2022-2023 E-Bike Incentive Programs in North America and Europe
In North America and Europe, many purchasing incentives are available to help make electric bikes more affordable. Since we want you to leave your car at home and hop on your bike, we’ve put together a selection of ongoing or long-term subsidy programs.
Riders in North America can use Portland State University’s super handy online tracker, which monitors various e-bike incentive schemes in the US and Canada. Since the tracker covers a wide range of jurisdictions, check out what programs are available in your area.
The tracker was compiled on the basis of a dozen criteria, such as incentive style, discount mechanism, and income threshold. This may save you some effort in determining what incentive program suits your needs best. Under the “Administrator” column, you can see what authority or company is sponsoring the incentive scheme and under the “Status” column, you can see whether the program is still active. The table also contains links to the relevant program, so you’ll know exactly who to contact and what other criteria may apply.
Having some of the world’s best cycling infrastructure and legal framework, European countries are well-equipped to handle a surge in e-bike users. The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) has a handy online tool that allows you to look for subsidies based on your bike type and target group (individuals, businesses, or public entities). Here's an overview of several national schemes in countries with some of the highest (e-)bike ridership in Europe. For incentive programs on the local level, check out the ECF tool.
Cycling is very much ingrained in Danish society, and that is why the Danish government supports cyclists with an ongoing tax deduction program. To encourage people to cycle more frequently and cover larger distances by bike, a tax cut of 2.05 DKK per kilometer has been in place since 2016 for those who commute at least 6 kilometers on their bikes daily.
Companies that purchase bikes for employees are exempt from paying VAT, and may also include accessories (such as helmets, panniers, and even spare parts) under this arrangement. An alternative incentive is to allow employees to purchase a bike worth 40% to 50% of their gross monthly salary.
France is home to some of the most generous e-bike incentive programs on the continent. Since August 2022, the French government has been offering purchasing discounts ranging from €300 to €2000, depending on one’s financial situation. There are three kinds of incentives for purchasing e-bikes:
- Residents with an annual income of €13,489 or less may receive a €300 discount.
- Residents with an annual income of €6,300 or less and those who have proof of disability may receive a €400 discount.
- Residents intending to purchase a cargo bike, a folding bike, a bike adapted for a person with a disability, or an electric bike trailer may receive up to a €2000 discount, provided that they meet one of the two income thresholds above.
To apply for the above amounts, the e-bike must meet the following four requirements:
- The bike must be new. Second-hand purchases are not eligible.
- The bike must not have a lead-acid battery.
- The bike must be a pedal-electric bicycle, also known as a pedelec. A pedelec is defined by a max assisted speed of 25 km/h, and a 250 W power cap.
- The bike may not be sold by the original purchaser within one year of purchase.
Italy may be known for its scooters, but e-bikes are slowly gaining popularity, too. Apart from the many regional incentive schemes available at the moment, there is one national e-bike incentive scheme in place, for both e-bikes and acoustic bikes.
The Italian government has set aside €5,000,000 for the purchase of any type of bike for individuals. Riders may claim up to €750 per purchase, with no percentage of the original purchase attached to this amount.
Arguably the most famous country for cycling, the Netherlands offers tax credits for employees who lease an (e-)bike from their company. Employees are expected to ride their bike to work daily, but are also encouraged to use it outside working hours. The objective of this tax break is to promote more physical activity, as well as to use bikes more often for recreational activities.
Once a company has bought a bike for their employees, they are required to add 7% of the bike’s original purchase price to the employee’s monthly gross salary. In other words, the employee will pay 7% less income tax. What’s more, any service or repair costs will be the responsibility of the company, giving employees a considerable tax cushion.
Another country where e-biking is gaining popularity is the UK, where e-bike incentive programs are abundant.
One such incentive is Cyclescheme, a program to encourage you to cycle to work. You pick a package (either just a bike or a bike AND accessories) and can claim between 25% to 39% of the purchase price, paid to you over a 1 or 4-year period. The percentage will depend on your monthly gross income, and the availability of this program and the budget will be at the discretion of your employer.
Cyclescheme is a lease program, and you as an employee may choose either a 1 or 4-year duration. After this period, the bike and accessories are yours to keep. Both e-bikes and acoustic bikes are eligible for this program.
How do I get started?
The best way is to do your own research and see what program suits you best. We’ve covered quite a few programs, but ultimately, it is up to you to decide. Once you’ve successfully joined an incentive program, join us in one of our Facebook groups to share your knowledge and experiences with other Tern riders!
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