CalBike’s $10M E-Bike Affordability Campaign

E-bikes are the greenest electric vehicle. Soon, Californians will be able to get purchase incentives to make them more affordable.

The status of the $10M E-Bike Incentive Program

Updated September 9, 2022.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has begun outline the e-bike incentives program. Here’s what we know so far:

  • The incentives program will launch in the first quarter of 2023 and will be open to people living anywhere in California.
  • Qualifying applicants can get a voucher of up to $750 for a regular e-bike and up to $1,500 for a cargo or adaptive e-bike. People whose income is under 225% FPL or who live in disadvantaged communities qualify for additional incentives.
  • To qualify for the incentive program, participants’ household income is capped at 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL). That’s $51,000 for a single person and $106,000 for a family of four.
  • The program will support the purchase of Class 1 (up to 20 mph, pedal assist only) and Class 2 (up to 20 mph, pedal assist and throttle) e-bikes. Class 3 (up to 28 mph, pedal assist only) will be excluded.
  • Participants must purchase a bike from a California bike shop or online from a company with a business location in California.

We estimate that the $10 million initial budget allocation will fund around 7,000 e-bike incentives, but demand is likely to be much higher (our interest list already has more than 7,000 names). CalBike will advocate to make this program annual and increase funding for the cleanest electric vehicle, the e-bike.

Why California needs an electric bicycle incentive program

We won phase one of our campaign. Now CalBike is working with the California Air Resources Board to roll out a program to help Californians buy e-bikes.

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 $100 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.  Now, California has provided funding to support e-bikes.

Video of the August 24, 2002 CARB Electric Bicycle Incentives Project Work Group Meeting

What will the E-Bike Affordability Program do? 

California’s E-Bike Affordability Program provides $10 million in subsidies to help people buy e-bikes. The program will begin in late 2022 — date TBD. CalBike will work with the vender CARB chooses to administer the program to help develop guidelines for the equitable distribution of the funds.

We expect this program to help 10,000 Californians buy clean, green e-bikes. We’ll spread the word about how to apply once the details are settled. Sign the form above to be the first to know about California e-bike subsidies.

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.
  • Ensure that e-bikes purchased through this program meet a high standard of quality and durability.

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.