The design challenges of heavy duty e-cargo bikes

The design challenges of heavy duty e-cargo bikes

Professional e-cargo bikes offer a sustainable alternative to diesel vans. But building a durable, easy to ride heavy e-cargo bike is no simple task and requires thinking outside the box. The story of the Ouca bike gives us insight into the challenges and how they can be overcome.

The 500kg e-bike

When we hear 'e-bike' we immediately think of a sleek two wheeler that goes at a steady speed of 25km/h in the city or on the trails. But there's a new breed of e-bikes that's quite unlike this common stereotype. It's the professional e-cargo bike. They come with three or four wheels and are built to handle heavy cargo while still maintaining the e-bike status. And they are here to conquer the last mile delivery world (and more!).

Scaling up an e-bike is hard

Initially the team behind the Ouca bike started a business renting various cargo bikes to kindergartens for transporting kids, but they soon realised that the current products were not quite up to the task. Although loved by the customers, the cargo bikes had lots of issues in the harsh Finnish weather, with wheels breaking, chains snapping and many other components just not being durable enough. It became obvious that a heavy e-cargo bike had to be designed from the ground up, taking into consideration the weight and constant use. Thus the Ouca bike was born.

Almost no bike components

The only bike components on this cargo bike are the Revonte ONE motor, a belt drivetrain, a saddle and the handlebar. Everything else is custom design or comes from other vehicles like motorcycles or ATVs. The reason for this unorthodox design is simply that bike components are not strong nor durable enough for a large e-cargo bike with up to 500kg total mass.

Powerful, simple and maintenance free

As with other components, most e-bike motors are not designed for heavy cargo bikes and are not powerful or durable enough for this use case. While the Revonte ONE motor is best known for its integrated stepless automatic transmission, it also provides exceptional torque and power, while keeping the drivetrain minimalistic requiring very low maintenance. This unique combination of features makes it the perfect choice for professional e-cargo bikes, where the total cost of ownership, including service, is a decisive factor. Many customers also value the possibility of tracking ride data and vehicle location in real time via a provided cloud API. This makes it easy to integrate e-cargo bikes into existing fleet management systems.

The green future

All the megatrends like urbanisation, climate change and transportation electrification are highly beneficial for the professional e-cargo bike market. This is a market that will grow significantly over the next few years and the winning solutions will all have to demonstrate exceptional durability, performance and usability. We believe the Ouca bike and other professional e-cargo bikes built on the Revonte platform will be amongst these winners.

This article is sponsored by Revonte