Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi, has announced the launch of the Electronic Cargo Bike (e-cargo bike) pilot project.
The e-cargo bike is an electric powered bike that will be used for the transport and delivery of goods.
The project is aimed at providing a cost-effective, safer and greener ‘last-mile’ solution in the freight distribution system, Vadi said.
The pilot project will be launched in collaboration with multiple industry players such as The Innovation Hub, CSIR, the German Ministry as well as the Sharpeville Kasi Development Project (SKDP).
Gauteng’s department of transport said that it had identified challenges relating to cost-effective “last-mile” freight distribution system manifested through inner-city congestion caused by large delivery vehicles.
The introduction of the e-cargo bike is therefore anticipated to provide new possibilities for the province’s congested cities, it said.
Speaking to trade publication FTWOnline, the department confirmed that each motorised bike can carry up to 160 kg and has been limited to 25 km an hour for the three-month trial period.
The bikes are manufactured by German company Anywhere.Berlin.
“The pilot test will help us to determine how the bikes will behave in a local environment as the rolling terrain in Gauteng is very different to the terrain in Germany and Europe as a whole,” GDPRT chief director Freeman Masuku, told FTW Online.
“We have identified waste collectors who usually collect plastic and cardboard in trolleys as our first test setting to see how these bikes will interact with local traffic. As these are just motorised bicycles they can be driven without a licence.”
Masuku added that if the trial was successful, the bikes presented a host of opportunities – especially with regard to goods bought by consumers online.