France will soon offer its citizens €2,500, which is a little less than $3,000 USD, to trade in their old cars for environmentally friendly e-bikes.
Background: Cash for Clunkers Model
Earlier this week, French lawmakers approved this scheme in a preliminary vote. It has yet to be enacted, but odds are the environmentally-conscious nation will pass it.
France is not leading the charge on this. According to SHIFT, Finland runs a similar project. The country has funded about 2,000 e-bikes, as well as 1,000 new low-emission cars. Lithuania’s Environmental Project Management Agency also ran a similar program offering citizens €1,000 to buy e-bikes and other similar vehicles.
Nationwide, Canada has a tax incentive plan for individuals who buy electric cars. The government pays people out in the form of a rebate. Specific provinces, like British Columbia, offer similar deals for E-bikes, offering residents $1,050 CDN if they take the plunge.
Analysis: A Big Year for E-Bikes
2020 was a big year for e-bikes. Europe noticed a significant increase in sales, and North America was no different. Reports indicate that e-bike sales have grown by 90% year over year, and the pandemic has seen a global spike in people wanting a cheap and easy form of transportation to get around.
“Our customers have been saying that e-bikes are a great option for the new coronavirus-era way of living,” said Lectric eBikes co-founder Levi Conlow to Electrek. “The dramatic increase in sales shows that nationally, people are looking to shift how they get around.”
The US-based e-bike maker saw a 140% increase in sales in early 2020.
E-bikes aren’t going to replace cars any time soon in smaller ‘car-focused’ cities. However, what is occurring is a significant shift in the way people think about transportation in larger metropolitan areas.
Subways, buses, and ride-sharing services in a post-COVID world may see their users decline as people want to retain some aspects of social distancing. Bicycles are an excellent option for that, and from a convenience perspective, e-bikes fit the bill too.
Outlook: An E-Bike Future
France is just another country in a long line of countries moving to fund the use of environmentally-friendly vehicles publicly. Moreover, the rise of e-bikes will also lead to other benefits such as increased physical activity, which, in turn, will lead to healthier lifestyles. There is a method to the e-bike madness, and it moves beyond the pressures being mounted by a changing climate.