E-bike leasing or financing – the favorable alternative?

Computer research

The average prices for e-bikes have risen significantly in recent years. This is hardly surprising, since today's models offer much more powerful motors, longer ranges and generally better equipment. Except, of course, not every prospective buyer wants to spend more than 2.000 or 3.000 Euro for a good e-bike. If you are also of this opinion, we will show you in this article how you can realize your dream e-bike without a large one-time investment, for example, with the help of financing options or leasing offers for e-bikes as a private person or through your employer.

E-bike leasing or financing – general information

Both leasing and financing of an e-bike allow you to pay off your bike with monthly installments. For employees and the self-employed, there is the option of purchasing an e-bike as a so-called "JobRad" from various leasing platforms and thus benefiting from tax advantages. As a private person, there are so-called e-bike subscriptions that allow you to rent e-bikes for a minimum of three and a maximum of 18 months. In addition, you can buy your e-bike yourself as a private person with the help of financing via loans or installments, so that you do not have to pay the entire purchase price at once.

Regardless of whether you have leased, rented or financed your e-bike, you can deduct it from your taxes, as long as you use it as a self-employed person or employee to get to work. How exactly you can deduct your e-bike from taxes, especially as a self-employed person, which conditions apply and what to consider, you can read in detail here. Basically, your e-bike must be used for business purposes in order for you to be able to claim it against tax.

In addition, there are federal and regional subsidy programs for the private and commercial use of e-bikes, which we have discussed separately here. Which option with its advantages and disadvantages is worthwhile for whom, we illuminate in detail in this article.

E-bike leasing as a self-employed person, employee, and employer

Advantages at a glance Disadvantages at a glance
Savings of up to 40% over original price due to tax advantage E-bike belongs to your employer first
Insurance included in leasing contract Long contract period
Problem-free takeover of the e-bike at the end of the contract Lower pension contributions

Since 2020, e-bikes benefit from the 0.25% rule, which is also known as the company car privilege. This regulation states that when an employee leases an e-bike, part of the gross salary is converted into a benefit in kind and therefore the taxable salary is reduced. More about this later in an example calculation. It is also important to know that you can use your leased e-bike not only for business purposes, but also for your leisure time.

If you are an employer yourself, you will find enough information and instructions on the websites of various leasing providers to start a cooperation yourself. For example, this brochure of the provider Business Bike, which succinctly summarizes the advantages for you and your employees. Basically, there are no additional costs for you as an employer due to the cooperation, since the monthly leasing rates are transferred to your employees. You can subsidize the "Job-Ebike" financially and you can deduct this amount from your taxes. The whole thing is not only sustainable and good for the environment, but your employees get an extra "goodie" that they will surely be happy about.

As a self-employed person, you can also benefit from e-bike leasing, as you can claim the leasing payments made in full as a business expense against tax. In addition to the "commuter allowance" of 30ct/km to the place of work, you can also claim the maintenance costs against tax.

As an employee, the most common option is to ask your employer if they have a partnership with an e-bike leasing provider. If not, you can advise your employer or your personnel department to conclude such a contract, if this is desired and possible. For the exact decision of the supreme tax authority, which describes this leasing relationship between employer and employee, click here.

In the following, we will show you how to lease an e-bike as an employee through your employer, as this process is more comparable to e-bike subscription and financing options for private individuals.

How do I lease an e-bike through my employer??

It may well be that your employer has already entered into a cooperation with an e-bike leasing provider – just ask! If it is possible to get an e-bike from your employer at a reduced price, the procedure is quite simple. The most important steps can be found here as an example for the most popular leasing provider JobRad. For the other leasing providers you can expect a similar process.

In summary, you must first create an online account with a leasing provider, and then select your dream e-bike at an authorized dealer of the respective leasing provider, gladly via our website. Then you can have the dealer upload the order form to the leasing portal. After that you have to wait for your employer to approve your request, and finally you can sign the contract and pick up your e-bike. Your employer gives you the e-bike and this should be recorded in writing in a transfer contract. The usual contract period is 36 months.

Unlike the insurance of privately purchased e-bikes, the insurance of your "job bike" is usually integrated directly into the leasing contract. Your leasing partner usually offers various insurance packages. Retrofitted individual parts, such as z.B. an extra luggage rack can be included in the leasing contract. In order to fulfill the insurance conditions of the leasing contract, you need a good lock, which is why it is advisable to include this in the leasing contract.

A disadvantage of leasing is that the e-bike legally belongs to your employee. So, if you lose your job, your e-bike may fall by the wayside. You can counteract this by anchoring the possibility in the contract that you can "buy out" your e-bike in special cases.

Savings through tax benefits

Over the three-year term of the leasing contract, you can save up to 40% compared to the original price of your ebike. The exact saving depends on your gross salary, tax class and the respective e-bike. There are several calculators that you can use to calculate your example. We present you in the following our example calculation.

We have assumed that you have bought a bicycle with an original price of 3.500 Euro you have chosen. With a leasing period of three years, this would mean a monthly leasing rate of 97.22 euros. In this example calculation your gross salary is 4.000 Euro, you are in tax class I and your employer gives a monthly allowance of 30 Euro, which can be deducted from his taxes. The calculation base for the imputed income is half of the original price (1.750 euros), which is rounded down to the nearest hundred (1.700 Euro). Thus the 0,25% regulation of your company bike results in an imputed income of 4,25 Euro.

The employer has to pay a certain part of the leasing amount, otherwise you would be considered an employee leasing the bike. This share can be in the form of insurance or repairs or as here a monthly allowance. The employer who leases the e-bike passes on the leasing costs to you in the form of a cash wage conversion. This will reduce your tax base and you will have to pay less taxes. The lower tax base will also reduce your pension payments – you should bear this in mind!

Without e-bike With e-bike
Gross salary 4.000 € 4.000 €
Cash wage conversion 0 -97,22 €
Employer subsidy 0 +30,00 €
Monetary benefit 0 +4,25 €
Taxable amount 4.000 € 3937,03 €
Wage tax -665,33 € -647,58 €
Solidarity surcharge -33,27 € -32,28 €
Health insurance -322,00 € -316,93 €
Pension insurance -372,00 € -366,14 €
Care insurance -71,00 € -69,88 €
Unemployment insurance -48,00 € -47,24 €
Net amount 2488,40 € 2456,88 €
Less imputed income 0 -4,25 €
Amount paid out 2488,40 € 2452,63 €
Net charge 35,77 €

What happens at the end of the leasing period?

Over the three-year term of your leasing contract, you would therefore have a net burden of just under 1.300 €. At the end of your leasing contract, you can either sign a new e-bike leasing contract and choose a modern one. Alternatively, you can buy the e-bike from your dealer, which we assume in order to be able to compare it better with the other possibilities.

Most well-known leasing providers offer a buy-back value of 15-20% of the original price. But be careful: You should not anchor a buyback in the contract in advance, because otherwise you would be considered as a lessee and your employer would have to pay social and wage tax. It is better to signal your interest in purchasing shortly before the end of your leasing contract.

The 15-20% of the new price sounds good at first, but your e-bike is usually worth more at this point and the price advantage is considered third party wages, which you must necessarily pay tax on. Since the end of 2017, an e-bike is worth 40% of the new price at the end of the contract.

Let's assume that you agree with the dealer on 20% of the original price, which would mean 700 euros for our example bike. Thus you would have to pay tax on 700 euros as a non-cash benefit, which is taxed at a flat rate of 25% wage tax plus solidarity surcharge. Thus we come for our example to a tax payment of 210 euros. Both together you would come at a takeover amount of 910 euros. Together with your leasing expenses we come to approx. 2.200 euros. A saving of approx. 37 % compared to the original price – and the e-bike is yours!

E-bike subscription

Advantages at a glance Disadvantages at a glance
Test ride your e-bike without any problems No financial savings
Short contract terms possible Limited choice of e-bikes
E-bike bad purchases can be virtually excluded

An e-bike subscription is a different kind of rental model, where you can rent a new e-bike or S-pedelec as a private person for 3,6,12 or 18 months. The following information refers to the market leader E-Bike Abo – with other providers you can expect similar conditions.

The monthly leasing rates are based on the original price of the e-bike. In order to get our example bike worth 3.500 Euro to stay, you would probably pay a monthly leasing rate of approx. have to pay 97 euros. In addition, there is often a one-time service fee for 70-100 euros, because in most cases the e-bike is delivered directly to your front door. You can also pick up the e-bike on site, but so far this is only possible in major German cities. You can find out about delivery and collection in your region from the respective rental company.

However, it must be remembered that you are dependent on the e-bike offer of the respective rental company. Of course, the offer is constantly expanding, but you do not have a free hand as with leasing or financing when it comes to choosing the model of your bike. If you find an e-bike that you are interested in, a rented e-bike via an e-bike subscription can be an interesting alternative for you. If you want to test ride the E-Bike for a longer period of time, there is no better way to avoid a bad purchase. Even if you need an e-bike only for certain periods of the year, an e-bike subscription can be a good idea.

Insurance and repairs

Your e-bike is insured by the rental company and a lock is included in the delivery, so that you can secure your e-bike against theft. You can find out the exact scope of the insurance from the respective provider. Since you receive the e-bike as new, no repairs should be expected for the time being.

The providers offer technical support and if you need to visit a workshop, the rental company will cover the costs if this is necessary despite proper use. If the repair is your fault, you have to bear the costs. If you have rented an S-Pedelec you are obliged to take it back every 3 months.000 kilometers in maintenance.

Subscribe to an e-bike and cancel

To subscribe to an e-bike you must have a permanent residence in Germany. You can conclude the leasing contract online and the lessor portal must agree to this leasing contract. The rented e-bike cannot be used for commercial purposes. If you do not contact your rental company, the rental contract is automatically extended by one month.

To cancel your e-bike rental contract, you have to cancel the contract at least one month before the end of your arrangement. If you got along very well with your leased e-bike, you can take it over with most providers after the end of your lease contract. Again, you must indicate this intention at least one month before the end of your contract. It should be noted that your already paid monthly installments are not credited to 100%. Therefore, the e-bike subscription offers no positive financial effect if you are thinking about buying an e-bike.

E-bike loans and installment plans

Advantages at a glance Disadvantages at a glance
You own your own e-bike No savings compared to original price
No big one-time investment Possibly. additional financial expenditure
No flat-rate insurance packages

With many banks you find offers, which are custom-made for the acquisition of a E-Bikes. Comparison portals are a good first port of call to find cheap loans to help you buy an e-bike. Depending on the monthly installment, different repayment periods are possible. Unlike car financing, a loan for an e-bike is not earmarked – so you can use any loan that is for free use.

An important criterion for the selection of a loan is the interest rate. A second person with a regular income makes it more likely that the loan will be approved and, in the case of creditworthiness-dependent interest rates, the interest rate is also reduced. If you have a loan in the amount of 3.500 euros would like to borrow to get the sample bike worth 3.500 euros to buy, you can currently count on an annual interest rate of about 4 to 6%.

Therefore, it is advisable to pay off the loan as soon as possible. With a repayment period of 12 months and an interest rate of 5%, you would have to pay a monthly installment of 299.63 euros. Calculated over the entire term, this means an additional financial burden of 95.51 euros.

Besides the interest rate, there are other important criteria: If you have an irregular income, it makes sense to inquire about loans with an installment break. If you want to pay off the loan early, some banks offer free unscheduled repayments.

Can I finance an e-bike by installments??

Instead of a loan that you pay off in monthly installments, you can also purchase your e-bike directly from the dealer with individual installment plans. Most online retailers offer individual installment plans in cooperation with a credit institution, which you can customize according to your needs. The effective interest rates are around 6%. You can choose the periods individually, but also here it comes through the interest rates for you in total to a financial extra burden.

There are also 0% financings of some on-line dealers, these have then however a fixed running time. The fixed terms are usually very long, so at least 24 months. In addition, only e-bikes selected by the dealer have this option, so your desired e-bike may not be among them.

How can I order my e-bike in installments?? That goes with most on-line dealers completely simply. At checkout you simply select the option "financing" or "installment payment" and can then define your personal conditions. All in all, financing through installment plans is a good way to get immediate use of your e-bike for a small fee.

Conclusion: For whom is worthwhile?

We have shown you different ways how you can get your e-bike as a private person with leasing and financing options. Which option makes sense for whom depends on a few factors, z.B. how sure you are about the e-bike model, whether you have a permanent job and your general financial situation.

To save up to 40% compared to the original price, we can recommend you e-bike leasing, because it is very trendy. If you are self-employed, you can deduct your "job e-bike" from your taxes, and if you are a private person with a permanent employment relationship, you should ask your employer whether he has entered into a cooperation for e-bike leasing. The steps to the job bike are a bit more complicated than with the e-bike subscription, but also no rocket science. The insurance is included in the leasing contract and the contract period of 36 months is quite long, you should keep that in mind. After expiration of the contract you can either choose a new e-bike with a new leasing contract or take over your e-bike at a discount.

If you are not yet sure which e-bike it should be exactly or you want the e-bike only for a certain period of time, a rather shorter commitment, which goes beyond a test ride, is certainly sensible. For this, an e-bike subscription is a great option. Insurance is included in the lease and generally the process is quite comfortable for you with flexible terms. However, this way of renting an e-bike is no way to save money, because you have to pay a service fee on top of the normal leasing rates, which are based on the original price. Should you want to buy the e-bike after your rent, the installments made are not fully credited.

If you are already clear about which e-bike it should be and you can not benefit from e-bike leasing and do not want to make the entire amount at once, there are various financing options. You can either take out a private loan or obtain your e-bike directly from the dealer by paying in installments. The interest rates are around 5% for medium terms, which means a certain additional financial burden for you. In return, you can ride your e-bike as quickly as possible through financing without a lot of paperwork.

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