Following a study conducted by market researchers YouGov on behalf of Tour of Britain sponsors OVO Energy, it has emerged that 20% of British workers would be more likely to buy an e-bike if the current £1,000 cap on the Cycle To Work scheme was raised.
Additionally – and perhaps even more significantly for the e-bike industry – the study that sampled 2,067 adults has also shown that an increase in the cap would encourage nearly half of all responders (47%) who are already regular bike commuters to make the switch to pedal-assist bikes from their current pedal steeds.
The study has also emerged in a timely manner, as junior transport minister Jesse Norman has asked Chancellor Philip Hammond in recent weeks to offer tax breaks on e-bikes to accelerate their adoption.
OVO Energy, which offers the current Cycle To Work scheme, says that it would welcome action from the UK government to pave the way for greater e-bike adoption.
“[The] 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,” Chris Houghton, OVO’s CEO of Retail, said.
“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.”
The company’s sentiments are echoed by Steve Edgell, Chair of the Cycle to Work Alliance, who also commented: “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,” he continues. “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.”
The study also revealed that while 69% of participants knew about e-bikes, only 3% owned one, which OVO claims that awareness is no longer the main barrier to workers adopting e-bikes for their commute.
This news comes on the back of recent developments in this area, with the government recently announcing £2m of funding for electric cargo bikes – but with no additional support for standard e-bikes through the Help-to-buy scheme.