If there's one thing you're guaranteed to find at Eurobike – aside from the stepper bike and bread and wurst – it's electric bikes. They're big on the continent, and getting bigger, whilst at the same time getting smaller: in the sense that the bikes get lighter and more bike-like every year.
Actually, they're not all getting smaller and lighter. There's some trends we can't see lasting – electrically assisted downhill bikes, for example – but there's some other bigger bikes where a bit of assistance is very welcome: cargo bikes.
Kona have taken their Ute and electrified it, adding a 250W pedelec motor and a big 13Ah battery that's tucked away underneath the capaciaous rack. To look at it you'd barely notice the electrics, especially if you had the huge rear panniers fitted, but it makes plenty of sense to electric up a cargo bike. Even the fittest of riders could do with a bit of a shove if they've got to grind a fuly-laden load-carrier to the top of a hill, and the battery and motor aren't much of an extra burden if you've got 30kg of shopping in your panniers. If you're using a cargo bike for work then it could be a real boon; Kona state the range at between 18 and 60 miles depending on how much juice you're using.
The Ute wasn't the only electric cargo bike, Yuba had their Mundo powered up too and there were others at the fringes as well. It's certainly a niche at the moment but for people to reduce their car usage viable alternatives are required, and a bike like the electric Ute makes a lot of sense as an everyday workhorse that would allow you to shift stuff around without killing yourself on the hills. We very much enjoyed the original Ute when we tested it, and we'll try to get hold of an electric one for a whizz about too...
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.