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The benefits of eCargo bikes for Construction Companies in inner cities

eCargo bikes allow for companies to make their deliveries faster, cheaper and greener, find out how.

Words By Henry Hayes

The role eCargo bikes will play in the mobility of the U.K.’s transport sector over the coming century is undeniable. European research suggests that 10-15% of all delivered goods could be replaced by the eCargo bike trade in the coming years. All manners of businesses, be them couriers to sole-traders and now even construction companies across the U.K. are looking to adopt this new form of mobility. These bikes allow for companies to make deliveries in urbanised areas faster and in a more environmentally friendly way, whilst drastically saving maintenance, congestion and parking costs associated with vans.

Transport for London (TfL) is actively encouraging all businesses to think heavily about the vehicles they drive in the city. The Mayor of London is working to ensure the capital’s entire transport system is zero emission by 2050, including delivering central London and town centre zero emission zones from 2025. The negative impact of just one vehicle, which creates carriageway damage, noise and CO2 pollution and anxiety for pedestrians on urbanised streets, is an all too familiar sight in our already claustrophobic and clogged cities. To add to an employer's concerns, the welfare of their fleet is also at risk. Being a driver causes stress and frustration within city centres, not least as you are constantly stuck in traffic and can have difficulty parking and meeting your couriering deadlines on time. However, eCargo bikes provide a stark opportunity for all businesses to convert to a greener transport solution. There is a city-wide benefit of cleaner air and more liveable streets, as well as flexibility for businesses to use their eCargo bikes consistently throughout any given day, week or month. 

FM Conway, one of the UK’s leading infrastructure services providers, is currently paving the way for other businesses in the construction industry to follow suit. FM Conway is demonstrating that eCargo bikes provide a more efficient and financially beneficial way of transporting goods across multiple projects within city centres, whilst also improving the wellbeing and mental health of its staff. 

fm conway ecargo

FM Conway is currently using eCargo bikes for the Illuminated River Project in London, a major public art commission for the capital’s bridges. The Illuminated River aims to celebrate London’s historic links with its river through the installation of an LED artwork that lights up 14 central London bridges, from Albert to Tower bridge. Once complete, the artwork, headed up by the Illuminated River Foundation, will span 4.5 nautical miles of the River Thames and will be the longest public art commission in the world. The construction company is currently working on phase two of the project, illuminating Blackfriars, Waterloo, Golden Jubilee, Westminster and Lambeth bridges, with there being a staggering 4,000 light fittings, 15km of power and data cabling and 250,000 bolts and fixings being used on the project. 

What have been the key benefits FM Conway have found from using the bikes on this particular project?

FM Conway is the first contractor in the UK to implement such an eCargo scheme to a project and has already seen an increase in efficiency. Matt Smith, FM Conway Structures Director has praised the adoption of the bikes to the project:

“With five bridges in the centre of London, and in heavily pedestrianised areas, our challenge was being able to deliver our goods direct to the points of work day-in-day out, whilst not wasting valuable time spent between sites. The eCargo bikes we use have not only increased our efficiency, but have given us the ability to utilise our workforce across multiple projects and be reactive to certain situations across different locations during the day. There are far lower servicing and maintenance costs required compared to using vans with there being no congestion, ULEZ or parking charges, as well as the obvious environmental impact on the business, creating a larger step towards us being a carbon neutral business in London by 2030. The toughest challenge for us was getting our workforce to adapt to the bikes, but now they’re on them they can’t stop getting on them.”

What have been the key benefits FM Conway have found from using the bikes on this particular project?

FM Conway is the first contractor in the UK to implement such an eCargo scheme to a project and has already seen an increase in efficiency. Matt Smith, FM Conway Structures Director has praised the adoption of the bikes to the project:

“With five bridges in the centre of London, and in heavily pedestrianised areas, our challenge was being able to deliver our goods direct to the points of work day-in-day out, whilst not wasting valuable time spent between sites. The eCargo bikes we use have not only increased our efficiency, but have given us the ability to utilise our workforce across multiple projects and be reactive to certain situations across different locations during the day. There are far lower servicing and maintenance costs required compared to using vans with there being no congestion, ULEZ or parking charges, as well as the obvious environmental impact on the business, creating a larger step towards us being a carbon neutral business in London by 2030. The toughest challenge for us was getting our workforce to adapt to the bikes, but now they’re on them they can’t stop getting on them.”

FM Conway compared the statistical information given to them on their eCargo bikes against van use.

Statistics on fleet

Base statistics per bike used by Conway:

  • Basic Bike Stats
  • Bike Capacity (kg): 300
  • Battery Range per charge (km): 31 miles (50km)
  • Distance Per Week: 186 miles (300km)
  • CO2 Savings (vs small van): 36,000
  • Calories Burned (kcal/pw): 10,500
  • Time Saving on Travel (hours pw)
  • Fuel Cost Saving (£/pm): £225.00

Map of usage

Take a look at the ground they have covered during the month of September. The thick red line represents the several journeys back and forth from FM Conway’s depot in Southwark.Stats to date for the eCargo bikes show that they are proving invaluable as they demonstrate their versatility and ability to react to changing circumstances on site. The benefits of not using a small van are already evident, with the bikes averaging a speed of 10mph in the first six weeks, which according to government statistics, is better than the traffic speed recorded in central London (7.4mph). This is showing that they are not only carbon efficient, but they are also time efficient1. FM Conway’s eCargo bikes have already been busy around Southwark and Westminster, clocking up an impressive 1500 miles as they deliver equipment and tools to sites across London, providing a carbon saving of 1535.48kgCO2e.

As the data accurately shows, the distance that a member of FM Conway’s workforce can  travel between projects in just one week can be anything up to 186 miles, with up to 12 hours per week saved on travel as opposed to using vans. Combine that with a reduced carbon footprint and the savings on fuel per week, and you have an efficient operating workforce. 

Shifting companies’ mindsets are currently difficult in a country where vans, lorries, trains and cars define our business transport culture. However, electric motors diminish the significance of our cities’ topography, especially London’s which has traditionally not been ideal for cycling. However, as FM Conway’s statistics has shown, the use of eCargo bikes has proved themselves to be a guarantor of straightforward, healthy and active mobility in towns for businesses to start using. There is no reason as to why our country’s workforce cannot follow suit.

If you’d like to book an eCargo bike test ride for your business, or if you’d like to speak to one of our eCargo specialists, feel free to follow this link to arrange a time to come to either London Bridge or Silverstone showrooms.

1. http://content.tfl.gov.uk/tlrn-performance-report-q1-2017-18.pdf

Words By Henry Hayes