Friday, March 10th 2017 at 2:20PM GMT
Following the recent news that the UK’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles is to offer grants for the purchase electric cars, vans, and motorbikes, but will not offer similar grants to would-be purchasers of electric cycles and cargobikes, BikeBiz reached out to a group of e-bike specialists to gain their opinions on the controversial move.
“A few years back I was at an APPCG meeting where the OLEV subsidies were being discussed and it was stated that not all of the money set aside for this had been taken up by electric car buyers, in fact there was a considerable pot left. I asked if this could be perhaps used in support of electric bike buyers. Unfortunately the official stance was that they couldn’t be sure that the grant would be getting people out of cars and onto an electric bike. It could be going to someone who was already riding a conventional cycle and therefore would not be improving emissions, but, would rather be a retrograde step. It appears that their thought process has not moved on, despite data from other countries showing that it can work. I think that not allowing a grant towards pedelecs is somewhat short sighted. For the most part people who are already out there on bicycles are going to continue to do that. Unless they are extending their journey and then this could keep them pedalling. What a grant could do is to encourage people who would not otherwise consider cycling. The Cycle to Work Scheme only goes so far to promote e-bikes. Most good quality electric bikes fall outside the upper limit and whilst I understand that there are proposals to change that, at the moment we are still waiting to hear if it will happen. I believe that a grant would make most people think seriously about a change in habit, to make riding a pedelec part of their everyday commute.” – Sue Coulson , Batribike
“I agree with Kit Mulhouse MP on this point. Kit rides a Wisper 905Torque e-bike to and from Parliament from his house in North London on a daily basis, he completely understands why we need alternative forms of transport and has put his money where is mouth is. In a response to a question posed to him after Carlton Reid’s editorial, Mulhouse said ‘I think you will find that e-bikes are eligible for the cycle to work scheme, and hence already attract proportionately much more significant subsidies than electric cars.’ Let the Government concentrate on building better and safer cycle routes, when we have a network even half way resembling that of Holland, Denmark etc. we will no doubt see an even bigger uptake of e-bikes in the UK.” – David Miall, Wisper Electric Bikes