German Institute for Air and Space Study finds cargo bikes to be extremely popular amongst companies

The German Institute for Air and Space Travel (DLR) examined the potential and customer acceptance of regular cargo bikes as part of their “I relieve cities” study. Therefore, they provided 750 companies with cargo bikes for a duration of three months and daily usage. The result: About one third of respondents switched to owning their personal bike. Two thirds assessed the experience as good or even great.

The participants consisted of private companies, craftmanship businesses, public facilities as well as clubs. Consequently, the acceptance of the cargo bike is based on a wide variety of branches and can be attributed to companies of different sizes. Furthermore, it has to be noted that interest has been much higher than expected. In the beginning the project was designed for just 450 attendees, culminating in 750, due to over 2.000 applicants.

In case of two thirds of respondents, the cargo bike completely replaced the usage of internal combustion engine vehicles. Thus, contributing in a substantial way to emission reduction, because using a cargo bike leads the avoidance of producing on average around 400 kg of CO2 annually.

Half of the participants thought about buying a cargo bike after the test phase has ended. The reason being, a contribution to saving the environment, being some kind of role model or interest in technical innovation. Merely the high cost of purchasing accounted for only one third actually buying one after the project expired. This suggests that a funding program by the government could increase those numbers. An example being a past program subsidising the acquisition of a cargo bike by up to 2,500 Euros.

Although two thirds told the researchers that usage is beneficial for business purposes, 80% also mentioned that there is still room for improvements. Primarily the cargo box, ride comfort and handling were criticized. But overall, the beneficial components were valued much higher than the attributes drawing critique. Especially the independence from parking spots, agility and accessibility of places closed for normal traffic were hugely welcomed. Amongst other aspects an improved firm-image, increased health of workers and fun were mentioned being considered to improve the experience.

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