New UK electric bike subsidies could knock a third off the retail price

(Image credit: Bosch)

According to recent reporting by the British newspaper The Times, the UK government is looking at subsidies that could bring the price of a new e-bike down by a third. 

With more people taking advantage of bikes for transportation, the UK government is looking to add a ‘sweat-free’ way for riders who commute in their business attire, or older riders, or anyone else who is just looking for an easy way to get around, while also getting a bit of exercise in the process.

This new taxpayer-backed scheme will likely take a similar form to the subsidies available for plug-in electric vehicles, which can reduce their price by up to 35 per cent. The Times reported the UK Government is looking at grants of up to £3,000 in an effort to appeal to potential buyers who may be on the fence. 

Cycling UK voiced its support of these endowments, noting that currently, eBikes are the only electrified form of transport where no such relief is currently available. 

The final wording of the plan won’t be unveiled until Spring 2021, but Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said the government, “is developing a national support program to boost the adoption of e-bikes to levels seen in many other countries.”

Sales of eBikes and scooters have more than tripled in the last year, alongside the significant increase in sales of analogue non-pedal-assist bikes in every category, during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the UK most e-bikes fall under EPAC (electric pedal-assisted cycle) amendment regulation mandate and have the same legal standing as standard bikes. To qualify under this mandate, the motor of an e-bike must be restricted to 250-watts of assistance, can only kick in once you’re already in motion, and cut out when you reach 25km/h. The rider must also be at least 14-years old.

Bosch eBike

(Image credit: Bosch)

When this package comes to fruition, the UK will join the ranks of France, Sweden, and a host of other European nations, and North American states, and territories that offer various subsidies to encourage people to purchase eBikes for their commute.

This news comes on the back of the additional £175-million announced by the Department of Transportation to be set aside for local councils to improve infrastructure for cycling and walking; as well as the £2-billion ‘cycling and walking revolution’ that Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced back in July, that included vouchers for bike servicing and improving infrastructure and highway code to make riding safer.

If you're thinking of taking advantage of this pilot program when it launches next year, make sure to check out our guides on the best electric bikes, and the best e-bikes for commuting for everything you need to know. 

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