As more people turn to bikes for transportation, e-bikes have gained in popularity. They give riders greater range and carrying capacity. For many, an e-bike is a workable alternative to car ownership. But e-bikes aren’t cheap. CalBike is making financial help to buy an e-bike a top priority in 2021.
Here are four ways we believe Californians should be able to get financial help to buy an e-bike.
Live in a county that gives residents financial help to buy an e-bike
A few California counties have e-bike rebate or purchase incentive programs. Unfortunately, most don’t and many of the rebates are too small to make e-bikes truly affordable. Here are the county programs we know about. Let us know if we missed one.
- Sonoma County: The utility agency, Sonoma Clean Power, provides discounts of up to $1,000 for qualified customers.
- Contra Costa County: $150 – $300 rebates on e-bike purchases, allocated to different cities in Contra Costa County.
- San Diego County: Pedal Ahead is a loan-to-own program with up to 400 e-bikes available to residents of Supervisorial District 4. It appears that all the bikes in this program may have been spoken for already.
- San Diego: This program is not technically a county rebate. It’s a purchase incentive through BikeSD and Electric Bike Central that gives e-bike purchasers rebates when they buy an e-bike and ride a certain number of miles.
- Humboldt County: The funds allocated to Redwood Coast Energy’s e-bike rebate program have all been reserved. But check their website in case this e-bike rebate is renewed.
Trade in a polluting car for an e-bike rebate under SB 400
In 2019, CalBike sponsored SB 400, which added e-bike rebates to an existing state program. The program gives low-income residents vouchers in exchange for trading in a polluting vehicle. SB 400 expanded the program to include bike-share memberships and e-bike rebates.
The program is implemented by California’s regional air quality management districts. Low-income residents get a credit of up to $7,500 to put toward clean mobility options, including purchasing an e-bike, when they turn in a polluting car. Program participants can use the funds to buy multiple e-bikes for their family or split the funds between clean mobility transit modes.
Unfortunately, the pandemic delayed implementation in 2020. As of this writing, only one district, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, has implemented the program, as required by SB 400. CalBike has heard that one additional AQMD has plans to make the e-bike vouchers available in the near future. That will make two out of California’s 35 air control districts. Call your local air quality management district and ask them to implement this essential program right away.
Get financial help to buy an e-bike from the federal government – oh, wait
If you bought an electric car in 2020, you qualified for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. Unfortunately, the feds don’t have a comparable program or any program to help Americans buy electric bikes.
We are hopeful that the new Congress will provide financial support for Americans seeking to buy e-bikes. CalBike, with our national allies, will push for federal e-bike rebates, so more people can afford this very green transportation option. At a minimum, Congress should reinstitute the monthly pre-tax subsidy that employers can provide to their (electric or regular) bike commuting employees. Join our list to get the latest news on federal financial help to buy an e-bike.
Join CalBike’s campaign to create a $10 million e-bike purchase incentive program in California
Assembly Member Tasha Boerner Horvath has introduced AB 117, a bill that will create a $10 million fund for e-bike purchase incentives.
Please join CalBike in supporting this vital legislation.