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carvelo2go

Full speed ahead for carvelo2go

Part of Zurich’s landscape since the beginning of June: the eCargo bikes from carvelo2go. Photo: John Patrick Walder.
Part of Zurich’s landscape since the beginning of June: the eCargo bikes from carvelo2go. Photo: John Patrick Walder.

carvelo2go aims to make electric cargo bicycles part of daily life in Switzerland. Engagement Migros is supporting the continued development of the sharing platform.
 

Bringing children to daycare, transporting goods, delivering products to customers – the options for using electric cargo bicycles in a small country like Switzerland are varied. It is therefore not surprising that the offerings of the sharing platform carvelo2go, which was launched in 2015, are being met with open arms. “From the beginning, we attracted great interest”, says Jonas Schmid, project manager at the TCS Mobility Academy. eCargo bikes can already be rented at 60 locations throughout German and French-speaking Switzerland. In June, this will be expanded to Zurich, Winterthur, Baden, Burgdorf and Luzern. “We should have doubled the number of locations by the end of the year”, says Schmid.

“The objective is to get people to immediately think of using a cargo bike.”

This quick rate of growth offers opportunities, but also challenges, as Alexandra Müller-Crepon from Engagement Migros explains. The development fund recently decided to support carvelo2go as a partner for the next three years. The partnership focuses mainly on how to integrate eCargo bikes even better into the daily mobility of the Swiss population. 

Nicknamed “Carvelos”, the bikes have a load capacity of up to 100 kilograms. Photo: John Patrick Walder.
Nicknamed “Carvelos”, the bikes have a load capacity of up to 100 kilograms. Photo: John Patrick Walder.

“Our objective is to get people to immediately think of using a cargo bike when they need to get from A to B”, says Müller-Crepon. But these kinds of habits don’t change by themselves. “One strategic measure, for example, is targeting how to link carvelo2go with the mobility platforms of other private and public transit service providers”, explains Müller-Crepon. “This requires investments in IT infrastructure.” 

A successful pilot project

carvelo2go originally developed out of a pilot project as part of the Swiss cargo bike initiative carvelo implemented by the TCS Mobility Academy, which was also supported by Engagement Migros. While the carvelo pilot project primarily focused on helping cargo bikes become better known in Switzerland and building up a centre for expertise, from the beginning the goal of carvelo2go was to offer a sharing platform for daily use, whose mid-term operations will be increasingly financed by rental income.

An additional goal of the partnership between Engagement Migros and the platform operators of the Mobility Academy is the creation of a sustainable business model. “To some extent, the project is currently going through puberty”, says Alexandra Müller-Crepon. “The concept works, the first level of success has been achieved, but there is still much work to be done if we want to turn the project into a stable business model.” 

Karin Spori from Foifi ZeroWaste Ladencafé, one of approximately 20 hosts in the city of Zurich. Photo: John Patrick Walder.

Karin Spori from Foifi ZeroWaste Ladencafé, one of approximately 20 hosts in the city of Zurich. Photo: John Patrick Walder.

Perspectives and planning security

Project manager Jonas Schmid is grateful not only for the financial support of the development fund, but also for its strategic and structural help. “Our collaboration with Engagement Migros offers us planning security and opens more long-term perspectives. We are currently experiencing a big push forward, which is exceptional for us. But we will only have a future if we manage to sustainably establish the cargo bike as a method of transport and can develop carvelo2go into a sustainable business model. We are very grateful that we have found a sympathetic ear and that we are receiving competent and uncomplicated support during these important steps forward.”