The facts

E-bikes overcome typical barriers to bike riding like hills and long distances, allowing Australians of all ages and abilities to enjoy the benefits of active lifestyles.

Riding an e-bike is a great way to stay active and studies show regular users meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity.

All around the Australia, people are swapping their second cars for e-bikes for clean, healthy and fun transport around their communities.

Say hello to your second vehicle

The electrification of the humble bicycle has rapidly expanded the appeal of two-wheeled travel. All around the world, people of all ages are receiving a nudge along as they pedal up hills, take on headwinds and carry cargo home from the shops. Their wallets, their health and the environment are much better for it.

The emergence of e-bikes has made leaving the car at home the easy choice for many Australians. Sales are booming as folks are swayed towards a cheaper and cleaner mode of travel.

E-bikes are not only one of the most efficient and enjoyable modes of transport to ever take to the streets, they are also one of the most inclusive. Many of the barriers that prevent people from riding bikes are cancelled out by a little electrical assistance.

We’re seeing people previously worried about hills on their commute power into the office without breaking a sweat.

We’re seeing older people who no longer feel strong enough to ride a regular bike zip around town with a new zest for life.

We’re seeing busy parents drop their kids off at school, saving time and money and having a whole lot of family fun along the way.

As Australia grapples with worsening traffic congestion in its cities, alarming obesity rates and deteriorating air quality that is killing thousands each year, e-bikes are getting people out of cars and moving their bodies in ways we’ve never seen before.

Turns out a little electrical assistance can go a long way. 

Why is this so important?

Australia has one of the highest rates of car ownership in the world. Our transport emissions have never been worse and will become our biggest contributor to the climate emergency by 2030. Climate experts and political leaders agree there is an urgent need to get people out of cars and using more sustainable modes of transport. Given the task in front of us, the e-bike may have arrived at just the right time.

Over many decades, Australia’s transport system has evolved to prioritise the movement of car travel. This has created a transport system that is heavily polluting, promotes sedentary living, chokes our cities with traffic and degrades the quality of air that we breathe. 

It makes hopping in the car to collect the groceries or pick up the kids from school second nature.

Indeed, millions of short trips in Australian cities everyday are carried out by car.

In Victoria, more than 2 million trips under 2km every day are driven. This distance could easily be covered on an e-bike in around 10 minutes.

According to the Climate Council, the only way Australia can fulfill its obligations on emissions reductions is through a dramatic shift to more sustainable modes of transport. 

Meanwhile, Australia has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world. Around 14 million of us are living with overweight or obesity. That’s two in three adults and one in four children. On average, each Australian pays an additional $678 in taxes to cover the costs of obesity in the community.

Rethinking the way we get around is a matter of urgency.

What is Bicycle Network doing?

The Bicycle Network E-bike Expo

In April 2024, Bicycle Network held its first E-bike Expo in Victoria at the Brunswick Velodrome in partnership with the Brunswick Cycling Club.

It offered a one-of-a-kind opportunity to test ride dozens of different e-bikes in a safe, family friendly setting.

Thousands of people came from all over Victoria to talk directly to the experts, take an e-bike for a spin around the velodrome and learn all about what these marvellous machines can do. 

We know of so many people that have hopped on an e-bike for the first time, loved it and never looked back.

The E-bike Expo was all about giving as many people as possible that opportunity, and by this measure was a huge success. 

Bicycle Network surveyed visitors on the day to gauge public sentiment about e-bikes and to understand the factors impacting transport choices.

Of those surveyed, half said the main reason they were interested in riding an e-bike was to be more physically active, ahead of environmental concerns (40%) and cheaper transport (around a third).

While more than half said bike riding was already their primary mode of transport, 44% said driving was currently the main way they got around.

When asked what the biggest obstacle was preventing them from owning and riding an e-bike, 43% said it was the purchase price, 29% said it was concerns about motor vehicles and 25% said it was a lack of safe places to ride.

Asked if they would buy an e-bike if there were financial incentives that made them cheaper, 57% of respondents strongly agreed.

Making progress

E-bikes are rapidly gaining in popularity as more Australians become acquainted with their many benefits. 

Between 2017 and 2022, sales ballooned from 9000 to more than 100,000 each year to make e-bikes the most popular electric vehicle in the country. 

But we believe e-bikes have much more to offer and are set to play a major role in a more sustainable future for Australia’s transport system.

Here’s how Bicycle Network is working to make sure they fulfil their potential:

  • By lobbying government at all levels to implement policies that address the purchase price of e-bikes and lower the barrier to entry. This is being achieved through rebates, subsidy programs or loan schemes such as e-bike libraries. 
  • By collecting e-bike specific data in our transport surveys.
  • By advocating for e-bikes to be included in Australia’s National Electric Vehicle Strategy to fast-track the nation’s reduction of carbon emissions. 
  • By advocating for and creating opportunities for every Australian to try an e-bike.
  • By championing e-bikes as viable alternatives to cars.
  • By promoting the benefits of e-bikes in the community through our events, activations, social media channels and newsletter.

E-bike rebates in action

Australia’s Active E-bike rebate programs

In November 2023, the State of Tasmania introduced Australia’s first e-bike rebate program and it proved very popular. 

E-bike stores reported large upticks in interest and sales, proving there is a healthy appetite for e-bikes in Tasmania and folks will join the movement with a little encouragement. 

Read more here.

In early 2024, two electric cargo bike enthusiasts in the south-western suburbs of Adelaide produced a powerful example of this grass-roots activism, and in the process helped establish the first e-bike rebate program on mainland Australia.

Residents of the City of Holdfast Bay, which includes the suburbs of Brighton, Glenelg, Hove and Seacliff, can now claim rebates of $200 on e-bikes and regular cargo bikes. Rebates of $300 are on offer for electric cargo bikes.

Read more here.

The City of Adelaide voted unanimously to adopt a motion put forward in early 2024 for financial incentives for e-bikes.

Residents can apply now for rebates of up to 20% of the cost of a commuter (capped at $500), an e-bike conversion kit (capped at $1000), a cargo bike (capped at $1000) and e-bike parking racks (capped at $200). 

Read more here.

Latest news on e-bikes

Climate Council’s plan to halve transport pollution

Transport is Australia’s fastest growing source of emissions, but a new Climate Council report has laid out a clear plan to stem the tide and...

E-bike replaces car for family

Realising it took the same amount of time to ride to work than to drive was the catalyst Katya Crema needed to ditch the car...

Three great reasons to give an e-bike a go

They’re fun, they’re convenient and they’re taking the world by storm. Motivated by all kinds of factors, Australia, thousands of people are now choosing e-bikes...

Local advocates bring e-bike rebates to life in Adelaide

Sometimes making political change can take years of lobbying and campaigning. Or sometimes it’s just a matter of asking the right questions of the right...

Come to our E-bike Expo

As part of its efforts to promote healthy living and active transport in the community, Bicycle Network will be running an E-bike Expo at the...

London triples its public e-bike fleet as popularity surges

Transport for London making e-bikes one of the easiest ways to get around town through a large expansion of its public e-bike share scheme, from...

$100k in e-bike rebates still up for grabs

More than 100 people in Tasmania have received rebates for new e-bikes under a government program, with more than $100,000 still up for grabs.

Australia’s first e-bike rebates go live in Tasmania

Tasmanian e-bike buyers will get a helping hand from government after 17 November through a $200,000 e-bike and e-scooter rebate scheme that will cover up...

E-bike incentives key to cutting car use

The use of incentives for e-bike purchase is becoming more widespread as authorities move to speed up the transition to low/no emission transport.

Velodrome goes electric for the Bicycle Network E-bike Expo

Thousands of people from around Victoria descended on the Brunswick Velodrome on Sunday 7 April, where Bicycle Network’s first E-bike Expo offered test rides of...

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