Amazon has launched its first “micromobility hub” in the UK, aiming to swap out “thousands” of polluting delivery trucks with electric cargo bikes – and, in some cases, walking. The project aims to help Amazon achieve its climate goals so that 50 percent of its deliveries are carbon neutral by 2030.
Starting in the London borough of Hackney, the company says it will deliver 1 million packages a year using foot and electric cargo bikes, in addition to deliveries made with electric vans. Amazon said delivery workers on foot and e-bikes would help displace “thousands” of traditional van trips.
Carbon neutral trips will take place within a tenth of London’s ultra low emissions zone, in which vehicles are charged based on the amount of emissions they produce. E-bikes and electric vehicles are exempted from duty.
Amazon said it plans to open additional hubs in the coming months. The company already operates 1,000 electric delivery vans in the UK, and plans to introduce a new Rivian-built lineup of vans in the US later this year (based on Rivian’s ability to fill those orders).
Electric cargo bikes, specifically designed to look like mini-trucks, are becoming increasingly popular among delivery companies looking to burnish their environmental credentials. FedEx also uses e-bikes in London (that emissions fee!), while Domino’s partnered with Red Power Bikes to deliver pizza in some cities. UPS is used in cargo bikes in Seattle. German delivery company DPD wants to use these mini trucks which are actually e-bikes in disguise. In New York City, e-bikes are used almost exclusively by food delivery workers.
Amazon didn’t release any details about what they’re calling their “e-assisted vehicle,” though they’re very different than most of the more traditional cargo bikes out there. If anything, they look a lot like the mini-trucks first proposed by DPD, designed by a startup called Eve, or the four-wheeled “Equad” delivery vehicle used by UPS.
But we are yet to see mass deployment of cargo e-bikes by any delivery company. If Amazon lives up to it and really delivers on its promise, the company’s micromobility efforts in the UK could be the first.