Sweden's new e-bike subsidy is so popular that it could soon run dry
- Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate Isabella LÃ¶vin together with Per Bolund, Minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs, in 2017.
- TT / Erik Simander
As of February, Sweden is subsidizing the purchases of electric bicycles and motorbikes by 25%, up to a maximum of 10.000 krona (â¬1000).
The scheme has proven extremely popular. Some 40 percent of the annual subsidy budget has been allotted in less than three months.
Planned to run until 2020, the subsidy's continuation is dependent on the upcoming Swedish elections.
A new government subsidy gives Swedish buye rs of electric vehicles a maximum 10.000 Swedish krona (â¬1000) discount. The measure includes electric bikes and motorbikes bought since September last year.
And evidently, Swedes are eager to go electric in time for summer: There are now some 2,000 applications sent in to Swedenâs Environmental Protection Agency per week, says Thomas Hallqvist, an official in charge of the agencyâs grants, to Expressen.
The inflow of applications - the vast majority for e-bike subsidies - are fast depleting the 350 million krona (â¬34 m) allotted for this year's scheme. Within less than three months, some 137 million - or 40 percent - have already been paid out.
Those who cannot make this yearâs subsidy list will be added to a queue for next yearâs grants. However, due to upcoming parliamentary elections in Sweden, itâs not certain there will be a new round available.
âWe are very dependent on the outcome of the election, since the Allian ce [Swedenâs right wing parties] have said that this type of subsidies wonât fit in their budgets,â Hallqvist says.
If the current Social Democrat government remains in power, the electric vehicle subsidy is planned to continue until 2020 - to the tune of more than 1 billlion krona (â¬100 m).
Even without the subsidy, Swedes have grown keen on e-bikes recently. Between 2016 and 2017, sales grew 50 percent to 67,500 e-bikes, according to industry organization Svensk Cykling. Some 4 out of 10 Swedes say they could consider buying one.
The government's motivation behind the subsidy is to speed up the transition towards fossil-free urban transportation and meet SDG goals.
In Norway, similar subsidies are already well underway: In a bid to reduce car traffic, Oslo city council offers a NOK 500 (â¬550) subsidy for residents buying an e-bike. The second part of the subsidy came into force last year, and gives double that amount for electric cargo c argo bike purchases.
Read More: Oslo is giving residents $1,200 to buy electric bikes
Finland â" lagging behind the rest of the Nordics with a 3 percent e-bike market share against 10-15% for the other countries, according to Bike Europe â" last month turned down a proposal for a â¬400 euro subsidy on electric bikes.
Swedenâs electric bike subsidy - how it works:
25% percent grant on the purchase price (including VAT) on electric bicycles, mopeds, motorbikes and vehicles intended for people with physical impairments.
The subsidy is eligible for vehicles and bikes purchased after September 20 of last year. Vehicles bought before the subsidy took force on February 1 are eligible for subsidies until August 1.
The applicant must be a Swedish resident and at least 18 years of age.
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