UK government to subsidize electric two-wheelers
The UK government is looking to give prospective buyers of electric two-wheelers a helping hand in the form of a subsidy that would cut the purchase price of such vehicles. The plan, announced by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), could rev up as early as this UK summer and is slated to run until 2020.
Accordingto OLEV, a total of £7.5 million (US $11.3 million) willbe allocated to the program, with a maximum limit of £1,500 (US $2,270) pervehicle. This funding is part of a £500 million (US $755 million) pool managedby OLEV, with the aim to make electric motorcycles and scooters moreaffordable, reducing their purchase price by up to an estimated 20 percent.
Encouragingthe public to buy electric vehicles is anticipated to prove beneficial on several levels.Apart from the light environmental footprint of such vehicles, researchresults have indicated that in metropolitan areas, powered two-wheelers helpreduce congestion, free more parking space and reduce journey times for allroad users. Prospective buyers can also look forward toescaping taxes such as the Congestion Charge and Work Place Parking Levy.
"Thisis a significant development as it recognizes the part motorcycles and scooterscan play in a low carbon future," says Steve Kenward, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA). "The subsidy will encourage more people to optfor electric motorcycles and scooters, which will help solve the UK’s appallingcongestion problem. Economically, it will provide a much needed boost to thissector of the automotive industry. We hope this will result in increasedinvestment in UK research and development for electric powered two wheelvehicles. We also hope it will give manufacturers who already haveelectric models for sale in mainland Europe the confidence to launch in theUK."
Initiallyplanning to subsidize the sales of at least 5,000 electric motorcycles andscooters during the next five years, OLEV’s program could provide an attractiveexample for other European governments to follow.
OLEV says it will now work with industry to finalize grant levels and eligibility criteria of the program.