Cargo bikes take on a whole new lease on life when electric assist is added and there are now more designs, models, and motor options to choose from than ever before.
This is a guide showing the breadth of heavy duty eCargo bike/trike models that are available for individuals and businesses.
Note that we have focused on models with large carrying capacity and capable of taking big weight payloads here.
Now let’s take a look at these heavy electric cargo bikes and trikes!
Babboe have two strong selling points; they aim to be more affordable than many other brands of cargo bike and they have plenty of trike models as well as two-wheelers, clearly aiming at those who realize that very heavy weights can be a little difficult to balance on a two-wheeler (especially at low speed).
Electric options in the UK start at £2075 for the Big-E trike, followed by a two-wheeler ‘Bakfiets’ style bike, the Mini-E, both powered by a rear hub motor.
Fast forward to the top of the range £4305 Carve Mountain and you have a machine powered by a quality Yamaha mid-motor and with tilting steering to give you a sharper turning circle and a more ‘bike like’ riding experience overall.
There looks to be a nice range of accessories that fit inside the cargo boxes on all the bikes, including baby seats, toddler seats, benches and cushions. Of course as with any budget models there will be compromises on materials – for example Babboe boxes are made of pressed wood that don’t really look to kept out in all weather as some pricier brands are. All in all though they still look good value for money on paper.
Note the US avaiable range appears to be slightly different to the above and can be found here.
Billed as ‘the ultimate family bike with car-like comfort’ and with the ability to use your child seat in the front carrying box you can see why.
There’s even an option to enter the cargo box via a small front door!
Their only model, the MK1-E, is powered by the ultra-reliable and high-powered Bosch Performance CX motor and there is low maintenance Nuvinci geared, Gates belt driven option and also the option to add a rain cover, with skylight of course.
Prices from just under €5,000.
Coaster Pedicab offers cargo trikes for pedicabs…
Coaster builds these cargo trikes in Missoula Montana and they have a couple of electric assist options for their trikes.
Here is a look at an eTrike they built for UPS to use in Toronto:
And here is a link to the full story.
A UK-based company of longstanding and fairly recently relaunched. Everything looks like it is built to be as sturdy as possible for daily use in all conditions from the traction drive to the multi-function lighting system.
As you might expect for a vehicle aimed at the commercial market, there are a range of rear carrying options, from flatbed to the extremely solid looking, thermally insulated, MaxVan body, with its 300kg payload.
French firm Douze have two cargo bike ranges; the UP range for ‘commuters and professionals’ and the F range for families. Power options across both ranges are covered by BionX, Go SwissDrive and BROSE (the latter ‘coming soon’).
At first glance their designs might look like more conventional two-wheeled Bakfiets cargo bikes but look more closely and you see they have some very different features.
Rather than use metal steering rods Douze say they have pioneered the use of cables hidden in the frame and the frames themselves are separable for easy transport and storage.
There is also the option of bottom bracket Pinion gears – ideal for use with the rear hub motor versions; very tough and very low maintenance.
Carrying options include soft bags, hardshell cases and flatbeds.
This Danish ‘tadpole trike’ design has recently successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter and should be shipping the first models as you read this.
As well as making for a maneuverable design it looks to offer a lot of features for the money (Crowdfunded offers start at DKK 11,181 or just over US$1800, though the funding period has finished and there are no more details on where you might be able to order one).
There is an built-in GPS and the Bafang motor drive system allows USB port charging of devices. Payload is 200kg, so it’s not quite as heavy duty as some other bikes detailed here, but it’s still an awful lot…
As well as moving people and things some e-cargo bikes have gone that step further by seeking to give e-bike users some weather protection and the comfortable seating offered by auto vehicles – these are so-called velomobiles and one of the most successfully commercialsed examples is the Organic Transport Elf.
Their basic model, the Elf Solo carries one person and has a cargo compartment whilst the Elf 2FR will accommodate a rider plus two small kids and also retains the cargo compartment.
There is also a model designed for police work and other work where heavier payloads may need to be carried.
Standard across the range is a solar panel that Organic Transport say can trickle charge the battery in around 8 hours full sunlight.
Despite bringing some of the advantages of a car to the rider, Elfs are still classed as e-bikes in legal terms as you can use both pedal and electric assist power to move them and the electric-assist is limited to 20mph.
Standard payload is 350lbs / 160kg and all models can be upgraded to carry 550lbs / 250kg. Prices start at US$8,895.
This Seattle-based company recently set up a commercial division marking the introduction of its Radburro e-cargo trike made for industrial payloads.
As you might expect there are various carrying options including a flatbed designed to take pallets and the Truck Bed option that can handle loose materials like sand and gravel and has a pneumatic tipping ability – just like a mini tipper truck!
Pricing starts at US$5499.
The Truck Trike boasts that it is ‘the first true industrial trike with unprecedented payload capacity’. In practice that means that the latest vehicles bought and used by UPS are able to carry more than a third of a ton.
It’s a modular system so customers can choose between a number of different options for the rear load bed including a 96 inch long Titan model, a pedicab, a cargo box and even a coffee stand.
There is also a dual motor option and allied with the patented front wheel human drive means each wheel has its own power source.
They are made in Portland, Oregon and Truck Trike claim ‘we are the only manufacturer in the US creating vehicles of this new weight class – 250 lbs that can carry triple it’s own weight – 750 lbs. of payload plus driver.’
Check out the options available in the video:
These interesting looking bikes, designed and built in the Netherlands, use the same ‘back end’ – a fairly conventional looking e-bike frame with Bosch mid-drive – to deliver two main designs.
The first is a family version seen in action here transporting two children and a very contented looking dog.
The cargo version can provide three lengths of cargo platform, right up to the monster sized XXL with a 130cm long cargo bed. There is also the intriguing looking Shorty option that packs a lot of storage space into a maneuverable short wheelbase.
Urban Arrow have also developed a three-wheeled bike especially for a supermarket chain that appears in this video and it looks to be able to carry a truly impressive amount of food…
Like Organic Elf, Kody Baker, Veemo co-founder also realized the huge potential of a vehicle with ‘the benefits of a small car with the regulatory environment of an electric-assist bike’.
However, Veemo have taken things a step further and added a third and currently very popular element – bike sharing.
Currently they are running a pilot scheme only at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, but are hoping to expand into Vancouver itself in 2018.
There’s also a more indepth look at Veemo’s technology and design here:
From one of the newest velomobiles out there to one of the oldest, Veloform from Germany, and one demonstrating yet another application for e-cargo bikes – as taxis. I’ve seen these in frequent use whilst visiting Frankfurt.
Velofrom’s CityCruiser model is really a 21st centruy electric updating of the cycle rickshaw, using impressive technology such as an 1870Wh battery and 14-speed Rohloff hub gears so that the taxi ‘driver’ can take two adults across town, tackling long distances and hilly terrain on the way.
Undoubtedly Veloform have shown one area where there is real commercial potential by operating world-wide in 52 countries and over 120 cities.
The sides of the vehicles can be used to generate advertising revenue and some 500 international brands have booked campaigns, promotions and events on the vehicle sides. From EUR 9,990.
Here they are in operation on Paris back in 2007 (French language):
That wraps up the heavy duty electric cargo bike & trike guide for now.
Note we have focused on models with large carrying capacity and capable of taking big weight payloads here.
Do you know of a worthy model we haven’t included yet? Want to tell us about what you carry and where? Please leave a comment in the section below and let us know.
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