No grants for e-bikes says UK Government body

Office for Low Emission Vehicles: "Sorry, but no"

You can get a grant towards the cost of a new electric car, van or motorcycle in the UK, but this scheme does not extend to electric bicycles, the UK's Office for Low Emission Vehicles, which administers the grant, has said.

Responding to a question on Twitter as to whether the grants extended to electric bicycles, the official OLEV account said “Sorry, but no. These grants are available to bridge the cost gap between #ev [electric vehicle] and #ICE [internal combustion engine] equivalent road vehicles.”

This is in contrast to other European countries, which are encouraging the take-up of e-bikes by offering subsidies.

In Oslo last year, the city council offered residents grants of up to 20 percent, capped at 5,000 kroner (about £570), towards the purchase of an electric bicycle.

This year it extended the scheme to cargo bikes, offering buyers a grant of up to 25 percent off the purchase of an electric cargo bike, with a maximum grant of 10,000 kroner (about £1,140). The scheme has now reached capacity and so the council has stopped taking applications.

Cargo bikes are great for hauling your cargo — and kids — around
Cargo bikes are great for hauling your cargo — and kids — around

In France, as detailed on the French government's Legifrance website, the government is offering its citizens up to €200 towards the purchase of an e-bike until 31 January 2018 as long as the bike does not use a lead-acid battery and has a net maximum power of less than 3kW.

Elsewhere in Europe, you can get €1,000 towards the cost of an electric cargo bike in Vienna, while in Munich, no distinction is made between electric and non-electric cargo bikes, with both attracting grants of up to €2,000.

E-Cycle to Work instead?

If you do want to save money on the purchase of a new e-bike in the UK, you could instead go through the Cycle to Work scheme if your employer offers it, though this is a salary sacrifice scheme, not a grant.

That means that with the Cycle to Work scheme, you enter a hire agreement and then pay a set amount from your gross salary each month until the scheme ends, at which point the bike can become yours for a final payment. 

It's worth noting, though, that the cost of many electric bikes puts them outside the price range of those covered by the scheme — with many employers capping tax savings on bikes up to £1,000. 

Read more about the scheme in our complete guide to the Cycle to Work scheme.

What do you think? Should the UK Government encourage the purchase of electric bicycles by offering grants? Let us know in the comments.

Paul Douglas

Global Editor-in-Chief
Happy on both pedal-powered and petrol-powered bikes, Paul joins BikeRadar having just returned to the UK after an 18-month stint working in Berlin. Now back in the West Country, it's a welcome return to country lanes and gravel paths instead of hacking through the urban traffic.
  • Current Bikes: Felt Verza 10, Suzuki DR-Z400SM
  • Beer of Choice: Berliner Kindl
  • Location: Bath, UK

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