Current Projects

„Ich ersetze ein Auto“: Electric cargo bikes for couriers and express logistics services

In the project "Ich ersetze ein Auto" (i.e. „I substitute a car“), electric cargo bikes are presented as innovative vehicles for urban commercial transport. Their potential contribution towards climate protection is being evaluated.


As part of the Climate Initiative (funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment), 40 electric cargo bikes are integrated in daily courier deliveries. Electric cargo bikes allow a payload of 100kg and a higher delivery speed than non-motorized cargo bikes. The Institute of Transport Research analyses the potential of this innovation in urban commercial transport in particular with regard to determining factors and possible use cases. It can be assumed that there is a substitution potential for 85% of the trips carried out by car couriers in inner cities.


"Ich ersetze ein Auto" allows couriers and express logistics services to reduce the use of combustion engine vehicles and therefore reduce GHG emissions.

During this two-year project the following questions will be answered:

  • How can electric cargo bikes contribute in reducing CO2 emissions and harmful traffic in cities?
  • Which amount of car courier trips could be substituted by electric cargo bikes?
  • What opportunities arise from the implementation of electric cargo bikes for urban courier services and their customers?
  • What are the drivers and barriers for using electric cargo bikes from a courier‘s perspective?



 Electric cargo bike 'iBullitt Pedelec Solar'
zum Bild Electric cargo bike "iBullitt Pedelec Solar"

In the context of this project, 40 two-wheel electric cargo bikes (type “iBullitt Pedelec Solar“, produced by Urban-e) are used. The vehicle has a payload of 100 kg and an electric range of up to 90 km. Its electric engine supports up to 25 kph – higher velocities can be reached by muscle power.

The implementation of the electric cargo bikes started in summer 2012. Self-employed and employed couriers in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Düsseldorf, Leipzig, Bremen and Nuremberg started using an electric cargo bike as part of their daily working routines. Both, car and bicycle couriers are highly interested in participation.

In order to evaluate the electric cargo bikes’ potential, order data records and routes are being analysed before and during the vehicles’ usage period. In addition, couriers, technicians, dispatchers and customers are being interviewed to gain important information about the general acceptance.

All vehicles have a common appearance, including the logo "Ich ersetze ein Auto" to rise the interest of further potential "changers".

Contracting entity

  • German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as part of the Climate Initiative


  • 29 19 19 KURIER Aktiengesellschaft, Hamburg
  • CTS City Transport System GmbH, Nuremberg
  • DLR - Institute of Transport Research
  • messenger Transport + Logistik GmbH, Berlin
  • Rapid Kurierdienste KG, Munich
  • Rotrunner GmbH & Co. KG, Düsseldorf
  • messenger logistics GmbH, Leipzig
  • Sprint Logistik, Ellmers Lienhoop GbR, Bremen
  • Urban e MSC GmbH, Berlin

Project duration

April 2012 - June 2014

Dipl.-Geograph Johannes Gruber
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Institute of Transport Research
, Commercial Transport
Tel: +49 30 67055-200

Fax: +49 30 67055-283

URL for this article
Links zu diesem Artikel