Berlin buyers exhaust EV cargo bike funding in just one day

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In Berlin, a flood of applications have exhausted an e-bike purchase incentive fund after just one day.

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Berliners have raced to take advantage of an electric ‘cargo bikes’ purchase incentive | Source: Riese & Muller
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Berliners have raced to take advantage of an electric ‘cargo bikes’ purchase incentive | Source: Riese & Muller

Drivers may not be getting on the bandwagon to access Germany’s €600 million EV fund to buy electric cars, but for electric-powered cargo bikes, things look very different.

In Berlin, a flood of applications have exhausted an e-bike purchase incentive fund after just one day.

Sections of the program have been halted one day, it was reported in Spiegel Online.

The €90,000 budget for individuals to buy bikes built to help carry objects or other people has been completely exhausted, the Senate Department for Transport said.

Without a requirement to supply an invoice for the application, it is no wonder – the support program effectively gave buyers a 33% discount off the price of the vehicle, with a limit of €1,000 for each purchaser.

€500 maximum was available for individual buyers after a more traditionally human powered bike or trailer.

Instead of supplying an invoice of purchase, applicants only had to provide two quotes – and at that, proof could consist of a mere screenshot of the cargo bike they intended to buy.

One thing is certain – Germans love the idea of getting around town on an electric bike.

Source: Riese & Muller

Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the nationwide electric car subsidy, which has the potential to create an even larger impact on the environment.

Spiegel Online reports that the state government wants to win over more road users to make the switch to “environmentally friendly, quiet and space-saving” bicycles.

To do so, they initially provided €200,000 in total for 2018, leaving €110,000 for commercial and community organisations wanting to apply for the subsidy.

Next year this will increase to €500,000 – but now everyone has to wait another 6 months to apply.

Berlin joins a growing group of cities, counties and federal states that are supporting the switch to environmentally friendly transport options. These include Munich, Heidelberg, Regensburg, Bamberg and Baden-Württemberg.

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12 Comments
  1. Antony Berretti 4 months ago

    It will be interesting to see how much of that fund will result in bikes or flagons of beer?

    • Terry J Wall 4 months ago

      That is a pretty negative comment regarding one country that continues to surprise! Don’t underestimate the Germans… history proves that they are more than capable.

      • Rod 4 months ago

        He does have a point though. With no requirement for proof of purchase the scheme is open to abuse.

        • Joe 4 months ago

          Taking Bier ahead of Fahrrad is crazy. Das Bier gets pissed away in no time but das Fahrrad is forever!

          • Rod 4 months ago

            Agreed. If someone gave me $1500 I’d stick to my home brew and find a good frame builder to knock up a decent cargo bike.
            I’d then fit a Bafang mid drive motor to it.
            I’ve got a BOB trailer but a cargo bike like the ones in the pictures would be a much better option.

          • Joe 4 months ago

            Hello again Rod. The following piece may be of interest to you as you are a keen Radfahrer. This year (26-27 May 2018 just gone ) Hamburg, Germany hosted its annual ( this year was the 2nd in what will now be an annual affair ) VELO Hamburg Fahrradmesse ( Bicycle Fair / Festival ). It is the biggest Fahrradmesse in the world and is held over 2 days in the Great City of Hamburg. Just go to the internet website http://www.velohamburg.com There is plenty of goodness to be had…all the different types of bicycles and yes you’ll spot the odd cargo bicycle as well. As well,on the YouTube is a 10 minute video from last years ( 2017 ) VELO Hamburg. All I can say is….. Weiter radeln!

          • Rod 4 months ago

            Thanks. Looks like a hoot.

      • Antony Berretti 4 months ago

        You are correct, I agree Germans are excellent at devising solutions through technology. I did not have much time the other day to elaborate on the comment, but recently here in the UK a lot of time was spent on highlighting a problem with online promotions. Companies could buy up entire online promotions in minutes rather than days as would have been expected, so AI or computers were used to subvert the goods which are then sold at inflated prices. As much as I agree that the idea and promotion is valid, to sell out in such a short time is Suspicious and needs to be investigated……This is not usual traffic as I would expect, even in Berlin….

  2. George Darroch 4 months ago

    Cargo bikes are great. Electric motors make them just that much more practical, and I’m not surprised this ran out.

    Why doesn’t the Victorian or Federal Government apply such a subsidy? I feel like bicycles get short shrift as zero emissions vehicles in Australia (which happen to increase the health of people who use them).

    • Rod 4 months ago

      “bicycles get short shrift as zero emissions vehicles in Australia”
      Agreed. Such a simple solution deserves much more attention.

      • Joe 4 months ago

        Hello Rod, my bicycle friend. I think we are ahead of the pack when it comes to the humble two wheeler. As I mentioned recently I am carless but I have my ‘h-Bikes’ that get me around quite nicely.

  3. Jonathan. 4 months ago

    For aspiring Aussie cargo bike owners, have a look at Transport Mutual Credit Union: you can get an interest-free loan up to $10k on any bike purchased in an Australian bike shop. I bought a Yuba Spicy Curry for the school and shopping runs. It’s a legit scheme, and no, I’m not affiliated with Transport Mutual (I actually work for a competitor).

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