New funding guideline for e-bikes comes into force in March 2021

The federal government supports the purchase of e-load bicycles and load trailers with electric drive assistance through an extended purchase premium. A new funding guideline from the Federal Ministry for the Environment will come into force on 1 March 2021. Buyers of e-load bikes and e-trailers for industry, commerce, trade, services and the municipal sector will receive a premium of 25 percent up to a maximum of 2,500 euros. Delivery bikes with a payload of 120 kilograms or more are eligible. The funding is provided as part of the National Climate Initiative (NKI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment.

Climate-friendly conversion of inner-city goods traffic

The aim is to support delivery companies in switching to climate-friendly and sustainable logistics. In addition, inner-city traffic is to be relieved. Ordering on the internet and having it delivered - if possible "the same day" - has long been established among consumers. Delivery traffic in German cities is increasing accordingly. According to a study by Statista, the volume of shipments will increase to 4.4 billion per year by 2023. The Bundesverband Paket und Expresslogistik e. V. (BIEK), the German Parcel and Express Logistics Association, also forecasts strong growth in the number of deliveries. (BIEK). It assumes a growth in mail volumes of between 3.6 and 4.2 per cent per year. One possible consequence is delivery vehicles that increasingly park on pavements and cycle paths, thus becoming a hazard for road traffic and also impairing air quality.

E-bikes are clean, safe and healthy

"E-load bikes are not only a clean solution for shipment delivery, but also a cost-effective one for businesses," explains Raik Vollmann. He is the managing director of VSC Bike GmbH, a provider of cargo bikes based in Allstedt. "Besides that, there are other reasons for using delivery bikes. Companies have lower acquisition costs than with a delivery car and do not have to rent or buy parking spaces. In addition, the health of the employees is promoted, who are on the move all day with an e-cargo bike," Raik Vollmann continues.

Washing machine and co. delivered by cargo bike

The state subsidy is as broad as the possible uses for e-cargo bikes or e-trailers: "Whether it's a logistics company, a DIY store, a furniture store, a medium-sized company or a delivery service - anyone who wants to use a delivery bike to deliver their goods can apply for the subsidy," says Raik Vollmann. Landscape gardeners who drive from park to park, city cleaners who clear the city centre of rubbish or lawyers whose files have to be transported to court: E-bikes can be used everywhere. "Everything that does not exceed a total load of 300 kilos can be transported on an e-bike. This upper limit was laid down in DIN standard 79010 for multi-track cargo bikes," Vollmann continues.

Pioneer Deutsche Post

In addition to the cargo bikes themselves, the federal government also provides up to 40 per cent funding for the establishment of so-called micro depots for bike logistics. They work like this: A delivery van brings its consignments to the depots. From here, delivery to the neighbourhoods over the last mile is made by cargo bikes. The delivery is supposed to be clean, safe and quiet. In addition, traffic jams and emissions in the city centre are reduced. Deutsche Post is a pioneer here and started delivery from a micro depot in Hamburg's Burchardstraße last January. Together with other logistics providers - UPS, Hermes and Rewe - Deutsche Post wants to test the delivery of goods to customers in Hamburg's old town.

Application possible until 2024

More and more delivery companies are recognising the advantages of delivery by cargo bike. The updated federal funding guideline now provides them with even better support for the acquisition costs. Applications for funding will be accepted by the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) from 1 March 2021 to 29 February 2024. Applications will be submitted electronically. Proof of commercial use must be provided in order for the funding to be approved. No procurement order may be placed and no bicycle may be purchased before the funding approval.

You can read the Federal Ministry's press release on the funding guidelines here (german).