Ebike subsidy: France leads the way!

Bold leadership from the French Government here as they have followed through on a commitment to offer any resident an Ebike subsidy of up to €2,000. The scheme also includes the ability to use the money to buy a second-hand electric bike from a professional retailer. Something we at eCycleDirect are keeping a close eye on!

While there is no direct link, the scheme appears to have taken some inspiration, at least, from the progress made in Paris. Here the mayor, Anne Hidalgo, has prioritised active travel in transport spending, a direct action that has encouraged Parisian’s to realise the benefits of walking and cycling in numbers on hundreds of kilometres of new cycle lanes in space taken away from cars and associated parking. A seemingly evidence-based decision that has delivered what was intended.

Hidalgo in 2014 (c) Wikipedia

This game-changing scheme has one valuable aim – promote cycling as a tangible alternative to short car journeys. This, in effect, ups accessibility to those on the lowest incomes who cannot afford a vehicle and enables those with disabilities who may otherwise have found it difficult to access an electric bike or trike.

The scheme comes as part of a wider 2023 to 2027 cycling and walking plan, developed by France’s first cycling and walking committee. The commitment will therefore run until 2027 when that plan is due to expire.

The Small Print

There are of course conditions to meet before residents can apply for the subsidy. One of those is inevitably income, excluding those with a disability.

There does also appear to be a cap on the level of Ebike subsidy available, with non-electric bikes receiving the least, then electric bikes and the maximum subsidy reserved for those buying e-cargo bikes. This may sound a bit unfair but cargo bikes can be used for personal and business purposes. The aim here is quite explicit and direct. Reduce short urban journey car trips, decongest towns and cities, lower air and noise pollution while improving health.

Additional conditions include:

  • No electric bikes with a lead acid battery qualify
  • Bikes with old technology are excluded
  • The cycle bought with a subsidy cannot be resold in the year following its purchase
  • The scheme can only be used once per resident.
  • Each bike sold must carry a unique identifier on the frame to combat the trade in stolen goods

Will the UK follow?

Given how forward thinking and attractive this scheme is, will the UK Government follow France? During the pandemic’s first lockdowns a popular bike repair voucher scheme introduced was an idea first introduced in France. However, given Rishi Sunak’s recent decision to ‘back drivers’ and severely cut the UK’s Active Travel budget, the UK’s political taste for an Ebike subsidy seems some way off.

Just imagine what we could achieve if our leaders took evidence-based decisions on Transport. Rather than lock us in car dependence for years to come. It feels like we’re pinning all our hopes on EVs. These do nothing for congestion or meeting our net-zero aspirations due to the high levels of embedded carbon from manufacture. If we want to tackle climate change, congestion, air and noise pollution and be less of a burden on our NHS, our leaders need to be bolder and take a lead from France. If we don’t we will just sit on the side-lines and watch them win.

France Ebike Subsidy
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