Growing calls for UK electric bike subsidies

You can have a grant of up to £5000 toward an electric car in the UK, so why not electric bikes?

Published: Tuesday 05 June 2018

Electric Bike Brands Subsidies from E-Bikes Direct

Growing calls for UK electric bike subsidies

You can have a grant of up to £5000 toward an electric car in the UK, so why not electric bikes? E-bikes are playing at least as great a role taking petrol and diesel car pollution out of the air as e-cars so we at E-Bikes Direct are calling on the UK government to support people in using electric bikes.

Electric bike subsidies are arguably better than electric car subsidies. Why? Even after your £5000 bung from the government you are generally paying a lot more for a car than you would a dirty diesel of the same specs. The cash is only to help your conscience, not enough to make an e-car directly competitive.

Only a small subsidy of £250 would put a decent electric bike directly competitive with a traditional bicycle. The difference between the two types of subsidy is that the e-car subsidy gets you out of the car, tackling pollution but not congestion. The electric bike subsidy will cut pollution and congestion as people realise just how much easier it is to use an electric bike than a car.

We aren’t alone in making the calls – as you will see in this article, there is such a clamour for electric bike subsidies in the UK that you could almost bet on e-bike grants of some sort coming in the next year. Let’s look at who else has been making the calls.

Electric bike industry

A major industry body has been lobbying the UK government for electric bike subsidies. Speaking to the blog, Steve Garidis, Operations Director at the Bicycle Association, said: “Air quality controls, climate change commitments and an ageing population are all important challenges which the Government is addressing as part of its Industrial Strategy. E-bikes can provide a cost-effective solution to all three of these issues and help reduce pollution, road congestion and encourage the health benefits of cycling.”

Wisper Electric Bikes from E-Bikes Direct

Electric bikes suit all ages and abilities of riders. A classic example might be your older adult who needs to get into town on a Wisper electric bike to see their friends and get their business done. In a car they would have to spend time finding a parking space and then paying to park, after driving at walking pace to get there through the traffic. On an e-bike in many cases it is cheaper and faster just to cycle there, and with an electric motor there are few problems associated with their age slowing them down on the ride.  

Oxygen Electric Bikes from E-Bikes Direct

For those who want a little more go you could always consider the Oxygen range of electric bikes that suit the younger and older age range alike. You might want the Oxygen S-CROSS Electric Bike that is designed for someone to put some serious miles in – perhaps a regular long commute to work every day.

MPs get stuck in

UK Members of Parliament are getting stuck into the debate too, realising that electric bikes can significantly reduce city congestion and car pollution – ultimately helping tackle climate change through reducing transport carbon emissions.

Co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, backbench Conservative MP Andrew Selous said in a recent House of Commons debate, “In my constituency, I live on a hill. I cycle with a conventional bike in London, but at the grand old age of 56, I found that extra boost helped me to get to and from my constituency office on a daily basis, and on one day twice. With my electric bike, I took more exercise that week than I have probably taken all year.” 

Government listens… really??!

It seems that the government is listening to these calls too. Transport Minister and self-confessed electric bike rider Jesse Norman said in the same Parliamentary debate, “We believe that e-bikes can play a very important part in the decarbonisation of our transport system. Colleagues will be surprised to learn that we have been thinking about this issue for some time.”

He did leaven this by saying that electric bike prices are falling and the choice of e-bikes is rapidly increasing as more and more people get into the market. This might be a signal that the Powers That Be, who are all fans of the free market economy, may well try to wriggle out of subsidising electric bikes on basis that they are becoming ever more accessible to greater numbers of people in terms of price point. We may well see a subsidy coming for e-cargo-bikes that get white vans off the roads though.

The public loves a good subsidy

Let’s face it, when offered a voucher towards something affordable like an electric bike, everyone loves a good bargain. Other countries around the world have tried it recently. Sweden’s public went nuts over the offer from the government to the point that the pot of money, designed for a year’s subsidies, ran out in just a few months! The Channel Island of Guernsey has seen exactly the same.

You hear of that ‘Magic Money Tree’? The sheer popularity of electric bike subsidies could scare the penny pinchers in the Treasury off. If we shout loudly enough then it might just happen – politicians have selective memories of their own speeches when the case is as clear as this one!