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

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