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Amazon has launched its first “micromobility hub” in the UK with the aim to swap “thousands” of polluting delivery trucks with electric cargo bikes — and, in some cases, walking. The project is intended to help Amazon achieve its climate goals to have 50 percent of its deliveries be carbon neutral by 2030.
Starting in the London borough of Hackney, the company says that it will deliver 1 million packages a year using walking and electric cargo bikes, in addition to deliveries that are made with electric vans. Delivery workers on foot and e-bikes will help displace “thousands” of traditional van trips, Amazon said.
The carbon neutral trips will take place within a tenth of London’s ultra low emissions zone, in which vehicles are charged a fee based on the amount of emissions they produce. E-bikes and electric vehicles are exempt from the charge.
Amazon said it plans on opening additional hubs in the coming months. The company already operates 1,000 electric delivery vans in the UK, and has plans to introduce a new Rivian-made lineup of van in the US later this year (depending on Rivian’s ability to fill those orders).
Electric cargo bikes, especially those designed to look like mini-trucks, have been growing increasingly popular among delivery companies looking to burnish their environmental credentials. FedEx also uses e-bikes in London (that emissions charge!), while Domino’s partnered with Rad Power Bikes to deliver pizza in a couple of cities. UPS is used cargo bikes in Seattle. German delivery company DPD wants to use these mini-trucks that are actually e-bikes in disguise. In New York City, e-bikes are almost exclusively used by food delivery workers.
Amazon didn’t release any details about what they are calling their “e-assisted vehicles,” though they appear to be much different than most of the traditional cargo bikes that are out there. If anything, they look like the mini-trucks first proposed by DPD, which were designed by a startup called Eav, or the four-wheeled “eQuad” delivery vehicles used by UPS.
But we have yet to see a deployment of cargo e-bikes at scale by any delivery company. If Amazon sticks with it and actually fulfills on its promise, then the company’s micromobility efforts in the UK could be the first.