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The Chariot FS2 – a last mile gamechanger?

Cargo Cycling’s Koen Nijland & Jeroen Beumer discuss the potential of their next-generation e-cargo trike in partnership with Delivery Mates

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Delivery Mates, a pioneering sustainable UK-based last-mile delivery provider, has formed a strategic partnership with Dutch cycling solutions firm Cargo Cycling, bringing together “two parties at the top of their game”.

During an eight-week pilot, Delivery Mates will deploy Cargo Cycling’s cutting-edge e-cargo trike – the Chariot FS2 – a next-generation device capable of transporting up to 1,700 litres and a 200 kg payload.

Powered by a potent cargo power dual-motor, each rear wheel of the Chariot FS2 ensures seamless transportation in line with the newest heavy-duty cargo bike norms, and it can be easily integrated into Delivery Mates’ operational framework.

Up until now Cargo Cycling has supplied devices for clients including DHL and the Dutch Post and is now looking to expand its reach across Europe through its link up with Delivery Mates.

“This partnership with Delivery Mates has huge potential,” says Jeroen Beumer, Director of Sales and Marketing at Cargo Cycling. 

“Given the quality of the service that Delivery Mates has built so far, we hope to form a productive long-term relationship with them.”

Early electric adopters 

Cargo Cycling is owned by parent company Nijland Cycling, a third generation family business founded in 1990 by the father and grandfather of current directors Koen and Luuk Nijland.

Koen Nijland tells Zag Daily that Cargo Cycling’s first vehicle was a trike for a girl with a disability in their local village and from there they developed a range of bikes for people with varying disabilities.

Today the business employs 70 people across engineering, design, assembly and management.

“Building adapted, accessible vehicles remains a key pillar of the business to this day,” says Nijland. 

“All our bikes are built in-house at our cycle factory, and we are currently producing 5000+ bikes per year. This is not on a mass scale but built to order and fully customised depending on the client.”

Many of the devices incorporate electrical support for users, with the business being one of the earliest adopters of Yamaha’s first electric motor 15 years ago.

“We were ahead of the curve in the development of electric adaptive bikes,” says Beumer.

In 2016, the Dutch Post approached Nijland Cycling asking it to develop a three-wheeled cargo bike to improve the sustainability of its operations. Cargo Cycling was created as a new company specialising in cargo bikes and has since built new variants of that initial model based on feedback from its partners.

“A lot of the vehicles the Dutch Post had trialled in the past broke down completely,” Nijland explains.

“But we used our experience to develop a really functional and durable cargo bike that was developed in tandem with the delivery drivers to ensure it fit their needs.”

Between 2019 and 2020, Cargo Cycling built the first iteration of the Chariot, its rear-loading cargo bike model that was initially created with feedback from DHL. The latest version, the Chariot FS2, will be used in its upcoming pilot project with Delivery Mates.

“We learned an incredible amount during that time, and it has allowed us to continue the development process over the past year and a half,” Nijland adds.

The Chariot comes to the UK

Cargo Cycling identified Delivery Mates as one of the leaders within the last-mile delivery market that has developed an efficient and innovative business model. The logistics provider has also established a footprint in London, and Cargo Cycling is keen to increase the adoption of its devices in major European cities.

“Delivery Mates really understands what it takes to make final-mile logistics work,” Beumer explains.

“It’s not just about supplying a nice bike; the operational setup, maintenance and servicing infrastructure is also crucial. Then we have the vehicle with a really high uptime and a low cost of ownership, so the partnership is bringing together two parties at the top of their game.”

Cargo Cycling is very confident in the quality of the Chariot FS2, a device that is setting new standards in terms of durability and performance. 

“As part of our partnership with DHL we have used IoT to measure the forces being applied on the bike,” says Beumer.

“Based on that information we fully redesigned the Chariot, adding front and rear suspension but also reducing the total number of parts. We have then included a single set of mounting for the wheels which allows them to be replaced in two minutes.”

Built out of Cargo Cycling’s own workshop, the team has worked tirelessly to ensure the Chariot FS2 is strong and capable of being reproduced in larger quantities. To help with this, the firm has invested in two welding robots to ensure that work is completed consistently and to the highest standards.

“The robots will allow us to boost volume by four times our previous level,” continues Beumer.

“It was a large investment, but it was a really important step as we enter the next phase of our development.”

Delivering success

Cargo Cycling hopes that the pilot project will provide evidence of the value the Chariot FS2 can bring in terms of reduced maintenance, fewer breakdowns and enhanced uptime. 

Meanwhile, the device can complete manoeuvres quickly due to its tilting system, which makes it very similar to riding a normal bike and helps reduce delivery times.

A recent trial in Brussels delivered outstanding feedback, with the partner describing the FS2 as the quickest they have trialled. With Delivery Mates – Beumer and Nijland believe the trial will prove that it is not only more efficient to complete last-mile deliveries with a cargo bike, but also more profitable.