Ikea is no stranger to embracing efficient technologies that help reduce the brand’s carbon footprint. The latest big move from the Allen-wrench-included furniture maker sees the company using three-wheeled electric bikes with solar panels for a home delivery pilot.
The testing has been part of a program run by the Delft Ikea store in The Netherlands.
The pilot included a bright yellow and blue IKEA-branded electric trike used for deliveries in urban areas around the store.
According to a release from the company, the success of the pilot program has led IKEA to expand the use of e-trikes for home deliveries around the world:
After evaluating the pilot, the worldwide IKEA franchisor (Inter IKEA Systems B.V.) now has decided to scale up and give all IKEA retailers around the world the possibility to add a more sustainable, accessible and cost-effective alternative to their home delivery fleet within their market.
You might be wondering just how many of IKEA’s large products can actually fit into a cargo e-trike’s storage box.
As it turns out, the vast majority of the company’s product line is compatible with the bike.
As explained by Helene Davidsson, Sustainability Manager, Inter IKEA Systems B.V.:
This Sunrider bike can accommodate roughly 90% of the IKEA product range and emits 98% less CO2 than modern diesel vans. For IKEA, it’s important to explore new ways to improve the service offer for the customers, both from a more sustainable, affordable and accessible perspective. The solar-powered cargo bike does all that.
The electric cargo trike, known as the SunRider, has a range of around 100 km (62 miles) per charge. The solar panels surely help with that range, though the side-mounted panels might not be in the optimal position for peak energy generation.
The e-bike is no lightweight, rated for carrying a payload of up to 150 kg (330 lbs.). It was also piloted in Vilnius, Lithuania, though there IKEA customers were limited to orders weighing up to 30 kg (66 lbs.), presumably to ensure multiple orders could be delivered in a single trip.
The bike itself looks to feature a front hub motor, which is common among value-oriented electric trikes. Mid-drive motors are more popular in European cargo trikes, though they significantly increase the price of the vehicle.
In the US, electric trikes with front hub motors are starting to come into their own. Multiple companies have unveiled updated models that provide a more stable platform for riders that have trouble balancing or for those that want a three-wheeled setup for hauling heavy or bulky cargo.
The RadTrike is one of the most well-known of recent e-trike launches, marking the first major manufacturer in the US to tackle electric three-wheelers. Until then, most other e-trikes were either produced by smaller boutique brands or imported by lesser known Asian e-bike companies.
When it comes to true heavy-duty cargo e-trikes that are designed for commercial use, the Europeans still seem to take the cake. We’ve tested some massive cargo e-trikes in Europe before that feel more like trucks on bike wheels. Those types of heavy-duty cargo e-trikes are proving popular among delivery companies and other commercial customers.
What do you think of IKEA’s cargo e-trike? Check it out in action in the video below, then let us hear your thoughts in the comment section at the end of this article!
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