Inter IKEA Systems, the worldwide franchisor of Swedish furniture retailer IKEA, has introduced solar-powered cargo bikes to make its last-mile services more sustainable.

The Sunrider cargo bike was trialled at the IKEA store in Delft, Netherlands, last year to deliver products to customers in the city centre living near the store.

Following the pilot, Inter IKEA Systems has decided to roll out the solar-powered bikes to all IKEA retailers worldwide.

Sunrider bikes can accommodate around 90% of IKEA’s product range, but reduce carbon emissions by 98% compared with the company’s diesel vans.

Inter IKEA Systems said this would offer a more sustainable, accessible and cost-effective alternative to the current home delivery fleet.

Inter IKEA Systems sustainability manager Helene Davidsson said: “For IKEA, it’s important to explore new ways to improve the service offer for the customers, both from a more sustainable, affordable and accessible perspective.

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“The solar-powered cargo bike does all that.

“We want to meet more people, and many of our future customers will live in cities with limited access to transportation.

“This challenge provides a great opportunity to explore new ways of making our products available.

“The solar-powered cargo bike will be a valuable addition to last-mile service, as it offers a quiet, emission-free alternative that can also bypass traffic congestion.”

The introduction of solar-powered cargo bikes is part of IKEA’s wider efforts to become ‘climate-positive’ by 2030.

To meet this target, the retailer’s value chain should reduce its climate footprint in line with the global target of limiting warming to 1.5°C.

In August this year, IKEA partnered with Electrify America and Electrify Commercial to introduce electric vehicle charging stations at more than 25 of its stores across the US.

The joint effort will bring more than 200 individual ‘ultra-fast’ chargers, offering speeds of between 150kW and 350kW, to stores in 18 US states.