A wave of electric cargo bikes, quadricycles and micro vehicles could replace vans in UK cities as part of plans to transform last-mile deliveries, vastly reducing emissions and congestion around the country.
There are already 300,000 HGVs and over four million vans on our roads and with online sales continuing to increase, this is likely to increase further.
But new green delivery vehicles could replace the millions of conventionally-fuelled vans which are currently a common sight in city centres.
The plans are being outlined today in the government’s Last Mile ‘call for evidence’ report. It has also released a document entitled Future of Mobility, in which it considers the potential impact of flying vehicles and widespread use of self-driving cars and pledges £12.1 million of funding for six projects working on simulation and modelling to aid the development of connected and autonomous vehicles.
Stuart Hill, CEO at disruptive fleet management software firm Pie.io, told us earlier this year that it is the ‘first mile’ of deliveries that needs attention.
The government said the documents fire the starting gun on the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, which aims to make the UK a world leader in the movement of goods, services and people.
“We are on the cusp of an exciting and profound change in how people, goods and services move around the country which is set to be driven by extraordinary innovation,” said Transport Minister Jesse Norman.
“This could bring significant benefits to people right across the country and presents enormous economic opportunities for the UK, with autonomous vehicle sales set to be worth up to £52 billion by 2035.
“Our Last Mile call for evidence and Future of Mobility call for evidence mark just one stage in our push to make the most of these inviting opportunities.”
They precede a full Future of Urban Mobility Strategy, which is due to be published by the end of the year.
BMW UK chief executive Ian Robertson has been appointed as business champion to help advise, shape and develop the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge.