E-bike Subsidies Rise in Popularity

  • Author: Laurel Schwartz
  • Date: August 10, 2023

The shift toward greener, healthier, and more economical means of transportation has led to a surge in the popularity of electric bikes, or e-bikes, across the United States.

Governments at various levels are incentivizing this shift by offering a range of rebates to offset the cost of e-bikes. States, counties, municipalities, and utilities have been offering financial incentives to consumers, with a goal of limiting the number of cars on the road. Often, these rebates are limited to qualifying purchases and are only available to individuals and families in certain income brackets. The Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University maintains a policy scan that summarizes E-Bike incentive programs across North America.


Demand outpacing supply in states

In the US, there are programs in at least 15 states and the District of Columbia for e-bike rebates. At the state level, California, Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Washington have led the way, offering point-of-sale rebates of $1000+ for consumers who qualify based on income and residency.

In June, Connecticut used its 2022 Clean Air Act to fund a $500 voucher for all state residents age 18+, and a $1500 voucher for residents who qualified based on their income relative to the federal poverty level or lived in an “Environmental Justice” community or a “Distressed Municipality.” The program, which is budgeted at $1.5 million for three years, had to close its first round of applications after 10 days due to high demand. They received 1,343 applications for their standard $500 program and 5,051 for the $1,500 program only available to qualifying residents.

As a result of this tremendous response, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) increased their first year of funding from $500,000 to $750,000. Nevertheless, only the first 500 applicants to the $1,500 program will receive funding, and no $500 applications will be accepted this year.


Counties and municipalities

In Denver, all residents can receive up to $1,400 in rebates for e-bikes, based on their income and disability status, and whether they are purchasing an e-bike or an e-cargo bike. To date, over 6000 rebates have been redeemed from the city and new vouchers become available about every two months.

Following Denver’s success, in August, Boulder, CO will begin offering e-bike and e-cargo bike vouchers up to $1,400, also depending on income level. This program, funded by the city’s Climate Tax and supported by a partnership with local non-profit bike shop Community Cycles, will award 200 vouchers, selected in random lotteries.

Both Denver and Boulder’s programs are managed by APTIM, a Baton Rouge-based consultancy that manages grants.


Public utilities

Cape Light Compact, a public utility for Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, MA, partners with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to offer e-bike incentive programs. The program is available to year-round residents in these largely vacation communities who meet income requirements. The program disbursed about 200 vouchers in its first round of applications and expects to be able to issue additional vouchers later this month.

Power districts in Colorado, Iowa, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and California are offering similar e-bike incentive and rebate programs.


Next steps

  • Take it local. For guidance on how to implement e-bike incentives in your community, check out PeopleforBikes Electronic Bicycle Toolkit.
  • Federal momentum. In March, the E-BIKE Act was reintroduced in Congress, after first being proposed in 2021. Inspired by the success of programs in Denver and other municipalities, this legislation would create a tax credit for 30% off the cost of a new e-bike, up to $1,500, for individuals making less than $150,000.


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Have more mobility news that we should be reading and sharing? Let us know! Reach out to Sage Kashner (kashner@ctaa.org).

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