Centre of Applied Research Technology

Explaining the growth in light electric vehicles in city logistics


Research finds that the global market value of cargo bikes will hit 2.4 billion euros by 2031. Analysts with Future Market Insights assessing the growth of cargo bikes have placed the parcel courier industry as a key buyer of electric cargo bikes, forecasting that 43 per cent of sales could go to this industry. This growth is driven by city logistics trends, particularly as studies emerge showing the high efficiency and cost saving of the cargo bike versus the delivery van.

It will not solely be direct incentives that drive uptake, however. The policy that restricts motoring and emissions is expected to be a key driver for businesses that seek profitability, with three-wheeled electric cargo bikes making up nearly half the market. The advance of e-bike technology has seen a strong rise in market share for assisted cargo bikes, now accounting for a 73 per cent market share. Potentially limiting the growth is the legislation governing the output and range of electric cargo bikes (FMI, 2021). To deal with the issues of faster delivery, clean delivery (low/zero emission) and less space in dense cities, the light electric freight vehicle (LEFV) can be–and is used more and more as–an innovative solution. The way logistics in urban areas is organized is being challenged, as the global growth of cities leads to more jobs, more businesses and more residents. As a result, companies, workers, residents and visitors demand more goods and produce more waste. More space for logistics activities in and around cities is at odds with the growing need for accommodation for people living and working in cities.

Reference van Duin, R., Ploos van Amstel, W., & Quak, H. (2022). Explaining the growth in light electric vehicles in city logistics. In B. van Wee, J. Annema, & J. Köhler (Eds.), Innovations in transport: success, failure and societal impacts (pp. 188-220). Edward Elgar Publishing. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781800373372
Published by  Centre for Applied Research Technology 1 November 2022

Publication date

Nov 2022


Ron van Duin
Hans Quak


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