France set to include e-bikes in car scrappage scheme

France is set to offer car owners the chance to swap their old vehicles for €2,500 toward the purchase of an electric bike.

Deputies in the Assembly voted for an amendment to the French Governments’ Climate and Resilience plan to extend the “prime à la conversion” to a series of measures to encourage the development of cycling. The original version of the plan had no cycling measures, but Friday’s amendment was welcomed by key figures as “real progress”. The premium could be worth €2,500 per bike.

The law still has further stages to go before it is adopted, but ‘the signal is sent’. “For the first time it is recognised that the solution is not to make cars greener, but simply to reduce their number,” said Olivier Schneider of the French national cycle users’ association, FUB.

Cycling Industries Europe welcomed the move and called for more Governments to follow. Chief executive Kevin Mayne said: “Ever since the start of the COVID crisis, we have said there should be no car scrappage schemes in recovery and climate plans that don’t include the option of bicycle purchases.

“We are seeing a welcome increase in stand-alone incentives for bicycle purchases, but the French Assembly has made it clear – e-bikes and cargo bikes are to be supported as vehicle replacements. Every Government needs to recognise that it is the cycling industries of Europe that are leading the world in the change to e-mobility.”

Cycling Industries Europe and other cycling associations have called for Governments across the EU to expand the €1 billion spent on COVID-related cycling measures in 2020 into a multi-billion Euro package of cycling infrastructure and financial support for bike purchase and bike sharing.

Mayne added congratulations for the work of FUB in the lobbying that led up to the vote. He said: “FUB’s advocacy impact is the perfect case example of what I am told by our members – advocacy funding is the best return on investment of any Euro we spend.”

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