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The nation’s first electric motorcycle bought with the new ‘plug in’ subsidy hit the roads on March 1, a day which rings in a new era for motorcyclists.
Fred Murphy, from Redhill in Surrey, was the first customer to benefit from the government’s subsidy of £1500 or 20% of the total purchase cost, whichever is the smaller number, when he rode a Zero FXS away from dealer 21st Moto.
The subsidy, previously only available for electric cars and vans, has been introduced by the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to increase take-up of electric vehicles.
The Zero FXS has an average range of 60 miles, a top speed of 85mph and costs the equivalent of a penny a mile to power. The motorbike itself can be charged using a three pin plug, with faster charge options, meaning that it will take just two hours to fully charge.
The ‘plug in’ subsidy has been available for electric cars and vans since January 2011, but has now been applied to electric scooters and motorcycles for those that meet the required criteria, which includes having a battery with five years’ warranty and a good range.
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21st Moto has now sold three Zero motorcycles in total and dealer principle Rob Francis believes the system of claiming the subsidy is easy for customers.
Mr Francis said: “The dealership does all the work, so there are no forms to fill out or paperwork to complete. The dealer makes the application direct to OLEV and the price is reduced by £1500 or 20% of the total purchase cost, whichever is the smaller number.”
Customer Murphy, who has ridden motorcycles for more than 25 years, has traded in his petrol bike for an electric model. He said enjoyment and an interest in new technology was the motivation behind his purchase and that he will be commuting to work on it.
“As an electronics geek and an early adopter, I have always been interested in electric bikes and tried my first Zero back in 2012, so when the ‘plug in’ grant finally came in, this was enough to justify my jump to electric,” he added.
Steve Kenward, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association, which lobbied for the subsidy, says motorcycles and scooters will help cut congestion.
“Whether electric or not, a motorcycle, scooter or moped benefits from reduced journey times, easier or free parking, no congestion charge and is normally cheaper to run and insure. There is also the added benefit that it’s just more fun than other modes of transport,” he added.
Motorcycles have become increasingly popular, with the number of licensed bikes for the road (and licence exempt) having increased from 720,000 in 1994 to 1,330,000 for the last quarter, which is the highest number since 2009.
Ready to ride. Fred Murphy is the first customer in the UK to get the ‘plug in’ grant.
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