Co-op launches new online delivery service with e-bikes

The Co-op made the move to look at “different ways” of bringing products closer to shoppers

The scheme is due to be trialled at Co-op’s Kings Road store in Chelsea, London, and will see bikes provide delivery services to shoppers who live or work within a four kilometre (2.5 mile) range.

The company claims an e-bike can deliver the same amount as a conventional grocery van on an eight-hour shift but using only a fraction of the energy of such a vehicle. The scheme will allow users to purchase goods at Co-op’s online store which will then be delivered within two hours – a journey time the firm claim a van would be unable to complete cost-effectively due to a bike’s usage of cycling lanes.

Head of food digital at Co-op, Chris Conway, said the firm wanted to look at “different ways” of bringing products closer to shoppers, and e-cargobikes offered a disruptive alternative to van-based last-mile delivery. The last-mile delivery service means that certain deliveries won’t be hit with congestion charges in London, and the provider claims the vehicles are suitable for same-hour delivers. The zero-emission vehicles also benefit from no noise pollution.

Using a metric to measure the total energy required to power a vehicle, including the energy to produce and distribute fuels, an e-cargobike uses less than 0.5% of the energy required to power a 3.5-tonne delivery van on diesel on an eight-hour shift, according to the company.

Bike trials

The news follows a trial that the bike firm did with Sainsbury’s last year, where up 100 online deliveries a day were undertaken from the Streatham Common store by the e-cargobikes.

Managing director of, James FitzGerald, said that Co-op was “demonstrating environmental leadership” through launching the service which he said was “reimagining grocery deliveries and exploring a more sustainable transport system”.

The issues around last mile deliveries – and using forms of electric bikes – has seen a number of companies take action. Last year Just Eat partnered with e-bike manufacturers Eskuta to offer a 45% discount on electric scooters for food deliveries for its restaurant partners. Companies can save around £750 on the vehicles, which usually cost in excess of £1,400.

Also, delivery firm UPS, which has led on sustainable transport options, has incorporated e-Bikes into its US-based urban delivery fleet through a trial on inner-city delivery routes in Seattle, Washington, with a view to a wider roll-out if feedback from delivery staff and customers is positive.

French fuel cell firm Pragma Industries launched its new hydrogen-powered pedal bicycle at CES this year. The Alpha Bike has a range of 150km per charge and can be switched between pedal power and hydrogen power modes.


Co-op has been an industry leader in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, most recently announcing it had cut emissions by 54% against a 2006 baseline – hitting its target three years ahead of schedule. The firm is now looking at ways that it can implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and setting longer-term ambitions and measurements.

Achievements to date include 100% of the firm’s electricity coming from UK wind farms, becoming the first UK retailer to sell and use only Fairtrade cocoa in own-brand products, and creating a new sourcing model, which has seen more than 200 Co-op products switch to 100% Fairtrade cocoa.

Additionally, 71% of product packaging is now easy to recycle. It has pledged to make all of its own-brand packaging recyclable, with an interim goal of 80% recyclability set for 2020, and has backed the introduction of a nationwide bottle deposit return scheme to help reduce plastic pollution.

James Evison

© Faversham House Ltd 2023 edie news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie