The Armadillo cargo bike use 6 % of the electricity of a small electric van
Pling Transport, test partner for Velove, was by the Swedish Energy Agency granted funding for testing City Containers and to compare the energy consumption of electric assist cargo bikes and a small electric van. The results show an even bigger difference in energy efficiency than anticipated, where the van used 15 times more electricity to do the same deliveries.
The cargo bike and the van drove five different routes (in total 12,7 km) in Gothenburg, three times each, between 17-22 March 2017. These routes are actual routes ridden by Pling Transport on a daily basis:
A Velove Armadillo with City Container was used as the test cargo bike, on maximum assist mode (5). The battery of the bike was fully charged before tests began. After the routes where completed, the battery was charged until the battery was full and the charger cut off charging itself. The bike had a light cargo 4-5 trays of bread and 1-2 trays of mail.
A Nissan e-NV200 was used as the test electric van. The battery of the van was fully charged before the routes were driven. The automatic air conditioning system was set to 20°C, the steering wheel heating was activated and the stereo turned on. When the test routes where completed, the car was left on charge at the end of the day, until the next morning. The car was driven without cargo on two occasions and with the same load as the bike on one occasion.
A Voltcraft Energy Logger 4000 was used for measuring the actual energy use when charging of the batteries for both the bike and the van. A digital household thermometer was used to measure outdoor temperature.
We already knew there was a huge difference in energy efficiency between electric assist cargo bikes and electric cars, somewhere in the factor 10 range. But here Pling could do a detailed comparison, and also using a small van instead of a car, for an even more relevant test. The vehicle weight of this small van is similar to electric cars with small battery packs, around 1,5 t. The results show that the difference is even bigger than we anticipated. For the same deliveries, the Armadillo cargo bike only used 6 % of the electricity of the van, 0.23 kWh/10 km compared to 3.6 kWh/10 km. This means the difference in energy efficiency is in the factor 15 range.
Possible explanations to the unexpectedly high electricity consumption of the van is that charging losses are usually not taken into account when official energy consumption is stated (nor in the onboard computer), that energy is being drawn even when the battery is fully charged and that start-stop driving in city traffic is affecting consumption heavily.