Blue planet, green ideas |  Prince Edward Island subsidizes electric bikes

Blue planet, green ideas | Prince Edward Island subsidizes electric bikes

The Prince Edward Island government launched a subsidy program for the purchase of electric and traditional bicycles in June. An initiative that has been very successful in the smallest of the Canadian provinces.

Posted yesterday at 6:00 am

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eric pierre champagne
Press

Since the government incentives took effect, 700 bicycles have been sold on Prince Edward Island, including 150 electric bicycles. “For electric bikes, we’re talking about one bike sold per 1,000 inhabitants,” says Jordan Bober, director of Cycling PEI, the Maritime province’s equivalent of Vélo Québec.

In Quebec, such enthusiasm would translate into the sale of 8,600 electric bicycles in two months, figures that are certainly modest, but not insignificant. In Prince Edward Island, these sales are showing great success, says Mr. Bober.

The province has notably followed in the footsteps of Nova Scotia, which announced a subsidy program for the purchase of electric bicycles in 2021. The reimbursement for Prince Edward Islanders is $500 towards the purchase of an electric bicycle. But the other part of the show also seems to appeal to consumers. A discount of $100 is also offered for the purchase of a traditional bicycle whose price does not exceed $2,000. To date, more than 500 bikes have been sold through this new incentive.


PHOTO FROM PEI CYCLING WEBSITE

Jordan Bober, Director of PEI Cycling

“I talked to several merchants who said their sales are up slightly, but they are more upscale stores,” reports Jordan Bober. At Canadian Tire, I was told flat out that they were facing a tsunami of applications! »

The director of Cycling PEI is obviously delighted at the arrival of such a program, which could convince more people to buy an electric bike or even a traditional bike. But this initiative may not have materialized without the help of the Green Party, he says. “It was the greens who came up with this idea in the spring,” he says. Remember that the political party elected 8 deputies in the 2019 general elections compared to 13 from the Conservative Party, which thus forms a minority government. The Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island has 27 seats.

“The big challenge now is finding electric bikes in stock in stores,” says Jordan Bober. Especially since most models are made in China. As these bikes are becoming more popular throughout Canada, it can sometimes be more difficult for a dealer in a small province like Prince Edward Island to replenish their inventory.

Goodbye to the second car.

Ken Fenton believes that his fellow citizens will be very tempted by the new government assistance program. This father of two, who works in customer service in Charlottetown, can no longer do without his electric bike purchased less than a year ago.

With his wife, they decided to sell their second car to buy two electric bikes. They both cycle daily to their respective jobs, about 10 km from home, in summer and winter. They love their new way of getting around so much that they now do almost everything on an electric bike. With just one car, which is hardly used anymore, the gas bill has only added up to $200 in recent months, says Ken Fenton.

My wife was quite skeptical at first, but we still use our electric bikes today and that really makes a difference.

Ken Fenton

The benefits are many, says Fenton. “We sold our second car, without having to pay for insurance and registration, not to mention fuel savings. You really save a lot. »

But the most important aspect, according to Ken Fenton, is not measured in dollars. “It helped me a lot for my physical and mental health. I have suffered from depression in the past and suffer from anxiety. I also had back pain. I am much better since I ride my bike every day. »

If he could not benefit from a subsidy for the purchase of his electric bicycles, Mr. Fenton said he was convinced that the new measure could convince more than one to adopt this mode of transport. “I was very surprised to see that many people asked us questions and several said that they wanted to get one. »

If gas prices stay this high, many will be tempted to follow suit, says Ken Fenton.

And in Quebec?

Quebec does not currently offer subsidies for the purchase of electric bicycles. And it has no intention of doing so, according to indications from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, which manages the Roulez vert program for the purchase of electric vehicles. A position deplored by the Vélo Québec organization, which would like to see such a measure adopted at both the provincial and federal levels. “These are requests that we repeat during the pre-budget consultations,” underlines Magalie Bebronne, director of programs for Vélo Québec. She recalls that in Quebec incentives of up to $8,000 are offered for the purchase of an electric car.


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