Asda has become the first supermarket to trial a Bicester-based Electric Assisted Vehicle, allowing customers to receive their weekly food shop with zero carbon emissions.
The first-of-its-kind electric assisted cargo bike was used by the retailer as part of a two week trial to make deliveries from its Cambridge store, as it looks at potential solutions to reach customers who live in proposed pedestrianised areas and zero emission zones where future access for traditional delivery vehicles could be limited.
Developed by Bicester-based Electric Assisted Vehicles (EAV), the cargo vehicle is both road legal and able to travel in cycle lanes.
Weighing in at just 150kgs, it can reach speeds of up to 15mph and has an ultra-lightweight chassis made of a bio-recyclable flax and carbon composite.
The unit behind the drivers cab carries up to 10 full totes of shopping - the equivalent of two customer orders - with drivers only required to pedal for short bursts to maintain speeds of 15mph.
Drivers operating the vehicle can also use the ‘hold’ button to maintain speeds of 6kmph without any effort.
Bicester-based EAV has developed the vehicle to provide a form of commercial transport that reduces both carbon and particulate emissions, aimed at forward-thinking logistics companies and retailers looking to make deliveries in this way.
Although customers won’t see widespread Asda deliveries made by the eCargo vehicles in the immediate future, they are part of the supermarket’s plans to respond to the challenges that low emission and pedestrianised zones will bring.
Simon Gregg, Vice President of Online grocery at Asda said: "It was great to see the reaction to the e-bike when we took it out on the road – it was really well received and definitely was a talking point at the store and with our customers.
"As we look to the future of retail we have to consider new and innovative ways to continue to offer great service to our customers whilst navigating things like low emission zones and pedestrianised areas. A solution such as this would allow us to get into town and cities where access is limited, using either roads or cycle lanes.
"It’s been great to collaborate with the team at EAV and put their eCargo vehicle to the test."
Adam Barmby, Founder and CEO of EAV, said: "The eCargo concept has already proven to be more efficient than any van within an urban parcels and packages logistics scenario. Working with Asda to reduce the environmental impact of grocery, and to make those deliveries more accessible in towns and cities, has been a great test for our new 2Cubed vehicle and one we’ve been really keen to participate in."