CalBike’s $10M E-Bike Affordability Campaign

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

AB 117 and the E-Bike Affordability Program

E-bikes combine the bicycle’s efficiency (the “beautiful machine”) with the ease and power of an electric motor. They provide Californians the opportunity to travel much farther, faster, and over more difficult terrain than a regular bike. Studies show that e-bike trips do a great job of replacing car trips. And compared to cars, including electric cars, they are much more affordable to own and operate.

Unfortunately, getting an e-bike in the first place is expensive. Many Californians cannot afford $2,000 or more on an e-bike, so they are stuck paying $50 each time they fill their tank, and struggle with repair and maintenance costs that cause many families to sacrifice too much.

E-bikes should be the centerpiece of a strategy to replace gas-powered car trips to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while also advancing equity, promoting public health, reducing traffic, helping families save money and supporting local economies.  Unfortunately, California focuses its efforts on electric cars, and does nothing to support e-bikes.

Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath introduced Assembly Bill 117 to fix that. It authorizes an e-bike affordability program that will help thousands of Californians get access to good e-bikes that they could not otherwise afford. 

CalBike is working hard to pass that bill, and to secure a budget allocation of at least $10 million to implement it. Sign the petition at the right to keep updated on our campaign. We’ll share your support of this idea with the Governor and with the legislators who are crafting the state’s FY 21-22 budget.

Dear California Assemblymembers, 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 support 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’s the status of the $10M E-Bike Affordability Campaign?

E-Bike Affordability Bill (AB 117) has passed the Assembly and is being referred to the Senate committees on Transportation and Environmental Quality. 

Our budget request is being considered by the legislative leadership. While the bottom line of our state’s air pollution reduction budget has been established, how precisely to allocate that amount among various programs will be hashed out in a series of “budget trailer bills” between now and September. Furthermore, we expect that available funding will increase over the summer when the state receives revenues from the cap-and-trade auction.

CalBike is working to get the program authorized by AB 117 into these budget trailer bills. We are proposing a $10 million allocation this year, with continued funding in future years, to implement a program that meets the goals originally included in AB 117, and augmented according to the goals expressed below.

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.

How can I join the e-bike campaign?

First, declare your support, and keep in touch. Start by emailing your assemblymember using the form at the top of this page. It just takes a minute to send an email, and you can add your personal e-bike story to give your message more impact. 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.

e-bike

AB 117 Supporters

AB 117 supporter logos

Dave Snyder, Executive Director California Bicycle Coalition

Jonathan Matz, California Senior Policy Manager Safe Routes Partnership

Joey Juhasz-Lukomski, Executive Director BikeVentura

Michael Schneider, Founder Streets For All

David Diaz, MPH, Executive Director Active San Gabriel Valley

Eris Weaver, Executive Director Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition

Christy Zamani, Executive Director Day One

John Jones III, President/CBO East Side Riders Bike Club

Carolynn Johnson, West Coast Program Manager Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

Allis Druffel, IHM, Southern California Director California Interfaith Power & Light

Maryann Aguirre, Project Director People for Mobility Justice

Bryn Lindblad, Deputy Director Climate Resolve

Andy Hanshaw, Executive Director San Diego County Bicycle Coalition

Denny Zane, Executive Director Move LA

Shiloh Ballard, Executive Director Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition

Liza Lutzker, Coordinating Committee Walk Bike Berkeley

Eli Akira Kaufman, Executive Director Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

Paul Rabinov, Board member Walk Bike Glendale

Glenn Hammett, President Bike Bakersfield

Anne Wallach Thomas, Executive Director Shasta Living Streets

Dave “Poy” Poyourow, Board Member Bikerowave Co-op, Los Angeles

Brian Wiedenmeier, Executive Director San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

Gina Gallino Cole, Executive Director Bike Santa Cruz County

Heng Lam Foong, Director
Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement

Patrick Band
Napa County Bicycle Coalition

Peter Choi, Board Member Bicycle Kitchen/La Bici-Cocina

Damian Kevitt, Executive Director Streets Are For Everyone

Steve Dakin, Manager San Jose Bike Clinic

Rick Ellison, Executive Director Bike SLO County

Tarrell Kullaway, Executive Director Marin County Bicycle Coalition

Carter Rubin, Mobility and Climate Advocate Natural Resources Defence Council

Dave Campbell, Advocacy Director Bike East Bay

Ruben Aronin, Senior Vice President Better World Group

Marven Norman, Executive Director Inland Empire Biking Alliance

Colin Bogart, Steering Committee Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition

Kyle Heiskala, Board President BikeSD

Deb Banks, Executive Director

Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates

Elise Kalfayan, Steering Committee Member

Glendale Environmental Coalition

Julia Randolph, Policy and Outreach Associate

Coalition for Clean Air

Laura Cohen, Western Region Director

Rails to Trails Conservancy

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.

E-Bike Stories

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