Deliveroo to trial subsidised, street-legal e-bikes from Volt - the end of the high-speed twist-and-go throttle conversion kit?

British brand teams up with food delivery giant to trial subsidised e-bikes for workers that comply with UK e-bike regulations

Volt Burlington e-bike with Deliveroo branding for partnership trial
(Image credit: Volt)

The British e-bike brand Volt is collaborating with Deliveroo in a trial that will bring subsidised e-bikes to food delivery riders across the UK.

Volt’s Burlington e-bike, complete with Deliveroo branding, will be offered to “a select group of riders” at a subsidised rate with “various buying options” on offer. The deal will see these riders pay less than 50% of the standard retail price of a Burlington, which currently start at just over £2,000.

With food delivery now an integral part of everyday life, and its riders omnipresent in every town and city, both Volt and Deliveroo see the partnership as a move towards greener practices.

“At Deliveroo, we are committed to supporting our marketplace and taking action to drive sustainability,” says Paul Bedford, Director of Policy and Sustainability at Deliveroo. “By significantly reducing the cost of a new, high spec Volt e-bike, we hope to accelerate the trend towards a greener fleet, reducing carbon emissions while helping riders to maximise their earnings - a win-win for all!”

With many food deliveries still taking place by car, Volt hopes that the trial will present a viable, and more affordable, alternative for Deliveroo workers.

“For Volt to partner with Deliveroo in the UK to offer riders high quality e-bikes at an accessible price is incredibly exciting,” says James Metcalfe, founder and owner of Volt . “We look forward to seeing what impact this initial trial period can bring and hope to continue our collaboration into the future and get more riders on alternative more environmentally friendly transport soon.”

Equally, the trial could improve a rider’s efficiency if they were to switch from a regular bicycle to the Burlington e-bike, which has a claimed range of 70 miles. Volt is also keen to highlight other possible benefits to the delivery riders, including a “reduction in noise exposure” as well as “increased physical activity”.

Deliveroo rider next to a Sainsbury's van

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If the trial proves successful an uptake in ‘street legal’ Volt bikes by Deliveroo riders could begin to make a dent in the use of delivery e-bikes that don’t comply with UK law. The current regulations require e-bikes to provide motor assistance of no more than 15.5 mph, which allows them to be categorized alongside regular ‘push’ bikes.

The Metropolitan Police Service last year responded to Freedom of Information requests by a member of the public regarding official warnings given to Deliveroo riders using illegal electric bikes, or indeed charges brought against Deliveroo “for the continuous breach of e-bike regulations”, stating:

"Deliveroo does not have any employees riding for them, they are all self-employed riders working normally on multiple apps at the same time, in fact just because they are wearing one company's uniform there is no guarantee that they are necessarily working for that company at that given time.

"The company itself does not provide the bikes and it is down to the individual rider to ensure that their bike is compliant with the law. For this reason the MPS has never charged Deliveroo or its directors as a company for these offenses as they would be issued to the rider at the time of stopping.

"The Cycle Safety Team (CST) regularly stops checks and seizes non-compliant Ebikes not just from delivery companies but any riders who are non-compliant. The CST are working with a number of local teams to give the benefit of our knowledge and expertise in this area."

As for the bike in question, Volt says the Burlington will “ensure that Deliveroo’s riders have the best equipped e-bike to tackle their deliveries safely at all times of the day, whatever the weather”. 

Weighing 22.7kg, the Burlington features SR Suntour suspension forks, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, an inbuilt Abus lock, front and rear lights and mudguards to go alongside the 250 watt Spintech motor. 

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