A new ground-breaking pilot is set to give people in Greater Manchester access to electric cars and e-cargo bikes, as an alternate to private vehicles.

The year-long eHUBS trial will offer residents in Chorlton, Whalley Range and Ancoats access to a number of electric cargo bikes for hire, we are hoping after the trial these bikes will be available to Trafford residents.

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Common in cities across Europe, they are available from dedicated bike parking bays in Chorlton, Whalley Range and Ancoats and have a battery range of around 60 miles.  

The bikes, which can carry a heavy load, have a large open compartment which can be used as storage or to safely carry children. The compartment is equipped with seats for the children, as well as safety belts and a protected foam layer. Some are equipped with a maxi-cosy adaptor for very young children, and these can be identified via the app.

The app-based scheme is run by Cargoroo, which already runs successful e-cargo bike services in the Netherlands and Belgium, and will be operated and maintained by local business, Manchester Bike Hire

The launch of the scheme complements Greater Manchester’s new Bee Network Cycle Hire scheme that went live in Manchester city centre and at the University of Salford last month. Once fully rolled out in Summer 2022, the Bee Network scheme will see 1,500 bikes and e-bikes available to the public. In addition to this, new cycling routes and infrastructure are being delivered across Greater Manchester as part of Mayor Andy Burnham’s Bee Network vision.

A new electric car club, run by vehicle rental company Enterprise, has also launched as part of the eHUBS scheme currently live at East Didsbury Metrolink Park and Ride, further electric cars are set to go live in Chorlton, Bury town centre, Prestwich and Ancoats in early 2022. In total, 12 electric cars will be available to rent by the half-hour through the Enterprise Car Club app.

Around a third of households in Greater Manchester don’t have a car, and there are times when those that do find that it’s ‘double-booked’. For journeys such as the weekly shop, meeting friends or a day out with the family, eHUBS can offer affordable ways to hire e-cargo bikes and electric cars quickly and easily.

The eHUBS scheme also comes in advance of Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone due to be

introduced on 30 May 2022 -private cars, motorbikes and mopeds will not be included.

The Zone will reduce harmful air pollution on local roads, making our city-region safer for everyone.

Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, said: “It’s testament to the work we are doing to better integrate sustainable modes of transport and make travel for people easier and greener.

“The eHUBS project opens up so many possibilities for people who either don’t have a car or want to reduce their reliance on polluting vehicles and I would encourage local residents to give this a go.

“If successful we could see this rolled out more widely, which would help modernise the way we move around for everyday trips as well as reducing air pollution and contributing towards Greater Manchester’s target of reaching net carbon neutrality by 2038.”

Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “Helping people make a transition from fossil fuel-based transport is a key part of the work going on in Manchester to meet our aims around carbon reduction. For many people the car is essential when it comes to doing the weekly shop, or getting children from A to B. The trial of eHubs, providing affordable access to electric cargo bikes and electric cars, is a huge step towards proving that electric is a viable and attainable alternative we can all use and enjoy.”

The eHUBS project is funded by Interreg North-West Europe, and for more information on the e-cargo bike and eCar club schemes, visit TfGM’s eHUBS web page at electrictravel.tfgm.com/ehubs.

Erik de Winter, Co-founder of Cargoroo, said: “We’re excited to be able to offer a clean, fast, fun and affordable alternative to the car in Greater Manchester. Our mission is to set a new standard for inner city transportation.”