This year, in addition to subsidizing electric car purchases, the government is also planning to set aside €500,000 to support the buying of electric cargo bikes. The corresponding regulation, which is being drawn up by the Ministry of Environment, is expected to be finalized later this year.
"Electric cargo bikes have been in use in other European cities for a long time, replacing family cars as well as postal and courier vehicles in urban traffic," Maris Arro, adviser at the Ministry of the Environment's climate department, told ERR.
"The need to consider supporting electric cargo bikes in Estonia also emerged from a study commissioned by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in 2021 on low-emission vehicle measures. Last year, a pilot project for electric cargo bikes in the city of Tartu also proved popular," Arro added.
"An electric cargo bike is primarily a multifunctional vehicle that can easily transport both people and goods, thus replacing the car as a form of urban mobility," she added.
The current plan is to subsidize the purchase of 500 electric cargo bikes with a sum of €500,000, or up to €1,000 per bike. However, this may still change.
The state does not plan to subsidize the purchase of conventional cargo bikes.
"We are certainly in favor of all forms of environmentally friendly transport, but we do not plan to subsidize the purchase of conventional cargo bikes at this stage," Arro said.
"One of the reasons for subsidizing electric cargo bikes is that their relatively high price is a disincentive to their uptake. An electric cargo bike is much more expensive than a conventional cargo bike as the electric battery and motor account for more than a third of the price," she explained.
An electric cargo can cost as much as €5,000, which is comparable to the price of a second-hand car.
In early November, Arro said, that €9 million had been earmarked to encourage the purchase of electric cars. However, the actual amount each individual would receive in subsidies for doing so had not yet been fixed.
Editor: Michael Cole