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20% of British workers would be more likely to obtain an e-bike if the Cycle to Work scheme cap was raised

  • 20% of all British workers would be more likely to obtain an electric bike to Cycle to Work regularly if the Cycle to Work scheme cap was raised
  • Nearly half (47%) of regular cycling commuters (those who cycle at least once a week) would make the switch to e-bikes if the Cycle to Work scheme cap was raised
  • Of those that commute by bicycle less than once a month, distance to the workplace was considered is the biggest barrier for over 2 in 5 (44%) respondents

10th September 2018: A new survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of OVO Energy, the UK’s largest independent energy supplier, has shown that 20% of Britons would be more likely to obtain an electric bike to cycle to work regularly if the Cycle to Work scheme cap was raised. Just 3% of British adults currently have an electric bike, with the survey indicating that increasing the scheme limit has the potential to lead to a significant step change in electric bike uptake.

E-bikes have a battery and electric motor to assist with pedalling - at speeds up to 15.5mph in the UK. They can help cyclists travel greater distances, reduce sweat and give riders a boost up hills.  Of those that commute by bicycle less than once a month, distance to the workplace was considered the biggest barrier for over 2 in 5 (44%) respondents, this shows the value of electric bikes, as they enable longer commuting distances to become more manageable by bike.

In addition, nearly half (47%) of regular cycling commuters (those who cycle at least once a week) would make the switch to e-bikes if the Cycle to Work scheme cap was raised from its current limit of £1,000.

E-bikes are a regular sight in much of continental Europe; in 2017, 720,000 e-bikes were sold in Germany, with sales up 19 percent YoY. Currently, one in five bikes sold in Germany is an e-bike. (Source: Zweirad-Industrie-Verband, 2017)

In 2016, the UK accounted for 16% of all bicycle sales in Europe, second only to Germany’s 21%. Sales of electric bikes ranked Great Britain 7th with just 5% of all electric bikes sold in Europe, behind Austria, Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. (Source: The Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry, 2017)

According to the research conducted by YouGov and commissioned by OVO Energy, over two thirds (69%) of the UK population have heard of e-bikes, yet only 3% of British adults own one, showing that the barrier is no longer one of awareness.

Nearly half (47%) of regular cycling commuters (those who cycle at least once a week) would make the switch to e-bikes if the Cycle to Work scheme cap was raised above £1,000.
This figure was particularly high in the North East (26% agree more likely), Yorkshire and the Humber (26% agree more likely), West Midlands (25% agree more likely) and East Midlands (25% agree more likely). Increasing the Cycle to Work scheme limit would have significant regional benefits and would significantly support areas outside of London and the South East.

Chris Houghton, CEO of Retail for OVO Energy, said: “The Cycle to Work scheme is a popular employee benefit that OVO Energy offers, however, greater access to electric bikes through the scheme would open it up to many more of our employees. We would welcome action from government to make this change happen.

“Today’s 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. 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. We're at the start of the electric bike and electric vehicle revolution, transforming our energy system by decarbonising transport."

Steve Edgell, Chair of the Cycle to Work Alliance, commented: “The benefits of electric bikes are clear, in particular for those demographic groups who may not currently feel confident about cycling and for those who live further away from work. This research from OVO Energy shows the positive impact that increasing the scheme limit would have on encouraging people to take up cycling across the whole of the UK. 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. 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.”

OVO Energy are also the title sponsor of the Tour of Britain, the UK’s most prestigious international men’s stage race on the UCI calendar. The company has been showcasing a range of e-bikes to the public around the country to ride and experience the benefits for themselves.

For more information on OVO Energy, please visit https://www.ovoenergy.com/

ENDS
Notes to Editors

For further media information on the survey, please contact: 

Adam Tranter, Fusion Media
adam@fusion-media.co.uk / media@ovoenergy.com
07806 55 77 65 / 0203 735 8835

Data
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc on behalf of OVO Energy. Total sample size was 2067 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th - 6th September 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

When referencing data, please credit: A survey conducted by YouGov and commissioned by OVO Energy.

About OVO Energy
OVO Energy is the largest independent energy supplier in Britain. Founded in 2009 by entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick, OVO Energy redesigned the energy experience to be fair, effortless, green and simple for all customers. Today OVO Energy is a progressive energy company that serves more than 850,000 retail energy customers, striving to deliver more abundant clean energy for everyone.

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