Amazon expands cargo bike trial to Europe

Amazon electric cargo bikeAmazon electric cargo bike Amazon is trialling electric cargo bikes with its delivery sub-contractors.Reproduced with kind permission of Brian Jones / @iambrianjones

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  • Amazon is trialling electric cargo bikes for delivery in London and other European cities.
  • The retail giant participated in a New York pilot program to test cargo bikes in late 2019, in an attempt to reduce congestion from delivery vehicles.
  • An Amazon spokesman said: "We are experimenting across the company to reduce carbon emissions, including working with our delivery services providers to test a variety of e-cargo bikes in London and other EU cities."
  • The rise of online ordering and next-day delivery has led to a boom in delivery vans and a rise in congestion, even as the public turns to alternative transport options such as walking and cycling.
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Amazon has expanded its trials of electric cargo bikes for delivery to Europe, after experimenting with the concept in New York last year. The company confirmed to Business Insider earlier this month that it was experimenting with electric cargo bikes as a way to reduce emissions in European cities. A spokesman said: "Amazon has made a commitment through The Climate Pledge to reach net zero carbon by 2040 -- 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

"We are experimenting across the company to reduce carbon emissions, including working with our delivery services providers to test a variety of e-cargo bikes in London and other EU cities." One eagle-eyed cyclist and Twitter user in London, Brian Jones, spotted a cargo bike out and about for Amazon deliveries close to the firm's east London HQ. The cargo bike is not operated by Amazon itself, but by one of its local sub-contractors.

Here's footage of the bike in action:

--filter more streets (@iambrianjones)

October 3, 2020

Amazon declined to name the sub-contractor in question, but UK logistics startup Delivery Mates has publicly taken credit for the vehicles. CEO Ercilio Oliveira did not respond to requests for comment from Business Insider. Amazon may not make the electric bikes a permanent part of its delivery vehicle roster, but the experiment comes as cities grapple with congestion thanks to the rise of online shopping.

A report published by London's transport regulator, Transport for London, in 2017 notes that people are shifting away from private cars and turning to public transport and cycling. But that reduction, the report said, was offset by a rise in "light goods vehicles" -- the delivery vans that ensure your Amazon packages turn up on time, as well as services like Uber. "We see that many of the of the Outer London boroughs have seen increases in LGV [van] traffic of more than 10% over the last twenty years, with particular growth in the boroughs north of the river," the authors wrote.

Delivery vans made up about 20% of all London road usage in 2017, according to remarks by London mayor Sadiq Khan.

In Paris, mayor Anne Hidalgo is reportedly considering a tax on Amazon and other firms whose delivery services create congestion.

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