The French government will offer its citizens up a subsidy of up to €4,000 ($3,990 USD at current exchange rates) if they opt to trade in their gas-powered vehicle for an electric or pedal-powered bicycle.
The Times reports that the subsidy is growing for people who live in low-income households in low-emission urban zones. French citizens in higher income brackets, meanwhile, will be eligible for smaller incentives.
The plan is modeled on a highly successful program in Lithuania, which saw citizens qualify for an subsidy of up to €1,000 ($997 USD) for the purchase of a new electric bike, scooter, moped, or motorcycle after exchanging their old vehicle, reports The Verge. Even if citizens don’t buy another vehicle, they can still benefit from the plan, which offers public transit credits for the trade-in.
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In France, though, the subsidy, which was first introduced last year, is being expanded after officials found that the country needed to do more to catch up to its neighbors like the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark.
France says it wants nine percent of its population to switch to bicycles (be they electric or pedal powered) by 2024. Currently, though, just three percent of the country has switched to two-wheeled mobility. The Netherlands, by contrast, boasts a massive 27 percent of its population on two wheels.
Money isn’t just being sent to individuals, though; it’s also being spent on infrastructure. Emmanuel Macron’s government has said it will invest €250 million ($249 million USD) to make the entirety of the city of Paris bikeable. The city’s mayor, meanwhile, has promised to add 130 km (81 miles) of bike-safe paths over the next five years.
The news comes as European automakers like Porsche, BMW, and Polestar invest in e-bikes, which, thanks to a recent investment in electric mobility technology, are becoming increasingly useful.