Electric cargo bikes are being loaned to universities and businesses within Manchester’s city centre Oxford Road corridor for free as part of an EU-backed project to reduce emissions.

Under the Triangulum Project, which is last for four years, companies will be able to borrow one of four electric bicycles – complete with a large front-mounted loading box – from Manchester Bike Hire for three or four months to learn if they can integrate electric cargo bikes into day-to-day operations.

The bikes are capable of carrying up to 100kg (excluding the rider) and are fitted with GPS allowing tracking and online reservations.  

Cargo bike users also will be provided with familiarisation training, a spokesman for Manchester Bike Hire said.

“We’re quite confident that our bikes can replace a few diesel-powered vans,” Richard Armitage, director of Manchester Bike Hire told What Van?, adding that he expects 20-25 bikes to be purchased off the back of the trials.

The electric bikes cost around £3000 each, with a range of around 30 miles and a charging time of four or five hours and Armitage stated to What Van? that online food delivery company Deliveroo was impressed with the bicycles following a recent trial.