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Your Next Car is a Cargo Bike

A Dolly Family cargo bike is pictured in the forecourt of a petrol station, with the fuel price sign in the background. The sticker on the side of the cargo bike box reads, "I'm your next car," along with the branding of Bleeper Cargo Bikes.
Could trips to the petrol station soon be a thing of the past?

With new Bike to Work incentives coming in January 2023, more and more people are considering getting a cargo bike for their day-to-day trips.

While not everyone can replace their car with a cargo bike, for those who can the savings and benefits could be substantial.

AA Ireland has previously compiled estimates for the cost of running a car in Ireland, including both the fixed costs such as tax and insurance, and the ongoing costs like fuel.

In the table below, we've compared the annual costs of running a car and a cargo bike, illustrating the significant savings that can be made.

A graphic comparing the annual cost of a car versus a cargo bike. On the left of the graphic is a photo of a Dolly cargo bike, showing a woman riding the bike with two children and a dog sitting in the cargo bold. On the right is a table comparing car costs with cargo bike costs. The total annual fixed costs of a car amount to €9208 while the cargo bike costs €500. The running costs of the car, such as fuel, amount to €7191 annually for 30,000km, while a cargo bike costs €458 to run for 3000km. The Bleeper logo is seen in the bottom left corner, along with the tagline Bike to Work for Cargobikes.

Environmental Impact

While the environmental benefits of replacing an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) car with a cargo bike are obvious to most people, a cargo bike can also be more sustainable than an electric car (EV).

One of the things which is often overlooked is the embodied energy of a vehicle, that is the energy that's used in the manufacturing of the vehicle, including the extraction of precious metal such as lithium for batteries.

As the tweet below outlines, you can manufacture far more batteries for cargo bikes than EV batteries using the same quantity of materials. This efficiency is made even more stark if the EV and the cargo bike are doing similar daily trips, such as the commute or the school run.

A screengrab of a tweet from Bleeper (@Bleeperactive) on December 3rd 2022. The tweet reads as follows: "Fun fact: With a single 58kWh battery from the Hyundai Ioniq 5 (Ireland's best-selling EV) you could make 96 batteries for the Dolly electric cargo bike (0.6kWh).  Think about that the next time you see a cargo bike passing an EV that's stuck in traffic!" The tweet is accompanied by a photo of a Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric car, and a photo of a Dolly Family cargo bike.

Save via the Bike to Work Scheme

Transport minister Eamon Ryan recently announced a new €3,000 limit for cargo bikes in the Bike to Work scheme. This popular tax incentive allows people to use their pre-tax income to purchase a bicycle.

Cost has been one of the major barriers to cargo bike uptake in Ireland and the new Bike to Work incentive has been broadly welcomed.

To illustrate how the Bike to Work scheme applies to a specific cargo bike, we’ll use the Dolly Family Cargo Bike - an excellent two-wheeled e-cargobike which can seat up to three child passengers. Bleeper sells the Dolly Family in our ebike shop for €5,400.

A graphic shows a woman riding a Dolly cargobike with two children as passengers in the cargo box. To the right of this image is a table which breaks down how much tax someone can save when buying a Dolly cargo bike via the Bike to Work Scheme. The Dolly costs €5,400. People on the standard tax rate can save 29%, or €850, and effectively pay €4,545 for the Dolly. People on the higher tax rate save 49%, or €1,455, and pay €3,945 for the Dolly.

How about a Long Tail?

Long Tails are an increasingly popular cargo bike option, with their narrower frame suiting people who don't have enough storage space for a 'box' cargo bike.

Another popular feature of the Long Tail cargo bike is that its geometry is very similar to a 'normal' bicycle, making it very easy to cycle - with or without cargo.

Long Tails can also be a more comfortable option for older children, who can start to outgrow the 'box' cargo bike around age 6 or 7.

Bleeper stocks a range of electric long tail cargo bikes from Yuba, including the Kombi E5 shown below.

A graphic shows a man riding a Yuba Kombi E5 long tail cargobike with two children as passengers sitting across a seat on the back of the bike. To the right of this image is a table which breaks down how much tax someone can save when buying a Yuba cargo bike from Bleeper via the Bike to Work Scheme. Bleeper sells the Yuba Kombi E5 for €3,300. People on the standard tax rate can save 29%, or €855, and effectively pay €2,445 for the Yuba. People on the higher tax rate save 49%, or €1,455, and pay €1,845 for the Yuba.