France continues to bet on the bikes: the Ministry of Ecological Transition announced an increasing aid to purchase electric bicycles. So from now on, scrapping a polluting car means receiving up to 1,500 euros to buy an electric bicycle, or 1,000 euros if it is a cargo bike.
The French Ministry of Ecological Transition announced that it would reinforce the government aid to continue supporting “the growth of light commercial vehicles and bicycles” within the Climate and Resilience law.
At the moment, and according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, “the government aid for the acquisition of low-polluting and low-emission vehicles is a success: more than 840,000 conversion bonuses and 330,000 ecological bonuses have already been distributed.”
Concerning the bicycles, it is intended to promote its use “as an alternative to the individual vehicle, thus promoting the change towards sustainable mobility, particularly in urban and peri-urban areas.” And, to achieve this, the so-called conversion premium aid has just been extended, which aims to encourage the purchase of electric bicycles or cargo bikes in exchange for the scrapping of polluting cars or old trucks. The maximum amount of this government aid will be 1,500 euros, which should not exceed 40% of the total cost of the e-bike. In the case of cargo bikes, the government aid is extended to individuals, local authorities, associations or professionals, and the amount remains at 1,000 euros.
Although some groups have criticized the measure as insufficient, in general, it has been well received in the local bicycle industry. As explained to the newspaper Le Parisien by the president of the French Federation of Bicycle Users (FUB): “thanks to these measures we not only eliminate polluting cars, but we also reduce, in general, the traffic of automobiles replacing them by bicycles “.
The fact that the aid, in principle, only goes to electric bikes and not to conventional bicycles has received criticism: “They would have to explain why an electric bicycle, with a disproportionate carbon footprint due to the use of a battery of lithium and multiple recharges, it is a great advance for the planet, “said Maxime Juriste on Twitter after the announcement. “The only real ecological energy is human energy … the mechanical and conventional bicycle!”
In any case, what is obvious is that the French government announcement comes at a sweet moment for the French bike industry. In 2020, 2.7 million bicycles were sold in France, 1.7% more than in 2019. But, above all, and thanks to the sale of electric bikes, turnover records were smashed, with total revenues of more than 3,000 million euros (25% than the previous year) and 514,672 electric bicycles sold.