Meet the Retailer - Fully Charged

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 For our ‘Meet the Operator’ series this month, we’ve taken a slightly different take as we talked to Dan Parsons, founding partner, and Head of B2B at Fully Charged, a specialist electric bike retailer based in London Bridge, with a focus on regular eBikes for commuting and leisure purposes and cargo bikes for businesses large and small. Unlike many other cargo bike retailers, Fully Charged have their own dedicated service centre at their central London showroom, to help riders and businesses keep their bikes on the road and in tip-top condition.

After launching as a pop-up in Old Street tube station in 2014, Fully Charged now have four stores across the UK and have even launched their own YouTube channel. Find out more about the retailer, and their team, in our interview.

 

Who are Fully Charged?

In short, we’re a specialist electric bike retailer, and have been operating since 2014. Ben Jaconelli originally launched Fully Charged as a pop-up shop in Old Street tube station. A lot of people thought he was mad to launch a bike shop in a tube station away from cyclists, but what Ben wanted to do was to appeal to people who were not cyclists, realising early on that eBikes were great at getting people’s attention and getting them started or back into cycling.

We now have five sites across the UK; London Bridge, Silverstone (a stone’s throw from the British Grand Prix), Cornwall and Guildford. Our London Bridge branch has an eBike showroom and the UK’s largest dedicated eBike service centre. Silverstone has been open for a little more than two years, whilst Cornwall and Guildford recently opened in 2022.

 

How did you get involved with cargo bikes?

I’ve been working with eBikes bikes since 2008. Before I started at Fully Charged, I was the founding employee of Gocycle and I was originally a supplier for Ben! We got on really well and I was able to give insights and ideas from a supplier’s perspective. He often spoke about joining him at Fully Charged and after a few jabs I joined him in 2017. Since then, we’ve gone from a small team to more than 30 staff with five locations.

 

How has the transportation industry changed since Fully Charged started?

Since we launched, a lot has happened. We’ve seen the congestion charge increase, ULEZ has been implemented and of course, the increase in fuel prices and train tickets. All of these changes have helped people make the move to electric bikes. Last year’s COP26 was vital in raising awareness around electric bikes and the importance of using them, not cars, as a means for transport.

The pandemic has definitely helped the popularity of eBikes and cargo bikes as people wanted to get out and about, enjoy the parks and avoid public transport. Most people wouldn’t have considered using an eBike before, but with the pandemic, that’s all changed!

Cargo bikes have increased in popularity too. Previously we would get maybe one call a month about them and now they’re so popular we have an entire department dedicated to them!

It’s not just small businesses using cargo bikes either. Large food delivery companies, construction firms, facilities management companies and hospital facilities firms are all utilising the benefits of cargo bikes. What many people don’t realise is that cargo bikes are 100 per cent tax deductible and schemes such as the EST eCargo bike fund and Bikes for Business can help businesses receive subsidies towards their bikes.

 

What are the most common objections you get around cargo bikes?

The biggest objection is the one thing none of us can control - the weather! However, a lot of operators incentivise their riders by the number of deliveries they make and given the increased efficiencies of eBikes vs vans and cars, if improving the environment doesn’t incentivise them, then the personal financial incentive does.

Other businesses are concerned about the upfront cost of the bike, however, when you look at the savings that are made from not paying ULEZ and congestion charges, parking fees or PCNs, the lower running costs, (not to mention the increased efficiencies compared to vans), is easily justified.

 

What’s your advice to businesses who are hesitant to using cargo bikes?

Try it, even if it’s a test ride. We can organise test rides at one of our locations, or we can provide an on-site trial.

We also recommend speaking to other businesses in your sector that use cargo bikes and ask them about their experience, or you can read our case studies.

The most important of all, come and speak to us. Every one of us at Fully Charged are experts in the industry and we know our products. We know which bikes are, or aren’t, up to the job and we can support you after the purchase at our 10,000 sq/ft service centre.

Visit the Fully Charged website to find out about their eBikes, cargo bikes, stores and services.

If you’re based in SE1, SE16 or SE17 and would like to find out more about getting up to £700 in subsidies towards your own cargo bike, contact our team today at bikesforbusiness@mpsmartertravel.co.uk or call us on 0207 960 2553. Or, if you’d like to contact us to implement your own cargo bike project, contact us at info@mpsmartertravel.co.uk.