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Ministry shelves 400-euro subsidy scheme for e-bike purchases

The Ministry of Transport and Communications put the subsidy proposal on ice following heavy criticism of the plan and dissent within government.

Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva
Denise Wall

Consumers considering purchasing e-bikes will likely have to fork out the full cost themselves after the Ministry of Transport and Communications mothballed a proposal to subsidise purchases of electrically-powered bikes – leaving it for the next government to tackle.

The decision comes amid a storm of criticism levelled at the proposal during a commenting round due to wrap up at the end of April. The ministry had previoulsy suggested granting a subsidy of 400 euros to individuals who want to purchase an e-bike.

The proposal is part of scheme that aims to advance the growth of non-motorised traffic -- a decision-in-principle that was announced in March. The program and a number of related measures aim to encourage the use of cycles as well as walking.

Pushback over proposal

However the plan to provide a financial incentive for buying e-bikes was not originally part of the program. Some of the pushback against the idea arose over charges that the subsidy was being offered for bikes that were already reasonably affordable.

There was also some disunity in government over the issue. The National Coalition Party has said that it does not support the measure (link content in Finnish) and also argued that it would result in market distortions. The party also said while the idea of promoting no-emissions traffic was in itself "beautiful", it would be fairer to offer support for all kinds of non-motorised vehicles, such as electrically-powered mopeds and motorcycles.

The ministry intended to implement the subsidy program by temporarily expanding a financial support scheme for low-emissions vehicles to e-bikes.

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