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What’s the Difference between an Electric Cargo Bike and an Electric Trike?

Electric cargo trike

I recently learned that an electric cargo bike is not necessarily the same thing as an electric trike. I had assumed that any “bike” built for carrying cargo would actually be a trike, since it’d be a PITA to maneuver and maintain balance with significant cargo weight on a two-wheels.

But that is not the case. There is a type of electric bike that is specifically designed to carry cargo and passengers on two wheels. So, I decided to a little bit of research.

Let’s delve into the differences between an electric cargo bike and an electric trike.

  1. Design and Structure of an Electric Cargo Bike: This is a bicycle that has been designed or modified to carry heavy and/or large loads. It has a built-in electric motor to help the rider when they’re pedaling (aka pedal assist) or to just cruise along.
  2. Electric Trike: This is a tricycle that has an electric motor. It has three wheels – two on the back and one on the front or vice versa. The extra wheel adds stability, reducing the need for balance that is required on a two-wheeled bike. Electric trikes often have a cargo space, but they are not primarily designed for cargo – they’re mainly designed for older adults, especially seniors who prefer the stability of three wheels. while others are designed for commercial uses such as delivery or passenger transport (think electric rickshaw).
  3. Stability and Ease of Use: Electric trikes, due to their three-wheel design, are typically more stable than electric cargo bikes. This makes them a suitable choice for individuals with balance issues, or for those carrying heavy loads. On the other hand, electric cargo bikes require more balance and cycling skills, as they have only two wheels.
  4. Cargo Capacity: Electric cargo bikes are specifically designed to carry cargo, and therefore, often have a larger carrying capacity than electric trikes. The design of the cargo space on these bikes is also more versatile and may be better suited to carrying odd-sized or bulky items.
  5. Maneuverability and Speed: Electric cargo bikes, due to their two-wheel design, are generally more agile and faster than electric trikes. They can navigate through traffic more easily, and their speed assistance can be more effective due to the lighter and more streamlined design. Electric trikes, while more stable, are generally slower and less agile due to their heavier weight and wider profile.
  6. Price and Maintenance: The price and maintenance of both electric cargo bikes and electric trikes can vary greatly depending on the specific model, the power of the electric motor, the capacity of the battery, and the design and materials of the bike or trike. However, in general, electric cargo bikes can be more expensive than a regular e-bike due to their specialized design for cargo, but is still typically less than an e-trike.

Remember that these are general differences, but the best specific models of electric cargo bikes or electric trikes depends on the specific needs and preferences of the user, such as the type and quantity of cargo to be transported, the typical routes to be taken (e.g., flat vs. hilly, smooth vs. rough surfaces), and the user’s physical abilities and comfort with balancing on two wheels.

Here are some brands of electric cargo bikes:

  1. Specialized Globe Haul ST
  2. Aventon Abound
  3. Co-op Cycles Generation e1.2
  4. Tern GSD S10
  5. Benno RemiDemi 10D
  6. Momentum PakYak E+
  7. Xtracycle RFA
  8. Tern Quick Haul D8 Electric Bike
  9. Yuba Spicy Curry
  10. Trek Fetch+ 4​

And here are some brands of electric trikes:

  1. CozyTrike Adult Electric Tricycle
  2. EVRYjourney Electric Hybrid Tricycle
  3. Lectric XP Trike
  4. Buzz Cerana T Electric Bike
  5. DWMEIGI Adult Electric Tricycle
  6. VIRIBUS Electric Trike Bike
  7. Addmotor M-340 Electric Fat Trike
  8. Addmotor M-360 Semi-Recumbent Electric Trike
  9. Emoji Electric Tricycle
  10. EWheels EW-29 Electric Trike Scooter​
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