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First person in UK to benefit from 'plug in' grant for electric motorcycles will be on the road from today

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First UK customer to benefit from ‘plug in’ grant for e-motorcycles

The first electric motorcycle to be bought with the new ‘plug in’ subsidy will be on the road from today (March 1st).

The dealer, 21st Moto in Swanley, Kent, confirmed that 48-year-old Fred Murphy from Redhill in Surrey is the first customer in the UK to benefit from the subsidy, introduced by the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to increase the uptake of electric vehicles.  Fred Murphy from Redhill, Surrey, collecting the UKs first electric bike t

Mr Murphy bought a Zero FXS, which has an average range of 60 miles, a top speed of 85mph and costs the equivalent of a penny a mile to power.  It can be charged using a household three pin plug, with faster charge options, which can reduce full charging time to 2 hours.

Up to now the ‘plug in’ subsidy has only been available for electric cars and vans, but it can now be applied to electric motorcycles and scooters, so long as they meet certain quality criteria.  This includes having a battery with 5 years’ warranty and a good range.

Rob Francis, Dealer Principal of 21st Moto, which has now sold a total of three zero motorcycles since the grant was introduced, says the system of claiming the subsidy is extremely easy for customers:

“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 Fred Murphy, who hasowned and ridden motorcycles for more than 25 years, has traded in a petrol bike for his electric one.  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.” 

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.”* 


  • Background: A plug-in grant for cars was introduced in January 2011. In 2015 it was announced this would be extended to motorcycles by the Coalition Government. The details were finalised in October 2016.  Manufacturer/importers with qualifying products apply direct to OLEV to be included.  If they qualify, the grant is applied at the point of sale and customers are just asked to fill out a questionnaire.
  • Eligibility criteria also includes a range of at least 30km for mopeds and 50km for motorcycles between charges and a top speed of at least 40 kilometres per hour. Machines must be registered with the DVLA, require a driving licence, be insured and the rider must wear a protective helmet. The full requirements can be found here
  • The number of motorcycles licensed for the road (and licence exempt) has increased from 720,000 in 1994 to 1,330,000 for the last quarter, which is the highest number since 2009. (See Department for Transport table VEH0301).
  • The model bought was a Zero FXS 6.5 version. It can be ridden on an A2 license. Full spec can be found here
  • Travelling to work on a motorcycle, scooter or moped is one of the least likely modes of transport to affect your well-being according to a one-off government travel survey by the Office for National Statistics.  It found that for journeys up to 30 minutes there was no ill effect on levels of anxiety, happiness and satisfaction for those who rode a motorcycle, scooter or moped.  In contrast, those who walk, cycle, drive a car or take the bus all experience an adverse increase in all or some of the factors measured after just 15 minutes.
  • The Motorcycle Industry Association, Highways England and the National Police Chiefs’ Council recently launched a joint whitepaper exploring the motorcycling opportunity. See 

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