Get ready for the Plug In Cargobike grant
7 hours ago
The Department for Transport has announced it is likely to soon start offering purchase grants for electric cargobikes. It’s likely the grants will be delivered via the same “Plug In” grant schemes available for cars and vans offered by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles. There are no firm details as yet, and there will first be a consultation period, said a DfT statement.
The cycle industry has long argued that it’s nonsensical that the lowest-emitting vehicle of all – the electric bike – doesn’t benefit from a low-emission-vehicle purchase grant. (Perhaps grants for standard e-bikes could be next?)
The grants will be announced along with the findings from the government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, and set out by transport minister Jesse Norman. The grants will support so-called “last mile deliveries” made by e-cargobikes.
Via the Office of Low Emission Vehicles electric cars get £4,500 sweeteners, and vans get up to £8,000. The government says it is spending £1.5bn on ultra-low emission vehicles to 2021.
The Bicycle Association’s operations director Steve Garidis welcomed the announcement:
“Wider use of e-cargo bikes, proven to be among the lowest emission electric vehicles on the market, would drastically improve air quality, reduce congestion, making our cities a nicer environment to reside in.”
He added: “Countries which have introduced subsidies for e-cargo bikes and e-bikes – such as France and Germany – have seen dramatic increases in uptake.”
In 2014, the Bicycle Association raised the inequity of similar e-vehicle sweeteners, available since 2010, and the government promised to “consider” the funding disparity.
In February, Norman had said “We do not plan at this stage to extend grant funding to e-bikes and e-cargo bikes.”
However, last year, the minister told the Guardian that an e-bike subsidy could happen.
“We’ve done some work on [an e-bike grant] already,” said Norman, “and I haven’t looked at the outcomes yet … [but] there’s a case in principle.”
Back in 2013, BikeBiz pointed out that the government is happy to subsidise the purchase of low emission e-cars, but won’t offer the same support for non-emitting bicycles.
It’s important to note that the OLEV subsidy scheme is not like the long-running Cycle to Work Scheme. That’s a salary sacrifice, not a grant, and is not available to everybody. Anybody with cash can get an OLEV grant to buy an e-car, e-van or e-motorbike. The paperwork is handled by the motor dealer. The “plug in vehicle” grants are, in effect, free money, no strings attached.