Velo Cargo: Understanding Everything About the Electric Cargo Bike

The electric cargo bike

When you need to carry heavy items, your traditional bike rack may not be enough. You must choose another means of transport with greater capacity. This is when the cargo bike becomes all the more interesting. But there are different models with electric assistance offering you real ease of driving. So to know the best mobility solutions according to your budget, a clarification is necessary.

What is an electric cargo bike?

First of all, it is important to go back to its definition. The electric cargo bike  is a bike with assistance. Therefore, it is equipped with a motor and a battery with autonomy varying from one model to another. The operation of these 2 components remains scrupulously the same compared to other models of electric bikes. Thus, the performances are there and it is an ecological means of transport which offers you all the power necessary to move you, whether in the city or outside.

However, there is a major difference with a traditional bike with electric assistance compared to a cargo model. It is a much larger and much more imposing format. Therefore, the weight is also heavier. Note also a much easier step over with a much lower center of gravity. The cargo bike also features strong tubes with double-walled rims.

Directly from a visual point of view, you will be able to see that the electric cargo bike has a box of an imposing size to store all the equipment necessary for the good circulation of goods. But you will also be able to place a young child there. On a classic electric bike, the box is not present and you only have a more traditional luggage rack. This greatly limits the weight of the objects to be transported.

In a way, a cargo model corresponds to an extended bike. It is also a particularly popular model for delivery to city centers or other urban areas.

What is the difference between a two-cargo cargo bike and a three-cargo cargo bike?

To simplify understanding, a cargo bike always consists of the same components, that is to say a saddle, a crankset, a handlebar, a motor and a battery. However, it may have several wheels to facilitate loading of goods. As a result, you are able to move much heavier objects more easily compared to a traditional bicycle. For example, small furniture, a toolbox, shopping, suitcases or even your pets.

Undeniably, this is a daily advantage for saving time, without the need to use a fuel-based vehicle. The motorized aspect will allow you to travel long distances with minimal effort. It is therefore possible to use the cargo bike to go to work, to take your child to school or to run errands. Furthermore, it is also used by many professionals such as delivery people or craftsmen.

Over reasonable distances, you move easily and easily. Even if the model remains more bulky than a classic bicycle, it remains extremely easy to handle. You can of course take the cycle paths and you will have much less difficulty with parking.

But there are different types of cargo bike and it is important to be aware of them:

  • The longtail bike has a robust and easily identifiable frame because it is extended at the rear. Thanks to its luggage rack, you will be able to move large loads with the possibility of adding panniers and a basket at the front.
  • A two-wheeled model has two wheels with an extension towards the front. Regarding the cargo box, it will be positioned in front of the front wheel and you will be able to transport up to three children. Another particularity to take into consideration, the wheel remains offset to the front, but this will absolutely not hinder you when traveling around town.
  • Finally, the tricycle, pendulum or classic bike consists of at least three wheels. Once again, the cargo box will be positioned on the two front wheels. Undoubtedly, it is a more bulky model, but allows you to transport much more equipment and up to 6 children.

How much does an electric cargo bike cost on average?

Several manufacturers have launched into the production of electric cargo bikes. Indeed, brands have noticed a real craze for this type of vehicle. Some are more specialized in the transport of goods and others for the transport of children. Thus, the loading space remains variable and some cleverly combine the transport of goods and children at the same time. Safety will always be essential, but be aware that a cargo bike has a significant cost.

So, before purchasing a model, consider your needs and then look at the different existing models. Some will be available from €2,500, but be aware that more sophisticated cargo bike models can easily reach €10,000. Certainly, it is a purchase price which is not negligible. This is why there are subsidies offered by the government.

When you are eligible for these different bonuses, the purchasing cost drops drastically. However, this does not absolve you from doing prior research in order to invest only in a reliable brand and in a model corresponding exactly to your needs.

What bonuses and subsidies are offered by the state for delivery professionals?

Currently, public authorities are encouraging the energy transition and in particular the use of electric bicycles. The idea is to use a means of transport that limits greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, there are two forms of bonus if you purchase this type of vehicle.

Firstly, the electric bike bonus which will be directly granted to you by the government. However, its amount cannot exceed €300. Then, subsidies concerning electric bicycles, but directly dependent on local authorities. You will therefore need to contact your region or department to find out more.

How does the electric bike bonus work?

This is a bonus paid directly by the government and which was introduced on February 19, 2017. As explained previously, its amount cannot exceed €300. But an increase of €400 may occur when it concerns a household in a precarious situation or a person with a disability.

To find out if you are eligible for the electric bike bonus, you will need to be of legal age and domiciled in France. The reference tax income must not exceed the ceiling of €13,489. Finally, your bike must be new and you must keep it for at least a year. This purchasing assistance remains particularly appreciable but do not forget to provide all the necessary supporting documents by going to .

Among other things, you will be asked for an identity document, proof of address, your invoice, a sworn statement and a certificate of approval.

How to benefit from the electric conversion bonus?

If you wish to replace a polluting vehicle with an VAE, aid of an amount equivalent to 40% of the acquisition cost remains possible, up to a ceiling of €3,000. The bonus will be directly subject to income conditions. Please note, the system put in place by the government will end on January 1, 2023.

Concerning obtaining it, you must once again be of legal age and domiciled in France. The purchase only concerns a vehicle with a pedal-assisted cycle, not containing a lead-acid battery and having a unique identifier. However, you can buy it from any store and not from a specific buyer.

How to benefit from a subsidy for a  cargo bike  ?

This time, it is financial aid directly deployed by the local authority. It is aimed directly at people looking for financing for an electric bike. First of all, it is interesting to contact the community in your region to find out the eligibility conditions and the amount of the premium.

In the Île-de-France region, the aid is then set at a limit of 33% excluding taxes of the purchase price and a maximum of €400. Proof of address will be requested as well as a VAE registration certificate. It is imperative to reside in the city of Paris. But be aware that two other aids are also possible, notably a first granted by the Greater Paris metropolis and with a ceiling of €500 maximum. This only concerns the replacement of an old thermal vehicle with an electric bicycle.

Finally, a purchase bonus from Île-de-France Mobilités up to a limit of €500 and corresponding to 50% of the purchase price of the cargo bike.

What to remember before purchasing a cargo bike

The cargo bike remains particularly advantageous when you need to transport goods or pick up your children from school. This is a significant advantage and you should know that many purchasing aids are available. All you need to do is make an online request and check the different eligibility conditions. Thanks to the various subsidies, you can avoid taking out credit, but don’t forget to prepare your tax file in advance to be certain of the amount you will pay.

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