Toyota launches its first electric cargo bike - but it’s only available in France
Available through 300 car dealerships, the bike can carry loads of up to 100kg with a stated range of 60 miles
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The Japanese car manufacturer Toyota has announced the launch of its first electric cargo bike.
Made in partnership with Douze Cycles (opens in new tab), a Dijon-based e-bike brand, it will go on sale in September 2023 in France only, with the e-cargo bike offered through Toyota’s 300 French car dealerships.
In a statement CEO of Toyota France Frank Marotte said of the project:
“Twenty-five years ago, Toyota opened the hybrid road with the first generation of Prius, thus showing the way to decarbonization. The hybrid, of which Toyota has now become the world leader, is now at the heart of the multi-technology strategy of the brand which makes it possible to meet the specific mobility needs of each consumer. Soft and local mobility is one of these needs. It is therefore quite naturally, on the basis of a common vision, that we entered into this partnership with Douze Cycles, a key French player in the cargo bike market. Because of Toyota’s history in France, it seemed extremely important to us that our partner have a production site on national territory.”
So what do we know about the Douze Cycles x La mobilité Toyota?
Based on the existing Douze Hêta model, the bike is built around an aluminium frame and features a 850mm load platform that sits out front and can be fitted with a 300-litre polypropylene storage box.
The total carrying capacity is listed as 100kg, which is comparable to many of the best electric cargo bikes (opens in new tab) (the Raleigh Stride 2 (opens in new tab) has a load capacity of 80 kilos/ 176lb for comparison). The fact that the box is removable should add greater flexibility when it comes to the nature of the load being carried. There’s also an optional passenger bucket available featuring magnetic buckles, which can fit up to three children.
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the bike is powered not by Toyota technology but by that of another iconic Japanese motoring brand, Yamaha. The 250-watt mid-drive motor is powered by a 500Wh battery, which Toyota says is good for up to 62 miles on a single charge. However, experience tells us that this figure can vary considerably based on terrain and load. A full charge is said to take four hours.
Other features include a 10-speed Shimano gear set-up that uses a traditional rear derailleur and cassette combination rather than hub gears, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, Schwalbe’s e-bike specific Pick-Up tires (fitted to a 26-inch rear wheel and a 20-inch front wheel).
However, perhaps the most interesting component of the Toyota electric cargo bike is the build itself. It’s made up of 17 interchangeable parts, designed to make it both easier to repair and to replace components when they are worn out. It also allows the bike to be fitted with different size motors as well as making it easy to store, with the modular frame easily separated into two pieces. Many of the said parts are made from recycled polymer, a material that Douze typically uses to help reduce its carbon footprint.
Toyota isn't the only car makers investing in alternative electric transportation.
In Europe, SEAT worked with Barcelona-based Silence to produce an electric scooter, while Peugeot has released the eC01 Crossover, a hybrid-style e-bike with a step through frame, Bosch motor and 10-speed Shimano transmission.
Meanwhile both General Motors and Jeep have introduced e-bikes to the US market in recent times, although both at the extreme end of the market. GMC teamed up with Hummer to create the EV e-bike, a hardtail fat tyre machine that features a 750 watt motor that can reach speeds of 28mph, while Jeep launched a similar machine back in 2020. However, both examples appear designed to complement the brand's off-road vehicles rather than serve as legitimate alternatives.
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Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for over twenty years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He fell in love with cycling at an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a passionate follower of bike racing to this day as well an avid road and gravel rider.
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