50 Electric Bikes are delighted with the new long-term advocacy goal of the Bicycle Association to help with the initiation of an e-bike incentive scheme, which is moving towards implementation as we speak.
This Dft Statement mentions Electric Bikes and provides us with some extra details and is quoted saying the following:
“There is also a further £1 million of funding being announced to extend e-bike hire schemes, which will allow those who are retired, studying, self-employed or looking for work to access the physical and health benefits of e-bikes.”Electric Bikes mentioned in future of transport document
Obviously, the reporting of an e-bike incentive scheme and the mere mention of an Electric Bike Grant has already sparked major interest within the Cycle industry.
Along with some caution that any such incentive scheme may increase the supply issues that the industry is currently having, and the premature announcement may lead to customers postponing e-bike purchases today in anticipation of a maybe scheme tomorrow. We have heard from one colleague in the industry that this has happened to already.
We know, that those that are waiting for for a grant to arise for what is fundamentally a relatively small saving could miss out on actually owning an electric bike at all if not ordered early on. As the 2021 season progressess and demand increases we envisage that there will be a shortage of the key models, especially like those that are portrayed in our latest range.
We can assure you at 50 Electric Bikes that we will be at the cutting edge of implementation and will look to be the first to offer such a scheme if it comes to Fruition and would recommend backdating.
Our understanding at 50 following recent dialogues with the Government, strongly indicates that this Grant or incentive scheme will be a much more modest and localised scheme than some other reports have suggested.
As a UK manufacturer of Electric Bikes in the Leicestershire area we will be looking to trial any pilot scheme and help implement the best outcome for our customers now and in the future, as we prepare for our first models to be rolled out in Early in February.
Electric Bikes Grants & Incentives and how we understand it so far:
- This will be effectively a pilot scheme, not a full-scale national e-bike incentive scheme. It will inform how a national scheme runs in the future, and especially how it could target otherwise hard-to-reach users who need incentives to benefit from e-bike use, and who cannot access cycles through the Cycle to Work scheme.
- This pilot will be largely based around hire schemes which target the particular user groups listed above – NOT as we understand it incentivising personal purchases by the general public at this stage.
- These pilot schemes will be run by local authorities, who will have to pitch for the money from DfT. This means that any demand for bikes will be staggered as these bids are agreed, and will be distributed across participating local authority areas.
At say £250 per e-bike, the £1 million for this pilot would fund only around 4000 e-bikes and I do not know of any ebikes around the £750 mark that are worth owning. This is unlikely to have a major impact on supply if demand is staggered and spread as above. In fact the number of bikes involved may be even lower if local authorities purchase them outright for hire purposes – it would be just 1000 e-bikes at £1000 each, for example. Not the best thought out scheme to make the most impact for the purpose of what the initiative is trying to achieve.
- We remain optimistic that a future national e-bike incentive scheme will be introduced to further boost e-bike uptake post-COVID, funded very much more significantly, and we will remain in dialogue with the DfT on this.
- We continue to inform officials about the industry’s supply capacity, and have made them aware of concerns about scheme timing and publicity from both retailer and supplier sides of the industry.
- We are optimistic that officials will take these considerations carefully into account in the development and announcement of any future national e-bike incentive scheme.
It is our recommendation at 50 Electric Bikes that if the Government is really serious about hitting its targets as outlined in the formentioned documents then Electric Bikes should be considered VAT free or VAT reduced for a period of time as say a 12 months trial period within an 18 month window to claim 3 months either side of the set period and be live on the day of announcement.
This we feel would be the easiest way to manage an incentive and get more people on electric bikes with direct savings in to the pockets of the consumers and an increased demand for retailers . We would be delighted to be able to pass this saving directly on to the customer without the need for any intermediaries which has sadly been the case for the Cycle to Work scheme.
These Grants and Incentives should be part of a full electric bike review package that could also look to increase the motor power output from 250w to 500w and the top speed from 15.5mph to 20mph which would take into account the utility usage that ebikes have and to allow the hill climbing of extreme terrains in counties where cycling would usually be avoided.
Electric Bikes are designed to widen the net of cycling and that is what they can do if we make a couple of slight changes to our local ebike laws and be confident in the message we give that electric bikes can change lives.
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