8 May 2017
The London borough is leading the way in the fight against air pollution by showing how e-bikes can be incorporated into commercial fleets. And the benefits aren’t just green, as our interview with the council’s service provider shows…
What are the benefits of switching to electric bikes for parking enforcement? With us it’s obviously the cost, with the client they’re green, and with the staff they’re good for morale, as the staff feel we are looking after them. Overall, rather than buy mopeds I’m likely to buy more e-bikes to add to the eight we currently have.
By adding e-bikes I’ve reduced the number of petrol-powered mopeds by six. People who want to ride a moped we steer towards riding an electric bike first. We do still deploy new riders on mopeds but only if somebody leaves, so the number of mopeds is not going to increase. We need to maintain a certain number, as there are other jobs that are better done on a moped.
Without a doubt there is a positive return on investment. An e-bike saves £30 to £50 a week over a moped depending on how many times the rider fills up with petrol. That’s quite a sum over the year.
Another definite effect on cost is a big saving on insurance. Company insurance for moped riders in London is about £700 a year, so reducing the number of moped riders will reduce the insurance bill as a whole.
There are some less obvious savings around using e-bikes – for example there are trackers on the mopeds for monitoring driving standards which we don’t have on the electric bikes. And clothing of course, because all the e-bike riders need is a bike helmet and some waterproof clothing, which is definitely a lot cheaper than a crash helmet and leathers.
We also switch staff to electric bikes from normal pedal cycles. The riders are able to do more in a day and are more efficient because they maintain energy. The majority of our e-bike riders were on pedal cycles, and it’s been a morale booster as well for them. E-bikes are popular with the staff and also popular with clients. Clients will see the benefits in terms of the costs and the carbon footprint.
There is good visibility with e-bikes, and not just on the streets. When we started the new contract and got the electric bikes, we provided photographs to the client, who then put them in their magazine and made people aware that the company was going green and reducing its carbon footprint.
We switched to using electric bikes from QWIC after running a trial. The guys prefer the QWIC e-bikes over the other brand we used before because of the comfort and ease of getting on and off. The design of the bike is better and they’ve been reliable. They’re well made bikes.