One way to move toward a cleaner, greener city is through offering citizens financial incentives to get out of their cars and onto two wheels.
Getting around on a bicycle can be an excellent way to clean up our daily commutes and errand runs, but sometimes you need a little bit of a boost, which is where electric bikes come in. And sometimes you need a little more space to haul groceries and gear with you, which is where cargo bikes come in. Combine the two, and you've got an efficient and fun way to not only get from point A to point B, but to also get the shopping home in a single trip without having to stack boxes and bags on your rear rack until you're wobbling your way precariously down the road (been there, done that).
The capital of Norway, Oslo, is looking to get more of its citizens out of their cars and onto bikes, and more specifically, onto a set of wheels that is made to haul more than just a single person, in the form of grants covering part of the cost of an electric cargo bike. Last year, the city council offered residents a financial incentive toward buying an electric bike, up to 20% of the purchase price of an e-bike, capped at 5000 kroner (about $600). Now that effort has been extended a bit into an electric cargo bike grant program, which will cover part of the cost of purchase of one of these electric workhorses.
According to the Oslo Council, residents can apply for a grant for up to 25% of the purchase of an electric cargo bike, capped at 10,000 kroner, or $1,200, through its Climate and Energy Fund. This subsidy won't help those who can't come up with the rest of the purchase price of an electric cargo bike, which can run anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 kroner ($2,400 to $6,000), but it's certainly a decent incentive to those who might be leaning toward buying one anyway. City Lab reports that Oslo has experienced poor air quality recently, causing the city to place a temporary driving ban on diesel-fueled vehicles, and this financial support for a cleaner transport option might help push people toward choosing a more efficient mode of getting to work and to the market and home again.