Last week we had a container seized by pirates.

Yes really!!! Our bikes were hijacked and we received a ransom demand in excess of £20,000.

This demand for an 106% import tariff came from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs who had intercepted our latest shipment at Felixtowe docks and transported it to an unknown location. Of course we have become accustomed to slipping HMRC a few quid for the privilege of bringing our bikes into the country but, it transpired, this was not the reason for the attempted extortion.

The problem was not that we were importing our bikes into the UK but that we were importing them into the European Union and the EU had seen fit to implement massive anti dumping tariffs on electric bikes  from the Peoples Republic of China. If we pay the ransom 80% of it will end up in EU coffers and although we have been importing bikes regularly for the last five years, nobody had seen fit to inform us of the change!!!

Now you may have noticed that the status of the UK in the EU is a matter of great topical debate and the rationale for the increase in tariffs is to protect European E Bike manufacturers from competition that is allegedly subsidised by the Chinese government. But, no matter how you feel about state subsidies, protectionism and free trade, if you know anything about the electric bike industry you will understand that the rationale for this import tax is fundamentally flawed.

E Bike manufacturing in Europe comprises a very few top end German and Swiss manufacturers who sell over engineered, mid-motor bikes at ludicrously high prices to the relatively few customers able to afford them. The kind of electric bikes made in Europe are not remotely in competition with those from the Chinese manufacturers who have developed the fundamentals of electric bike technology and who use superior brushless hub motors to provide reliable transportation at relatively low cost.

We have previously pointed out that E Rider has made a greater contribution to the environment than our own Government but, sadly, we are now faced with some existential questions. With the cost price of our products effectively doubled will customers still buy our bikes if we have to double our retail prices? Should we press on until the end of March, 2019 to see if we actually do leave the EU and these punitive tariffs are revoked?

Over the years, E Rider has been proud to contribute to the UK economy by paying hundreds of thousand of pounds in import duty, VAT, Corporation Tax etc. The millions of low cost journeys our customers have undertaken have contributed significantly to lowering our carbon emissions.

So should we just call it a day?

Please feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

12 thoughts on “EU Pirates

  1. Paul Wallis says:

    Was this a container filled with electric mopeds or pedal assisted bikes?

    The biggest issue in most cases comes down to the pedal assisted because they come under the bicycle bracket and the government are imposing waste taxes on the electric push bikes due to high waste and low recyclable materials.

  2. charles rylatt says:

    why not offer a 2 tier system, one of pre-built bikes as you currently offer with the full 2 year warranty and higher retail price taking into account the higher taxes, and a 2nd option of a bike in a box with a warranty on parts only ie 2yrs on frame/motors/battery/charger from date of dispatch/signed for receipt.
    Given that most owners would be self servicing and that the wiring loom should be just a plug and play affair it would not be too difficult for those with a basic tool kit and good instructions and a video to follow.

  3. Lee says:

    Why not do what cyclotricity do? They advertise as built in UK. They just import kits and bikes and assemble them here into electric bikes

  4. Eleni says:

    I thought electric was the way too go in all areas snd particularly transport so thats an indication of non joined up thinking. We all want our planet to survive do t we??

  5. Steven says:

    I love my e rider , and I hope you find away to overcome this problem
    If you had to charge a little more, then so be it
    Good luck with your fight with the HMCE

  6. Simon says:

    Import from Vietnam? As you’ll have seen at the EIMCA, electric motorcycles are are here to stay. To stay in business you’ll have to pass the cost on to the customer, EU or no EU. Best bet is to focus on quality at a reasonable price and build customer loyalty base. Good luck!

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