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All Aboard the Electric Bike Revolution!

Fancy getting between 20-35% off the cost of your next eBike? With today’s news, it’s looking like this might not be far off. It has been a landmark day for everyone in the eBike world as electric bike prices are set to be cut by a third under new plans backed by the government. A new ‘national e-bike support programme’ has been released in a 50 page ‘Gear Change’ document to incentivise more people to switch to electric bikes.

Back in July the government launched a significant package of measures billed as a ‘revolution for cycling’ alongside the cycle-to-work scheme, and hinted at the fact that there was set to be new legislation coming to subsidise eBikes for people as a plan to increase cycling nationwide. This came as part of a £2 billion active travel fund announced earlier in the year, which has already seen many pop-up cycling lanes and infrastructure being introduced nationwide.

We understand that ministers will launch a taxpayer-backed scheme to boost the number of people using eBikes, appealing directly to commuters riding in business outfits and those who are older and less fit. Chris Heaton-Harris, the Transport Minister, said the government was ‘developing a national programme of support to boost eBike uptake to the levels seen in many other countries.’ The Department of Transport is planning to support a number of pilot eBike support schemes in the current financial year leading up to March 2021, to help build an evidence based on the type of approaches which are most effective in increasing take up of eBikes.

As the UK’s largest retailer of premium eBikes, we sometimes find ourselves dealing with several bemused would-be buyers nervous about cycling again and with often unrealistic ideas about how cheaply they can hop on an eBike. As people in the industry know, low-priced eBikes can suffer from unreliable ‘cheap’ componentry which do not stand the test of time. Purchasing a quality eBike, typically beginning at £2000, is of course a considered investment, but such a scheme will no doubt massively reduce the financial barrier to entry and make the more premium, better quality brands more affordable.

Cycling UK earlier released a statement that supported the scheme, stating that this ‘should be a straightforward purchase subsidy’, and adding that it was a ‘long-standing bone of contention that grants are available for electric cars, electric vans, electric lorries, electric taxis, even electric motorbikes, but not electric pedal cycles.’

We believe that eBikes shouldn't be seen just as competitors to bikes but instead to more traditional methods of transport, be that cars, the tube, buses and trains, all of which have a negative impact on our environment. We see eBikes as being the true car replacement for inner-city transport in the coming years and the real solution to living in less polluted, noisy, anxiety-induced cities. Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK chief executive commented that ‘nearly 70 per cent of journeys under five miles are driven. With the right incentives and right infrastructure in place, a mass uptake in eBikes could provide a real alternative to households that have relied on two or more cars.’

It is key to point out, at this time, that the exact details of the scheme have not been fully disclosed, but trials of the specific programme will most likely begin in the coming five months, with the full-scale scheme being announced in April/May 2021.

We believe that quality should never be compromised, and that everyone should be able to reap the benefits of eBikes. With this new grant, more people will have the chance to use our excellent product range and become a part of the future transport culture.

Henry Hayes

17/11/2020