedal Me riders are employed full-time, with pre-scheduled shifts and hourly pay (as opposed to the per-delivery pay in the gig economy model). Pedal Me also has in-house cycling instructors and a thorough training program. 

Lead image: Onomotion. Photo: uncredited.

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