The Prince Edward Island government launched a subsidy program for the purchase of electric and conventional bicycles in June. An initiative that was very successful in the smallest Canadian province.
Posted at 6:00 am
Since the government incentives came into 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 people,” notes Jordan Bober, director of Cycling PEI, the Coast Province’s equivalent of Vélo Québec.
In Quebec, such enthusiasm would result in the sale of 8,600 electric bikes in two months, numbers that are certainly modest but not negligible. In Prince Edward Island, Mr. Bober says these sales are having great success.
The province has notably followed in the footsteps of Nova Scotia, which announced a 2021 subsidy program for electric bike purchases. But the other part of the program also seems to appeal to consumers. A $100 rebate is also offered for the purchase of a conventional bicycle priced within $2,000. To date, over 500 bikes have been sold through this new incentive.
“I spoke to several retailers who said their sales were up slightly, but they are more upscale stores,” reports Jordan Bober. At Canadian Tire, they told me flatly that they were faced with a tsunami of requests! »
The director of Cycling PEI is obviously excited about the arrival of such a program, which could convince more people to get an electric bike or even a conventional bike. But without the help of the Greens, this initiative might not have come about, he says. “The Greens came up with this idea in the spring,” he says. Remember that in the 2019 general election, the political party voted 8 MPs against 13 for the Conservative Party, thus forming a minority government. The Legislative Assembly on Prince Edward Island has 27 seats.
“The big challenge right now is finding e-bikes in stock at retailers,” notes Jordan Bober. Especially since most models are made in China. As these bikes become more popular across Canada, it can sometimes be harder for a dealership in a small province like Prince Edward Island to replenish their inventory.
Farewell to the second car
Ken Fenton believes his fellow citizens will be very pleased with the government’s new aid program. The father of two, who works in customer service in Charlottetown, can no longer do without the e-bike he bought less than a year ago.
With his wife, they decided to sell their second car to buy two electric bikes. Both of them cycle to their respective workplaces, about 10 km from the house, every day in both summer and winter. They love their new way of getting around so much that they now do almost everything on an e-bike. With only one car that they barely use anymore, their gas bill has been just $200 for the past few months, says Ken Fenton.
My wife was quite skeptical at first, but today we still use our e-bikes and it really makes a difference.
The benefits are many, says Fenton. “We sold our second car, no insurance and registrations to pay, not to mention the fuel savings. You really save a lot. »
But the most important aspect, according to Ken Fenton, is not measured in dollars. “It has helped me a lot for my physical and mental health. I have suffered from depression in the past and I suffer from anxiety. I also had back pain. I’m feeling much better since I’ve been cycling every day. »
If he couldn’t benefit from a subsidy to buy his electric bikes, Mr Fenton said he was confident the new measure could persuade more than one to adopt this mode of transport. “I was very surprised to see that a lot of people asked us questions and some said they wanted one. »
If gas prices stay this high, many will be tempted to emulate it, says Ken Fenton.
And in Quebec?
Quebec does not currently offer subsidies for electric bike purchases. And has no plans to do so, according to the Department of Energy and Natural Resources, which administers the Roulez-Vert program for electric vehicle purchases. A position deplored by the organization Vélo Québec, which would like to see such action at both the provincial and federal levels. “These are demands that we reiterate during pre-budget consultations,” said Magalie Bebronne, program director at Vélo Québec. Keep in mind that Quebec offers incentives of up to $8,000 to buy an electric car.