One fifth of British workers more likely to commute by e-bike if Cycle to Work scheme cap is raised

A new survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of OVO Energy has shown that 20 per cent of British workers would be more likely to use an e-bike to commute regularly if the Cycle to Work scheme cap was raised from its current limit of £1,000.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of regular cycling commuters, those who cycle at least once a week, would also make the switch to e-bikes if the cap was raised.

Of those that commute by bike less than once a month, distance to the workplace was considered the biggest barrier for over two in five (44 per cent) of respondents.

Over two thirds (69 per cent) of the UK population have heard of e-bikes, yet only three per cent of British adults own one.

Chris Houghton, CEO of retail for OVO Energy, said: “The Cycle to Work scheme is a popular employee benefit that OVO Energy offers, however, greater access to electric bikes through the scheme would open it up to many more of our employees.

“Today’s survey shows there is clear demand for electric bikes and that opening up access to them through the Cycle to Work scheme would get more people cycling.

“This would improve workplace health and wellbeing, reduce emissions, and improve air quality; all subjects we’re incredibly passionate about.

“Electric bikes, as we’ve seen with electric vehicles, will help power sustainable transport of the future.

“We’re at the start of the electric bike and electric vehicle revolution, transforming our energy system by decarbonising transport."

In 2017, 720,000 e-bikes were sold in Germany, with sales up 19 per cent year over year.

Currently, one in five bikes sold in Germany is an e-bike. (Source: Zweirad-Industrie-Verband, 2017)

In 2016, the UK accounted for 16 per cent of all bike sales in Europe, second only to Germany’s 21 per cent. 

Sales of electric bikes ranked Great Britain seventh with just five per cent of all e-bikes sold in Europe, behind Austria, Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. (Source: The Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry, 2017)

Steve Edgell, chair of the Cycle to Work Alliance, said: “The benefits of electric bikes are clear, in particular for those demographic groups who may not currently feel confident about cycling and for those who live further away from work.

“This research from OVO Energy shows the positive impact that increasing the scheme limit would have on encouraging people to take up cycling across the whole of the UK.

“We know that employers want to be able to offer electric bikes to their employees through the scheme, so it is pleasing to see employers such as OVO Energy call for action to achieve this.

“The scheme is the simplest and most effective mechanism for making electric bikes affordable and accessible.

“We’re keen to continue working with the Department for Transport and the Treasury to open up access to electric bikes through the Cycle to Work scheme.”

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