How to pick the best electric bike for delivery drivers in the UK
Convenience is a powerful marketing tool.
Many of us pay a premium to get goods delivered the next day, to shop locally or to have our meals brought directly to our front door. This has never been more true than now, with the recent pandemic igniting a massive rise in demand for higher levels of convenience in our day-to-day lives.
This change has also created huge opportunities for those that want to become local couriers.
However, there are lots of questions to consider when assessing the viability of moving into this profession. One of the biggest of these is choosing exactly what type of transport you will be using to undertake your day-to-day deliveries.
There are plenty of options available. From cars and mopeds to push and electric bikes. In this article, we will be filling you in on everything you need to think about when looking to find the best electric bike for delivery.
In This Guide
In this guide you will find:
- A clear definition of what an e-bike is
- Benefits of using an e-bike for deliveries
- Questions to ask yourself when seeking out the best electric bike for delivery, such as:
- How much does an e-bike cost?
- Do I need insurance?
- Can I actually use an e-bike?
- How does it stack up against other options?
- A summary offering insight into exactly how to find the best electric bike for delivery
What is an Electric Bike?
So, what is an electric bike?
An electric bike (often referred to as an e-bike) is much as it sounds. It is a bike that is powered by an electric motor and a battery. Unlike electric mopeds or motorbikes which are powered entirely by electricity, an electric bike supplements human-powered pedalling, making it significantly easier to reach high speeds and tackle steep terrain.
Why Use an Electric Bike for Deliveries?
There are countless reasons that an electric bike is a perfect companion for an ambitious courier. Here are just a few:
- Cheaper to buy and run than other options such as cars and mopeds
- Less exposure to increases in fuel and energy costs
- More agile than other forms of transport such as cars, making it easier to avoid traffic
- Faster than push bikes (some reaching speeds of over 15mph)
- Good for your health (although assisted, you still benefit from peddling)
- Agility and speed combine to make it easier to make more deliveries, meaning you make more money
Of course, there are some downsides to consider such as:
- Needing to remember to charge your bike
- Exposure to weather unlike when using a car
- Slightly higher purchase, maintenance and running costs than a traditional push bike
Best Electric Bike for Delivery: Considerations
How Much Does an E-Bike Cost?
When you are a courier your bike is a business expense. So, any money you spend on it will eat into your take-home pay. This will include both the upfront cost as well as any ongoing maintenance and charging costs.
Of course, the real trick is walking the fine line between maximum efficiency and minimum cost. For example, the cheapest method of delivery is likely to be by foot. However, you are unlikely to make many deliveries a day when you are walking/running from location to location.
An electric offers a perfect balance between boosting income, whilst reducing the costs ordinarily associated with delivery.
Here are some costs to consider when seeking out the best electric bike for delivery in the UK:
Like anything, the cost of an e-bike depends on many factors ranging from the quality of the bike and the range it offers. Entry-level, lower-range e-bikes start at around £800. However, for couriers that use their bikes for everyday business and want to find the best electric bike for delivery, investing in a higher spec bike with a larger range will offer them the robustness and flexibility they need to get the job done.
The WAU X plus offers great value for money starting at £1890 for 40 miles of range or £2490 for 100 miles.
All vehicles need regular professional maintenance to maintain their efficiency. Having your e-bike serviced regularly will help keep your bike in top condition.
Servicing costs will vary from area to area and also on the level of servicing you require. A typical basic e-bike service and a local bike shop will cost around £35 - £50, with more advanced servicing costing up to £100.
Luckily, when you use an e-bike for your transportation needs there is no need to worry about the ever-increasing price of fuel. However, you will need to charge your e-bike on a regular basis.
Several factors come into play when it comes to how much this will cost, such as:
- Battery capacity
- Energy source/supplier
- Current energy costs
As a rough estimate, you may expect to pay 7p - 12p per charge of around 4-6 hours. When seeking out the best electric bike for delivery purposes it is important to remember that bikes with higher capacities will cost more to charge, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you are paying more per mile.
Do I need Insurance?
As a general rule, you do not need insurance to use an electric bike. This is another benefit to using an e-bike for delivery when compared to a car or moped which both require often expensive, valid insurance to drive on UK roads.
However, you may consider taking out insurance to cover yourself and your bike in case of an accident. Some delivery companies, such as Deliveroo, offer their riders special insurance as part of their employment package that covers them in case of accidents and offers public liability cover.
Am I Allowed to Use an Electric Bike?
Of course, going through the effort of finding the best electric bike for delivery in the UK is pointless if you cannot actually use them to make money. In this section, we take a look at some of the most popular delivery companies and their stance on electric bikes.
Can you deliver Uber Eats on an e-bike?
Yes, Uber Eats allows their couriers to deliver using electric bikes.
Can you deliver Deliveroo on an e-bike?
Yes, Deliveroo actively encourages its riders to take advantage of the benefits of using an e-bike. However, they do not allow riders to deliver using e-scooters.
They also require riders to have all necessary safety equipment for their vehicle of choice.
Can you deliver Just Eat on an e-bike?
Just Eat requires their couriers to use a ‘reliable bicycle’ which indicates that they will allow the use of electric bikes.
So, we have covered everything you need to know about finding the best electric bike for delivery in the UK. But of course, e-bikes aren't your only option. Below we offer some insight into other transport methods that can be used by couriers and highlight the pros and cons when compared to electric bikes.Push Bike
- Cheaper up-front cost
- Cheaper maintenance cost
- Higher personal energy requirement = potentially fitter rider
- Slower than electric bikes
- Higher personal energy requirement = very tired rider/less sustainable
- Faster than electric bikes on open/clear roads
- Less personal energy requirement
- Higher purchase and maintenance costs
- Additional insurance costs
- Ever-increasing fuel prices
- Less agile than e-bikes/more likely to be caught in traffic
- Faster than e-bikes on open/clear roads
- Protection from the elements
- Large capacity to carry goods
- Higher purchase and maintenance costs
- Additional insurance costs
- Ever-increasing fuel prices
- More likely to be caught in traffic
- More energy-intensive
Best Electric Bike for Delivery: Summary
It is clear that electric bikes are a fantastic option for those looking to increase the money they make from delivery work. This is both due to the reduction of costs when compared to modes of transport such as cars and mopeds, as well as a drastic increase in efficiency when compared to push bikes, which allows couriers to deliver more and make more each day they work.
We have discovered that, when picking the best electric bike for delivery, a courier should pay special attention to:
- Bike quality/robustness - offering a smoother ride and lower through-life costs
- Battery capacity - offering more miles ‘in the tank’
- Speed and handling - making it easier to get to your destination quickly
How a WAU E-Bike is Made
WAU X Plus - Travelling is Changing
Learn more about us by heading over to the WAU home page, or if you would like to learn more about the WAU E-Bike, you can do so on our WAU E-Bike product page now.
Q: What is the best electric bike for delivery drivers?
A: There are several factors that come into play when picking the best e-bike for delivery.
Firstly, the quality of the bike will make for a smoother ride, this is especially important for those that spend considerable time in the saddle. It will also ensure the bike stays in great condition, even when used consistently. Secondly, a high mileage capacity will offer the rider flexibility and limit potential stress associated with running out of charge. Finally, great speed and handling will help get you to and from your destination quickly.
Q: Can I use an e-bike as a delivery driver?
A: Yes, all major local courier businesses such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat allow or actively encourage their riders to use e-bikes.
Q: Are e-bikes the best option for delivery drivers?
A: When compared to other transport options, there is a strong case for why delivery drivers should invest in electric bikes. For example, e-bikes are cheaper to buy and maintain than mopeds or cars. They also don’t require often expensive insurance and are impacted less by rising fuel costs. E-bikes are also much faster than traditional push bikes or delivering by foot, allowing delivery drivers to make more deliveries in a day.