Fuelled by the pandemic, online deliveries have been on the rise since 2020, with retailers and distributors scrambling to set up the option if they had not already done so. Companies were forced to rethink new ways of delivering their goods, and many turned to electric bikes (e-bikes).
E-bike usage has been steadily rising, with sales having rocketed across Europe in the past 18 months, partly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many European countries are seeing growth of between 30% and 40%, compared to single-digit growth in car sales. Now that the EU has created a directive as part of its ‘Sustainable transport—new urban mobility framework’, prioritising cyclists and pedestrians in its plans to overhaul urban infrastructure and become a net-zero continent by 2050. To help the EU build on its 2013 urban mobility package and meet its 2050 climate target, this initiative proposes measures to encourage EU countries to develop urban transport systems that are safe, accessible, inclusive, affordable, smart, resilient, and more importantly, emission-free.
The initiative addresses transport pollution and congestion and draws lessons from COVID-19’s effect on public transport to help with the transition to a climate-neutral economy and emission-free transport at local level. In addition to plans to reduce CO2 standards for cars and vans, where the new target started applying in 2020, average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars registered in Europe fell 12% in 2020 compared to the previous year and the share of electric cars tripled.
This will be the first time that the European Commission has proposed a plan prioritising cycling as well as walking and is a much-welcomed move. As a result of people wanting to adopt a healthier lifestyle whether at home or work, and wanting to contribute to greener initiatives, we are now witnessing growing use of e-bikes for the purpose of last mile delivery.
As firms start using e-bikes for these applications, it will not only help enhance the reputation of businesses but also offer them a more sustainable way of delivering their goods to customers. Overall, the efficiency afforded by light and agile vehicles means the industry can fundamentally reimagine how mobility looks in major cities, particularly in regards to the rapidly growing delivery sector. As world leaders continue to explore paths to net zero emissions, light electric vehicles have emerged as a sustainable option that is disrupting the traditionally positive transportation sector.