First, a disclaimer-I have an electric bike and two “standard” bikes. My electric bike is a prototype developed in Toronto that has worked faithfully when needed. It goes fast. It climbs hills. And it extends the range and topography of what I can cycle. It’s a great bike.

 In a moment of genius, The City of Oslo is offering 25 per cent of the cost up to  $1,200 for citizens to purchase an electric cargo bike. These bikes currently cost in the $1,800 to $4,800 range and can carry heavier cargo on trips, like groceries and/or kids.

The City of Oslo has suffered from diminished air quality and has temporarily banned diesel fuelled vehicles. Norway as reported in City Lab  has “invested a phenomenal $1 billion in new bike infrastructure, so the paths that Oslo’s future cargo bikes use should ultimately be of high quality. But there are still some hurdles. Oslo, for example, is considerably hillier than, say, Amsterdam or Copenhagen, and it can experience some harsh weather conditions.”

Hmm…sounds like Vancouver.

“For that reason electric cargo bikes are a potentially greater part of the solution here. Not only do they give riders a push up hills, they also make bikes a feasible option for new purposes like weekly grocery shopping. They can even be used for the school commute: In Copenhagen, it’s already common to see parents pedaling several small children to school in a cart attached to their bike”.

The intent of the program is to provide 500 to 1,000 new electric cargo bikes, and to take more vehicles off the road,  popularizing ” a currently underexposed form of transit, which more people may adopt if they see it in action and register its advantages.” 

Would a similar program in Metro Vancouver encourage more cyclists and move more cars off the road?



  1. A rebate for e-bikes of any kind should be in place, especially since BC provides a rebate for e-cars. Add a $billion for improved cycling infrastructure across BC and we would be well on our way to gaining more of the benefits that cycling affords to society. Curiously, BC has a PST rebate for purchase of a bike but not for the purchase of an e-bike. Federal gov’t has a rebate for
    With respect to grocery shopping, this is quite easy to do on an ordinary bike. All you need is a rack and panniers. For bigger loads, I strap a cardboard box onto the rack. One can easily carry up to 15kg or more on a regular bike.

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