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Electric Bicycle Incentives

Cycle To Work Schemes

Some countries offer generous government's schemes to convince people to try electric vehicles and in particular electric bikes.

Electric vehicles pollute less and not dependent on foreign oil so giving discount makes sense.

The additional benefit of electric bikes include a healthier and more energized people.

Savings through this schemes can add up to even 50%. This is not bad at all! The actual amount depends on the specific scheme and on the offered benefits.


The Product

Usually you can choose any electric bike you want (sometimes even bikes which are not electric).

There is usually an upper price limit for the electric bicycle. Some electric bicycles are quite expensive so there is a change that some of them would pass the upper limit.

In such a case, you can get the electric bicycle without the battery and charger (and maybe also other components) and add the electric upgrades separately.

Also check whether you can include safety equipment such as an helmet, lights, reflective clothing, a lock, etc.

Companies

There are countries which offer a special schemes for employees.

Usually, a company/employer can provide a ‘tax and vat free’ electric bike at a large discount from the retail price and at no cost to the company (plus, reduce the amount of costly parking facilities).

The company purchases an electric bike and then sell it or loan it to the employee. The employee then commits to give a small montly fee from his salary.

This amount is taken from the gross salary (before tax money) rather than net pay. Meaning, the employee pays less taxes.

Couple of things to watch out for

Check who is responsible for insuring the bike. If it's you, make sure you’re covered by insurance. Since there is a change that if your electric bike will be lost, you’ll have to pay it off in full, including tax.

Permitted uses - see whether the electric bicycle must (or mainly) be used for work applications (get to and from work) or can it be used also for traveling, off-road, etc.

Who is the 'real' owner of the electric bicycle after the loaning period is over? Will it be yours at the end of the period or will you have to buy it (if you would want to) and in what price?

What happens if you decide to leave early of if you get fired? Do you just have to pay the remaining fees or will you have to pay some sort of penalty fee. Will you be able to take the electric bicycle and what is the price for that?

Double check that you can participate in the scheme and that is worth it. Don't rely solely on the employer. Do you earn enough to participate? What will the actual saving will be (you can check it with the scheme customer-support and by the saving calculators that can usually be found on the scheme's website)

Cycle schemes examples

The UK Cycle Scheme is the largest organization of its kind. It involves with over 1500 bicycle retailers across the UK (and Ireland):

How it works: (Source: http://www.cyclescheme.co.uk)

  • You visit one of the bike shops and select the bike and equipment that you want.
  • You will be given a paper quote and you use an online tool to apply for your chosen package by entering the details online and requesting a secure voucher.
  • Once you have requested a secure voucher, your employer confirms eligibility and approves the request. Cycle scheme will send them an invoice for the bike package, and a hire agreement is sent to you to sign. As soon as the bike is paid for, the secure voucher is sent to you.
  • Your hire payments are deducted from your gross monthly salary. At the end of the hire period your employer has the option to offer the bike to you. If you want the bike you pay a Fair Market Value payment to own it outright.
  • You contact your chosen bike shop to arrange collection. You'll be asked for photographic ID when collecting the bike and equipment.

The Austin Alternative Fuel Vehicle Incentives program:

Electric vehicle incentives participation steps:
(Source: electricVehicleRebateApplication.pdf)

Submit an application:

  • Verify that you are purchasing an eligible all-electric vehicle from an approved dealership.
  • The incentive application must be submitted within sixty (60) days of the electric vehicle purchase.
  • Sales invoice(s) must be dated after April 1, 2008. Retroactive incentives will not be honored.
  • The incentive is limited to five (5) all-electric vehicles, of any combination, per applicant.
  • Complete and submit an incentive application.
  • Submit the following documents with the application:Copy of proof of purchase (invoice(s)) showing full cost of vehicleCopy of manufacturer’s Vehicle Identification Number(s) (VIN#), and model number(s)
  • Mail application

Application review:

  • Austin Energy will verify eligibility and determine the incentive amount is based on the type of all- electric vehicle(s) purchased.
  • Austin Energy will notify the applicant by telephone, mail or e-mail on the application status (approximately five business days).

Rebate payment:

  • All incentives are made payable to the customer as listed on the incentive application.
  • Incentive checks will be issued six (6) to eight (8) weeks from the date the application is approved.

Example of different cycle schemes program from around the world

  • The Austin Alternative Fuel Vehicle Incentives - website
  • Paris Grants 400 Euro Subsidy on electric bicycle from 2009
  • Italian Government Subsidizes electric Bicycles from 2009 - website

And there are many more countries that offer similar programs…



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