Sometimes we discuss about EU without really knowing what is going on: the EU funding that European countries can use are more often than not a lot. Many countries are already taking great advantage of these funds. This is exactly the case in Croatia, where thanks to the EU mail carriers will be using electric bikes instead of noisy mopeds.
Pro-E-bike is one of the projects funded by the European Union. As you can tell from the name, the goal of this project is to expand the use of ebikes in the 28 countries belonging to EU.
Croatian post offices have been able to try some electric bikes for free for 6 months, using them to deliver envelopes and parcels.
They decided to purchase 180 ebikes to replace just as many mopeds: the convenience was huge, and so was the time saved for maintenance.
The chance to try the bikes for free, thanks to EU funds, was absolutely vital to the process.
Zarko Barlovic, CEO at Croatian post, said: “Electric bikes are a better solution than mopeds, which had a range of 25-40km. Ebikes have the same range, but when the battery runs out you can still pedal and complete your round.” Barlovic has also highlighted how easy it is to ride an electric bike and how easy and convenient it is to maintain them.
Croatian post, just like any other company, base its decisions on a cost-benefit analysis. If they chose to use ebikes it’s because it allows them to save money. Among the smaller project under the umbrella of Pro-E-bike there’s a software that allows companies to calculate savings generated by the use of ebikes.
Many other European countries use electric bikes to deliver mail. For example the Portuguese postal service bought 40 ebikes in 2014; they will buy just as many before the end of this year.
In the meantime, the Croatian postal service launched a competition to find an ebike supplier. They demand a 2 years warranty and batteries that can be recharged at least 800 times. They are aiming at high-quality ebikes: the budget for 180 bikes is €400.000, which means €2.200 per bike. The government will pay for the 20% of the total cost of electric vehicles for urban areas and the 80% for the ones allocated to rural areas. The electric bikes must be delivered in Autumn.
This looks like an awesome way to spend public money. The 6 months trial made sure that the necessity of electric bikes could be completely understood and that guarantees that they will be effectively used.
The difference with another European country is striking. In Italy, the government is buying electric bikes (always from the same company) and is giving them to city employees in municipalities that request them. Employees should use them to commute to work, but no one asked them if they prefer other solutions, so the chance of those bikes ending up not being used is high.