E-bike schemes: 5 countries leading the evolution of cycling

As the technology grows more popular, businesses and local governments are offering e-bike schemes and encouraging their use.

By Stuart Cooke

You might have noticed recently that there are lots more e-bikes out and about in big cities and even in many places in the countryside. There are several reasons for this; firstly, these bikes are becoming increasingly available, with more than 45 million being manufactured in China each year. 

e-bike
E-bikes schemes are popping up all over the globe. (Photo by KBO Bike on Unsplash)

The e-bike has become the transportation of choice for lots of people. It can drastically cut down on commute time, help you to avoid congestion and reduce your carbon footprint. 

As these bikes grow more popular with the general public and there are clear advantages for people and the planet, lots of businesses and local governments are offering initiatives encouraging the use of e-bikes. 

Admittedly, not everywhere has embraced the electric revolution just yet. But in this guide, we will take a look at some of the schemes and subsidies for e-bike users around the world

Canada 

Since May 2019, the government in Canada has been incentivising people to purchase electric bikes by offering $750 cash back to those who do. There are a few stipulations to the scheme, most notably that you have to scrap your old vehicle, so you have to be committed. Not only this, but you must spend a minimum of $1,000 on your new electric bike in order to claim back the $750. 

This might seem a lot, but once you’ve got your cash back, you’ve essentially only paid $250 for your e-bike. That could possibly be a bit more depending on the retail price of your chosen bike, but if you stick to more budget-friendly models, you’ll see greater savings. 

Another caveat of this scheme is that you must be a registered owner of a vehicle; this does not include family members.

The US

There are lots of different e-bike schemes and subsidies across the US, and often these depend on the different states and the local government.

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California 

Residents of California that reside in participating air quality districts can be eligible for up to a $750 voucher towards purchasing an e-bike. However, in order to be eligible, you must have a household income of $49,960 or higher or live in a disadvantaged community. Although no end date has been set, there are limited funds available. 

Texas 

In Austin, Texas, cash rebates of up to $300 can be given to those who purchase a single e-bike and up to $400 to those purchasing a fleet of bikes. There are some rules, applications must be submitted online within 60 days of purchase, and for fleet bikes, Austin Energy branding must be displayed on the vehicle. A resident can make up to three e-ride rebate applications per fiscal year. 

Vermont 

Vermont has several e-bike schemes currently running; a rebate programme for Green Mountain Power (GMP) customers offers an instant $200 rebate for e-bikes of $500 and above purchased from local partner stores. Of course, these have to be from GMP-participating local stores to be eligible. 

Similarly, riders can get a $200 rebate from the Burlington Electric Department for e-bikes purchased at participating retail shops. Again there is no end date set, but there is limited funding for these e-bike schemes. 

UK

In the UK, there is a payment scheme that has been going since 1999 to encourage professionals to cycle to work. However, e-bikes were only added to the scheme in 2019. 

In this initiative, payments are taken directly from an employee’s salary (tax efficiency) by employers to help them with the purchase of a new e-bike. This is written into a contract and takes place over a year. 

This can help employees to save between 25–39% on their bikes and accessories during the scheme. It also means that employers recoup the full cost of the bike, and they can even get up to 13.8% of its overall value on top of that. 

In order to apply, employers must consent to the scheme, you must be at least 16 years old, earn minimum wage and pay tax through PAYE.

Scotland 

Since 2018, the Energy Saving Trust of Scotland has been running a loan programme to help give more people access to the funds they need to purchase an e-bike. This scheme is actually funded by Transport Scotland. 

These loans are interest-free, but all applicants must pass a credit check before they are accepted. These loans range from £3,000 up to £6,000 depending on the number of bikes and whether these have been adapted or not. 

Repayments are made over a four-year period so that they are much more affordable, and there is no end in sight for this helpful cycle scheme. 

France 

In Paris, a $500 cash-back incentive is given to any Parisien who purchases a new e-bike in the city. This incentive goes alongside the existing e-bike subsidy (a cap of €4,000) because the local government are very keen to get people to swap their cars for more environmentally friendly vehicles like these. This fund does, however, have a spending limit. 

Sweden 

The Sweden Electric Bike Grant is a subsidy for any Swedish citizen looking to purchase a new bike for their go-green initiative. Participants can get up to 25% of the cost of the bike or the equivalent of 20,000 krona. 

Although the scheme launched in 2018 after the e-car subsidy programme, anyone involved can backdate their claims up to 1 September.

[Read more: The way we travel around cities has changed: Now is the time for bike-sharing schemes to flourish]

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