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Amazon rolls out fleet of e-cargo bikes to make deliveries in the UK

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One of the electric-assist cargo delivery bikes that Amazon is rolling out in the UK. (Amazon Photo)

Amazon is rolling out a fleet of e-cargo bikes and on-foot delivery staff in the United Kingdom as part of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Announcing the plan, the e-commerce giant said the new bicycle and pedestrian delivery force — along with existing electric vans — will make more than 5 million last-mile deliveries a year across Central London. Amazon said the initiative will cover 10% of the city’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, reducing traffic congestion in the process.

It’s part of Amazon’s broader effort to counteract the increase in carbon emissions that has accompanied its growth in market share around the world. In 2020, for example, the company’s emissions rose by 19%, coinciding with rapid growth in sales due to pandemic lockdowns. However, Amazon said it reduced its carbon emitted per dollar earned that year.

A bevy of delivery and logistics companies are also trying micro-mobility alternatives, like e-cargo bikes and deliveries on foot, to reduce traffic congestion and combat the environmental impact of gas-powered deliveries.

In 2018, for example, UPS launched a cargo e-bike delivery pilot project in Seattle. A few weeks ago, UPS said it was testing a similar project in New York using so-called “eQuads.” Seattle-based Rad Power Bikes made headlines in 2019 for its exclusive partnership with Domino’s to use its e-bikes for pizza deliveries across the country. 

In its new UK initiative, Amazon is reportedly not operating the bikes, instead relying on third-party partners.

The company says it already operates more than 1,000 electric vans in the UK, and that it plans to launch additional e-cargo bike and on-foot delivery hubs across the country in the coming months. It is also planning to launch a lineup of Rivian-made vans in the US, contingent on Rivian’s ability to fulfill the order.

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