August 06, 2018

Could some vans be replaced by electric bikes and micro vehicles?

Electric vans

The Department for Transport (DfT) believes vans in UK cities could be replaced by “a wave of electric cargo bikes, vans and micro vehicles.”

Last mile deliveries

Everyone will be familiar with the sight of the white van man dropping off online shopping orders from various outlets, however the Department for Transport (DfT) believes that this traditional sight could be very different in the future, after the Government announced “plans to transform last-mile deliveries”. Instead of these miles being driven by vans, the DfT foresees that businesses will deploy “a wave of electric cargo bikes, vans, quadricycles and micro vehicles” for last-mile deliveries in many towns and cities.

”Major changes to the way goods are currently distributed”

The current delivery model involves parcels being shipped from large out-of-town warehouses which may not be suitable for smaller electric vehicles and hence the DfT has realised that for the changes to be implemented, it wouldn’t just be a simple change and would require “Major changes to the way goods are currently distributed”. The DfT also acknowledges that e-cargo bikes are unable to carry more than 125kg at a time, significantly less than traditional vans or even electric vans, whilst they also realise that “some complexity” still remains over insurance and licencing requirements for micro-vehicles and electric vans.

Air quality targets

The DfT has issues a call for evidence from the industry, asking how electric powered alternatives to traditional vans may help the government achieve their air quality targets. On the launch of the call to evidence, Transport Minister Jesse Norman pointed to an exciting time for the UK:

“We are on the cusp of an exciting and profound change in how people, goods and services move around the country which is set to be driven by extraordinary innovation. Our Last Mile call for evidence and Future of Mobility call for evidence mark just one stage in our push to make the most of these inviting opportunities.”

Call for evidence

In the call for evidence, businesses and individuals can suggest how incentives may help businesses move away from traditional vans, how urban and “consolidation centres” would help improve “logistical efficiency” and other barriers that may be faced by the proposals.

Electric vans on finance

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