Amazon has launched its first “micromobility hub” in the UK with the aim of swapping “thousands” of polluting vans for electric cargo bikes – and in some cases walking. The project aims to help Amazon achieve its climate goals of having 50 percent of its deliveries carbon neutral by 2030.
Starting in London’s Hackney borough, the company says it will deliver 1 million parcels a year using walking and electric cargo bikes, in addition to deliveries made by electric vans. Foot and e-bike delivery drivers will help displace “thousands” of traditional bus journeys, Amazon said.
The carbon neutral journeys will take place within a tenth of London’s ultra-low emission zone, where vehicles pay a fee based on the amount of emissions they produce. E-bikes and electric vehicles are exempt from the tax.
Amazon said it plans to open additional hubs in the coming months. The company already operates 1,000 electric vans in the UK and plans to introduce a new range of Rivian vans in the US later this year (subject to Rivian’s ability to fulfill those orders).
Electric cargo bikes, especially those designed to look like mini trucks, are becoming increasingly popular with delivery companies looking to improve their environmental performance. FedEx also uses e-bikes in London (that carbon tax!), while Domino’s partners with Rad Power Bikes to deliver pizza to a number of cities. UPS is used cargo bikes in Seattle. German delivery service DPD wants to use it mini trucks which are actually e-bikes in disguise. In New York City, e-bikes are used almost exclusively by food delivery drivers.
Amazon hasn’t released any details on what they call their “e-assisted vehicles,” although they appear to be much different than most traditional cargo bikes out there. In any case, they resemble the mini trucks first proposed by DPD, which were designed by a startup called Eav, or the four-wheel “eQuad” vans used by UPS.
But we have yet to see a large-scale deployment of cargo e-bikes by a delivery company. If Amazon sticks to it and actually delivers on its promise, then the company’s micromobility efforts in the UK could be its first.