Norway tends to be on the cutting edge of innovation when it comes to everything from sustainable architecture to prison design to building the world’s largest sauna.
Read more: How Norway plans to help get 62 million girls in school
The same goes for electric cargo bikes, apparently. The city of Oslo, which has a population of about 600,000, announced an initiative last week to allocate 5 million Kroner ($600,000) toward subsidizing electric cargo bikes for anybody who wants one.
The grant will cover 25% of any electric bike purchase with a cap of $1,200. The going price for an electric bike ranges from $2,400 to $6,000, according to CityLab.
So, while the city is not going as far as offering up the bikes for free, it helps make the high cost less prohibitive.
The city seems to be responding to a pre-existing market demand for E-bikes. One electric bike retailer told Bike Europe that it had doubled its sales between 2015 and 2016.
Last week’s initiative follows in the footsteps of a trial run last year, also in Oslo, that gave electric bike enthusiasts $600 toward their purchase of a “standard” electric bike, rather than a heavier duty “cargo” one. An electric cargo bike is better for commuting, or transporting materials, than a standard one since it has ample space for storing bags in a front basket and behind the seat.
Read more: More People Are Using Bikes Than Cars in Copenhagen, Study Shows
All in all, Norway has earmarked $1 billion toward improving the country’s bike infrastructure. And Oslo, in particular, is very serious about reducing its ecological footprint: it’s already banned cars from driving in the center of the city and is aiming for a fossil-fuel free public transit system by 2020.
The electric bike initiative is just one cog in Oslo’s ambitious plan to create a smarter, more ecologically-friendly city, but it’s an important one. We’re excited to see what they come up with next.