If you’re like me, you’re probably fascinated by weird, offbeat vehicles like the Twike (above). If you’re not familiar with it, the Twike is a lightweight, electric, pedal-assisted velomobile. That means you pedal it, like a bike, but there’s an electric motor in there to help you out- but it’s not cheap. Unless you’re in Sweden, that is, because Sweden’s version of the EPA just announced a tax rebate equal to 25% of the purchase price of an electric bicycle, tricycle, or velomo.
Yeah, that’s awesome.
Our good friend and longtime Gas 2 contributor/editor, Steve Hanley, recently covered Sweden’s new program over at our sister site, Cleantechnica. I’ve included his take- which was suspiciously Twike-free- below. Check it out, then let us know if you’d like to see the US introduce a similar plan to promote light EVs like the Twike, Renault Twizy, or the new Ford OjO in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
25% Off Electric Bicycles and Light EVs
Elon Musk likes to start at the top and work down. In Sweden, when it comes to EV incentives, the government is starting at the bottom and working its way up. According to Norwegian news source Elbil, it is now offering a rebate equal to 25% of the purchase price of an electric bicycle, tricycle, or quadricycle. The Swedish rebate program will not apply to self-balancing devices like Segways or hoverboards, but the article in Elbil suggests the Renault Twizy may be eligible. In some cases, an electric wheelchair or hand-operated bicycle may qualify for the incentive. The total amount of money available is limited to 350 million krona annually — about $12 million.
Any Swedish citizen who purchased a qualifying vehicle after September 20, 2017, is eligible. Payments are managed by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and will begin after February 1 of next year. Unlike some countries where greed is a national pastime, Swedish authorities will monitor the market to make certain manufacturers don’t automatically mark up the price of their products to include the amount of the rebate. “Job-killing regulation” and “nanny-state socialism” at work, folks.
Sales of electric bicycles and similar vehicles are exploding in Scandinavia. Last year, about 67,000 electric bicycles were sold in Sweden and another 36,000 were sold in Norway. “Research shows that electric bikes replace cars,” says Karolina Skog, Sweden’s Minister of Environment. “Now there is a good selection of bicycles in place and the market has begun to evolve.”
She believes there will be more investment in infrastructure when more people begin using electric bicycles. Norway has already committed $1 billion to building new bike paths so people can commute to and from work safely and conveniently. A recent survey of Norwegian bicycle riders conducted by the Electric Vehicle Association finds that price is the main sticking point for people considering the purchase of an electric bicycle. Also important is more secure parking for bicycles in cities, where stolen bikes are a major problem.