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Tax breaks could be on the way for electric bikes

  • Roads minister Jesse Norman thinks it could encourage more Britons to exercise
  • The MP says cutting taxes on the expensive bikes would also help fight pollution
  • Most of the e-bikes advertised on Halfords website cost more than £1,000
  • They feature a small motor to help novice cyclists pedal on arduous journeys 
  • People buying electric cars already receive up to £4,500 off the purchase price 

By James Salmon Transport Editor For The Daily Mail

Published: 20:48 EDT, 20 October 2017 | Updated: 20:56 EDT, 20 October 2017

Cyclists could be offered subsidies in a Government push to get people on their bike – but only if it’s electric.

Electric bikes, or ‘e-bikes’, have a small electric motor that can provide a boost to help cyclists get up hills.

They are becoming increasingly popular with novice or older cyclists who struggle to complete arduous journeys with pedal power alone.

E-bikes like this one by Brompton feature electric motors to help cyclists get up hills and could be given tax-breaks in a new scheme
E-bikes like this one by Brompton feature electric motors to help cyclists get up hills and could be given tax-breaks in a new scheme

E-bikes like this one by Brompton feature electric motors to help cyclists get up hills and could be given tax-breaks in a new scheme

Roads minister Jesse Norman suggested providing tax breaks for e-bikes could encourage more people to cycle, helping tackle concerns about pollution and Britons’ lack of exercise.

But like electric cars, e-bikes can be prohibitively expensive.

Most advertised on the Halfords website cost more than £1,000, with some costing upwards of £3,000. 

Those buying an electric car can receive up to £4,500 off the purchase price through a Government subsidy scheme, which contributed to a surge in sales. 

Yesterday Mr Norman said the Government had been considering offering a separate subsidy scheme for e-bikes.

Roads minister Jesse Norman thinks tax breaks could encourage more people to cycle and tackle concerns about lack of exercise and pollution
Roads minister Jesse Norman thinks tax breaks could encourage more people to cycle and tackle concerns about lack of exercise and pollution

Roads minister Jesse Norman thinks tax breaks could encourage more people to cycle and tackle concerns about lack of exercise and pollution

‘We’ve done some work on that already, and I haven’t looked at the outcomes yet ... There’s a case in principle,’ he told The Guardian. 

He added that there was a ‘tremendous opportunity’ for firms to use e-bikes rather than vans to deliver lighter packages. 

Mr Norman also said he was ‘not ruling out’ the idea of the Government increasing pressure on local councils to do more for cyclists.

A bike qualifies as an e-bike if it has pedals, the electric motor provides no assistance when the bike is travelling at more than 15.5mph and the power does not exceed 250 watts.

AA spokesman Luke Bosdet said subsidised e-bikes would make sense to many people seeking to cut costs. ‘This is one way drivers and young people could avoid rip off prices at the fuel stations,’ he said.

How pedal power is given a boost

E-bikes are like a normal bike with a built-in electric motor and battery. Riders still have to pedal, but the motor will kick in to help.

They can travel at up to 15.5mph with the motor on, and some bikes can cover 50 miles on a single charge.

However they cost much more than regular bikes, with some models on sale for upwards of £3,000.

Riding one costs just 0.4p per mile, while a medium-sized diesel car costs 34p per mile.

In the UK, riders must be at least 14 and the bike’s maximum motor output cannot exceed 250 watts.

 

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