Transport minister rules out extending 'low emission vehicle' grants to e-bikes

There won't even be an extension for e-cargobikes, confirms roads minister Jesse Norman
By Carlton Reid,

In a written answer to a parliamentary question the transport minister Jesse Norman has ruled out extending Office for Low Emission Vehicles grants to electric bikes or electric cargo bikes.

The question was asked by Labour's Leeds North West MP Alex Sobel. 

Norman replied:

"OLEV grants are available to bridge the cost gap between electric vehicles and internal combustion engine equivalent road vehicles. We do not plan at this stage to extend grant funding to e-bikes and e-cargo bikes."

The minister in charge of cycling added: "The Government recognises the significant potential benefits associated with e-bikes, and its plans to boost all forms of cycling are set out in the statutory Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, published in April 2017. The Department has supported various e-bike initiatives in recent years, and some e-bikes are eligible for support under the Government’s cycle to work scheme."

Electric cars qualify for "plug-in" grants of £4,500 per vehicle but despite requests from the likes of the Bicycle Association the scheme has never been extended to e-bikes.

In 2014, the Bicycle Association raised the inequity of e-vehicle sweeteners, available since 2010, and the government promised to "consider" the funding disparity. 

That low emission vehicles with motors – which is what e-bikes are – should not get purchase grants from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles has long been a bone of contention with the cycle industry.

Last year, Norman told The Guardian that an e-bike subsidy could happen. 

He said : “We’ve done some work on [an e-bike grant] already, and I haven’t looked at the outcomes yet ... [but] there’s a case in principle."

Clearly, that case has now been rejected by the government, "at this stage."