Study: EBike Subsidies Encourage People to Buy Ebikes


By Charles Pekow — Subsidies encourage people to buy ebikes. At least, that’s what researchers found in New Zealand. It’s something Congress might want to consider as it ponders the Build Back Better Act, which includes tax breaks for buying them. It’s not clear if the provision will survive as the Senate will have to scale down the act if it ever passes.

Kenny Freestone commutes 38 miles each day on his pedal-assist eBike. Photo by Jill Freestone

Back in 2019, the New Zealand Transport Agency experimented with a variety of subsidies, mainly for public employees. The agency offered a variety of subsidies ranging from interest-free loans to salary advances, discounts, trials, and advice.

COVID slowed the program, but 112 public agencies took part. Even with discounts, many lower-paid employees couldn’t afford the bikes, so interest-free financing helped them more. Suppliers also didn’t prove terribly fond of giving discounts. However, many of those who bought bikes rode them to work.See the study at


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