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1st in EU: Italian Government Spurs Bike Sales with Incentives

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For the first time in Europe a government started handing out direct incentives for the purchase of a bicycle or e-Bike. Last week on April 22, the Italian government by means of its Ministry for the Environment started an incentive scheme which contributes to a maximum of

1st in EU: Italian Government Spurs Bike Sales with Incentives

MILAN, Italy – For the first time in Europe a government started handing out direct incentives for the purchase of a bicycle or e-Bike. Last week on April 22, the Italian government by means of its Ministry for the Environment started an incentive scheme which contributes to a maximum of 30% of the retail price of a bicycle or e-Bike. The maximum amount is € 700 which is for a bike that retails for € 2,330. This is on average the retail price of a high-end electric bicycle.

According to the Minister for the Environment the incentives are not only for the purchase of bicycles but are also intended for small scooters and for electric Powered Two-Wheelers. They are valid for the whole of 2009. The incentives are based on a governmental budget of 8.75 million euro to be given to users who purchase a new bicycle or power assisted bicycle, without the need of writing-off another vehicle.

The incentives are also given to purchasers of scooters either with an EURO-2 engine or electric powered. In these latter cases the writing-off of a scooter EURO-Zero or EURO-1 is mandatory.  The maximum incentives for the purchase of big electric motorcycle is set at 1,300 euro and for an electric scooter 850 euro. For EURO-3 hybrid motorcycles the maximum amount is 950 euro while for hybrid scooters it reaches 600 euro. For EURO-2 four-strokes and two-strokes the incentives are only 350 euro and 180 euro respectively. In order to obtain the incentive for the purchase of these vehicles it is needed to write-off a non-ecological PTW.

Piero Nigrelli, responsible for bicycles at ANCMA (the Italian National Association for the Bicycle and Motorcycle Industry) stated: “The decision of the Italian government to support cycling with incentives is something really new in Europe. Not only is this fantastic but more important is the fact that the incentives have been given based on the fact that the government wants to give a real push for the improvement of the air quality in particular in large urban areas.”

According to Nigrelli a rather large number of people took the opportunity to buy bicycles or e-Bikes with the incentives just after the start of the scheme. At the first day 11 applications came in of which 10 for bicycles and 1 for a Powered Two-Wheeler. He said: “Luckily we were able to simplify the paper work for the scheme by the dealers. And even some consumers called us to express their gratitude.”

Browsing through the government documents in which the incentive scheme is described it is stunning to read: “Bicycles, power assisted bicycles and similar vehicles are real options to promote a sustainable mobility as an alternative to motor vehicles …”. With that it seams the world is really changing…

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