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ECF Outlines Fiscal Incentives for E-Cycling

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BRUSSELS, Belgium – “E-bikes have a greater potential, in addition to the known benefits of cycling, but up until now they were excluded from most of the electromobility strategies on both European and national levels,” commented Holger Haubold, author of the report and European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) Fiscal and Economic Policy Officer.

ECF Outlines Fiscal Incentives for E-Cycling
E-bikes are often not included in electromobility strategies on both European and national levels. – Photo ECF

For this reason, the ECF has published a report called ‘Electromobility for all: fiscal Incentives for e-cycling’. “Despite their obvious advantages and cost-effectiveness, e-bikes are still kept out from e-mobility policies. Therefore, we seek to draw the attention of decision-makers at all levels to the potential they offer. We provide key policy recommendations and best practice examples, with the goal of promoting e-cycling throughout Europe,” adds Holger Haubold.

Austria as an example

Earlier this month, the French government had announced a 200 euro financial incentive for the purchase of an electric bike after a successful advocacy campaign of the French ECF member FUB and other interest groups. France followed the positive example of Austria which has developed one of the biggest e-bike markets in Europe thanks to various local fiscal incentive programmes. In 2015, 9 e-bikes per 1000 inhabitants were sold in the Alpine country compared to 6.6 in Germany or 1.5 in France.

Faster than cars

Both France and Austria have taken these initiatives for a simple reason: investment in e-cycling pays off. In addition to the economic, environmental, health and other benefits that cycling has to offer, e-bikes are the perfect solution for longer distance trips. In studies they proved to be faster than cars in trips up to 10 km (twice longer than the ones with conventional bikes).

Moreover, they make it easier to overcome natural obstacles, like hills or headwinds, thus they are suitable for commuters wanting to arrive at work in their professional attire, less physically trained cyclists, elderly people and other groups that did not cycle before. Besides, e-bikes make it possible to transport heavier goods, thus providing a great solution for individual shoppers and companies relying on fast urban logistics. Therefore, e-bikes are seen as a potential alternative to cars, especially for trips in urban areas.

Decision makers

In order to keep up with EU CO2 emission commitments, and to reap even more benefits of cycling, decision makers at all levels are encouraged to include e-cycling in their electromobility strategies, and to provide relevant funding mechanisms. The ECF report shows that despite tremendous support for electric cars the payback is rather low. For example Germany spent a massive 1.4 billion euro until 2014 to put only 25,500 electric cars on the streets. Meanwhile with little investment it is possible to reach a massive surge of electric bikes.

ECF has published detailed overviews of incentive schemes in some of EU Member states, benefits of e-bikes and fiscal policy recommendations.

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