Speed Pedelec Promotion Projects Started in Belgium and Holland
BRUSSELS, Belgium – In Belgium and in Holland promotion projects are being started in order “To optimize the potential of the speed pedelec for commuting.” Such projects are needed because sales of this e-bike category is indeed rising, but by no means shows brisk growth. At least, that what’s happening in the Netherlands.
“With the speed pedelec, quickly through traffic.” Under this motto, 11 employees of the University Hospital of Brussels have kicked off the Flemish mobility project 365SNEL last Friday. The objective of 365SNEL (SNEL is Dutch for ‘fast’) is to research and optimize the potential of the speed pedelec for commuting. To this end, in the coming year some hundred test riders will get the opportunity to try out a speed pedelec for free for three weeks.
In the Netherlands speed pedelec and e-scooter sales in Q1-2-3 was up 15%
Potential for sustainable mobility
The fast electric bicycle category, capable of speeds up to 45 km/h, for which speed pedelecs have to be type-approved and need to carry a license plate, are regarded as to offer an important potential for making mobility in Belgium and Holland more sustainable. Earlier research by the Leuven University shows that speed pedelec users daily commute just under 30 km. This comes very close to the average distance of 30.3 km which Flemish travel for work to Brussels.
Further, punctual and cheaper
With daily commuting of some 30 km the speed pedelec is therefore mainly used for distances that are considered too far for the 25 km/h electric bike. Moreover, the speed pedelec allows avoiding traffic jams and offers punctual and low-cost travel. Nevertheless, a study carried out in Belgium reveals that there are still a number of obstacles and prejudices hindering this sustainable mobility solution.
European Clean Power for Transport program
These obstacles and prejudices are currently being researched by various institutes on behalf of the Flemish government, in order to be able to formulate appropriate solutions. This takes place within the framework of the “European Clean Power for Transport program”. 365SNEL is one of the selected projects that should result, within two years, in an improvement of both the vehicle itself and its terms and conditions of use. These improvements should encourage more commuters to opt for this alternative means of transport.
Part of the research program is the test by 11 employees of the University Hospital of Brussels. Nico Van Elzen, Environmental and Mobility Coordinator, explains why the hospital participates in 365SNEL: “Just like many other organizations, accessibility is of strategic importance to UH Brussel. If we come across travel alternatives, we investigate them to see how they can help our employees to improve their commuting and contribute to a modal shift. This, in turn, benefits the accessibility of our hospital for employees, patients and visitors alike.”
Fiscal benefits in Holland
Nico Van Elzen also mentioned that part of the research on speed pedelecs is an investigation into “the concept of bicycle leasing.” In the Netherlands that concept has already been taken a step further in the sense that fiscal benefits have been announced by the Dutch government.
These measures are like the ones that in Holland apply to company cars that employers make available to employees as part of their employment conditions. An employee pays extra income tax for the use of that company car. As from the start of 2019 a similar scheme comes into operation with company bikes. And in particular for company e-bikes as well as speed pedelecs. It results in the fact that employees that are using a company e-bike or speed pedelec that retail for about 3,500 euro, are being charged with an extra income tax of some 11 euro monthly. It means that net costs stand at about 5 euro. Such low annual costs of about 60 euro for the use of a 3,500 euro e-bike or speed pedelec is expected to result in rapidly rising sales.
In the Netherlands speed pedelec and e-scooter sales in the first nine months of this year was up by some 15%. Speed pedelec and e-scooter sales take up some 25% of the current moped sales in the Netherlands.