Electric motorcycles to get government subsidies

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The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) today announced that the public will soon be able to enjoy a subsidy for electric motorcycles and scooters, which has so far only been available for four wheel vehicles.  The price of each vehicle will be reduced by £1500 or 20% of the total purchase cost (screen price), whichever is the smaller.

Unlike cars, electric motorcycles and scooters can be charged at home or work using normal plug sockets, which makes them more accessible.

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The grant will be made available for new road-registered electric motorcycles and scooters reaching the following criteria…

Bikes will have to weigh at least 50kg without their batteries, emit zero CO2, have a range of at least 50km (scooters must pass 30km) between charges, and have a minimum top speed of 40kmh.

The batteries must not be lead acid or silicone lead acid, and while the vehicle must have a two-year unlimited mileage warranty, the battery or fuel cell and electric drive train must have a five year warranty, but this can be broken into a three year / 30,000km warranty, with the option to extend it by two years / 20,000km. The government’s description of ‘drive train’ includes the clutch, transmission, drive shafts, U-joints and differential.

The MCIA has been involved in negotiations with Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) for the past three years. An initial announcement about extending the grant to motorcycles and scooters was made by the Coalition Government in March 2015; however the detail was not confirmed until now.

Details of how manufacturers and importers can have their bikes assessed for eligibility will be on the OLEV website, and customers wanting to buy an electric motorcycle will be able to find out which ones are eligible once manufacturers have applied for the grant and been accepted.

This announcement comes as part of a £35 million boost for ultra low emission vehicles announced this week, to encourage the uptake of zero emission motorcycles and scooters.

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Steve Kenward, CEO of the MCIA says this should help make electric vehicles and travel more affordable for many people: “This opens the door to zero emission transport to people who have not been able to afford electric cars, which tended to have been a Œlifestyle choice. Motorcycles and scooters are an extremely accessible form of electric transport and have the capacity to significantly reduce congestion, since they share all the advantages of riding a regular powered two wheeler.  Riders can filter through traffic, often use bus lanes and usually get closer to their end destination, cutting door to door journey times.

“Motorcycles are exempt from congestion charges with Œfuel costing the equivalent of a penny a mile and nothing to pay for vehicle tax, plus cheaper or free parking. Switching from a car to an electric motorcycle or scooter could result in huge savings for the average commuter, or for businesses that operate fleet vehicles.”

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