CalBike’s $10M E-Bike Affordability Campaign

E-bikes are the greenest electric vehicle. They deserve the same state support as electric cars.

E-bikes: The true green machines

E-bikes combine the bicycle’s efficiency (the “beautiful machine”) with the ease and power of an electric motor. You can buy an e-bike for a fraction of the cost of an electric car, and e-bikes cost just pennies to operate. Studies have shown that e-bike trips replace car trips. 

About AB 117, the E-Bike Affordability Bill

California has spent about $1 billion to help make electric cars more affordable, but not a dime to do the same for electric bikes. It’s time for our state to step up and provide purchase incentives for this greenest of green transportation. That’s why CalBike is sponsoring AB 117, the E-Bike Affordability Bill, and is advocating to fund that program with a $10 million allocation.

The goal is to help 10,000 Californians get meaningful assistance to buy a reliable, green e-bike. If we win, Californians will enjoy more bike trips and endure fewer car trips, helping the state reach its greenhouse gas emission goals. Thousands more will be healthier and happier because of better air quality and less congested streets. Increasing biking is also critical for our economic recovery, as money saved at the gas pump gets recycled into the local economy and creates six times more jobs. 

The Governor’s proposed 2021-22 budget includes $465 million to the California Air Resources Board to “improve access to new and used zero-emission vehicles.” The ARB is supposed to prioritize cost-effective projects that have additional co-benefits (like public health and local economies) and which especially benefit low-income residents of disadvantaged communities.

There is no better way to “improve access to …zero-emission vehicles” than to create an E-Bike Affordability Program.

Sign now, and tell all your friends, to demand the $10M E-Bike Affordability Program. 

Dear California Assembly Members, Senators, and Governor Newsom: 

California provides rebates of up to $7,000 for people who buy electric cars, but there is no statewide program to help residents purchase the cleanest EV of all: an e-bike.

I support a $10 million allocation to provide grants to help people buy e-bikes. I want a program that prioritizes low-income Californians and supports local bike shops. Please vote yes on AB 117, and please fund the program in the 2021-22 budget.

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What will the E-Bike Affordability Program do? 

AB 117 creates and defines the Electric Bicycle Incentive Program. It does not include any funding nor guarantee that the program will commence on any specific date. That will require separate advocacy as part of the budget process. CalBike is seeking $10 million in this year’s budget, in hopes that the program can start issuing grants by mid-2022.

AB 117 does establish specific goals for the program. CalBike is working with stakeholders to ensure those goals advance our mission of helping communities be more equitable, prosperous, and inclusive, where people experience the health and joy of bicycling.

Goals of the E-Bike Affordability Program

  • Help people replace car trips with e-bike trips.
  • Prioritize grants to individuals from low-income households.
  • Define eligibility for the program as individuals and households with incomes below the maximum limits established in the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project.
  • Support related programs and benefits, such as safety education.
  • Provide support for a variety of electric bicycles, including, but not limited to, bicycles designed for people with disabilities; utility bikes for carrying equipment or passengers, including children; and folding e-bikes.
  • Support local small businesses and organizations, such as retail bicycle shops and nonprofit organizations, including community bicycle shops.
  • Collaborate with other state departments and agencies to enforce safeguards against fraudulent activity by sellers and purchasers of e-bikes in accordance with the law.
  • [to be added] Ensure that e-bikes purchased through this program meet a high standard of quality and durability.

E-Bike Stories

Riders share some of the ways that e-bikes have changed their lives.

Biking to work or school is a win-win-win. It’s great for the environment, reduces traffic, and makes for healthier, happier people.” — Assembly Member Tasha Boerner Horvath, AB 117 author, on how she and her family use bikes to travel around their district.

How can I join the e-bike campaign?

First, declare your support, and keep in touch. Start by signing the petition, which CalBike will present to Governor Newsom later this year. We will send e-bike updates to everyone who signs. You’ll find out about opportunities to support the campaign, including the perfect time to contact your legislator directly.  

Then, share your e-bike story. Has an electric bicycle changed your life? Perhaps you have a disability that makes it difficult to walk, but riding a bike, especially an e-bike, provides unfettered mobility. Perhaps you discovered that you could take your children to school on an e-bike, allowing your family to get by with one car instead of two, saving money to pay rent in a bigger home. We are collecting stories to help legislators understand how practical and useful e-bikes are to their constituents. We want to hear your story.


What’s the status of the $10M E-Bike Affordability Program?

E-Bike Affordability Bill (AB 117) has been introduced in the Assembly and referred to the Natural Resources and Transportation committees. 

The Governor has released his initial proposed budget for 2021-22. The Legislature will debate that budget in the coming months, then release an updated version called the “May Revise.” Our goal is to get funding for the
E-Bike Affordability Program included in the May Revise.