In the last year e-cargo bikes have outsold electric cars in Germany—39,000 electric assisted cargo bikes versus 32,000 electric cars.
This is despite electric cars being backed by large government subsidies while e-bikes get a small hand out.
With the pressure on emissions reductions becoming more urgent, and the realisation that people are reluctant to go electric with incentives, the question is being asked in Germany, and now in most of the world: would those subsidies have a bigger impact if they went to cargo bikes instead of cars?
When Berlin City recently offered to subsidise the purchase of e-cargo bikes they had almost 2000 applications in the first day, and had to draw lots not allocate the offer.
Why are people falling in love with cargo bikes?
Firstly they are easy to park close to your destination. That is a big deal in a crowded city.
Then, you trip is usually quicker, and you always arrive on time because you are not subject to the random congestion episodes that plague those in cars.
And thirdly, often you can get rid of your car because the cargo bike can move most of the bulky stuff you thought you needed a car for.
And importantly, no more hectic school drops-offs with the car, the kids are happy going to school in the bike, and mum and dad are also smiling.
Here’s the thing: children far prefer going to childcare and school on a bike than in a car—they see the world at their scale, are stimulated by it, and always have a new question to ask.
The electric car was the symbol of environmental consciousness until now. But the electric cargo bike is zipping up the status ladder.
Germans were satisfied with their electric cars, but they are exhilarated by the e-cargo bikes.
Due to the clamour for a faster transition away from cars, multiple schemes are popping up across Germany to get more cargo bikes on the road, with more than 20 schemes now afoot.
One city will toss in an extra $800 if you replace a motor vehicle with you cargo bike.
And the bikes are not just making sense to families. Logistics firms as well as a wide range of utilities agencies, maintenance providers and specialist tradesman are getting on board because they can save so much time and parking hassles on smaller jobs.