CALIFORNIA – Battery-powered electric bikes have many advantages over their human-powered counterparts. They’re fun, they’re quick, and can get people where they want to go without breaking a sweat or spitting up shows.
But for all their advantages, they also cost more than traditional pedal bikes. California therefore plans to offer financial incentives, similar to the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, available for large electric vehicles.
“All options are on the table,” said Aria Berliner, head of the California Air Resources Board’s new e-bike incentive project.
In July, the state budget allocated $ 10 million to the ARB to establish the e-bike rebate program by July 1, 2022. While the ARB plans to implement it by July 1, 2022. late next year, he’s just starting to figure out the details.
On Monday, the ARB convened its first public working group to solicit comments on some of its ideas, such as making the incentive available only at physical bike dealerships in California, setting income caps for eligibility for the incentives and impose a bicycle safety course. for people who receive money under the program.
Under the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, amounts range from $ 750 for battery-powered motorcycles and scooters to $ 2,000 for battery-electric cars and $ 4,500 for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. . The ARB has yet to determine the dollar amount per vehicle for the e-bike rebate, or what types of e-bikes would qualify.
Electric bikes are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices. While most are used for recreation, cargo models are an increasingly popular option for deliveries. There are also different classes of electric bikes depending on the type of electric assistance they provide, as well as their top speed, which ranges from 20 to 28 miles per hour. With hundreds of models available, prices range from around $ 500 to $ 8,000.
“It’s a balance between supporting local businesses in California and making sure low-income people get the help they need to buy a bike,” Phillip Kobernick said of the possible requirement that Discounts are only available at local bike shops. Kobernick designed the e-bike rebate program for Peninsula Clean Energy in San Mateo and was one of dozens from across the state to offer their advice on how to structure the incentive.
Cyclists, bike advocates, government agencies, government administrators, environmental justice groups, e-bike makers, bike retailers and community activists from San Diego to Santa Cruz to Sacramento also weighed in.
“It’s great to offer educational programming, but when I compare this incentive program for people who buy EVs, if I buy an EV, I don’t have to take a safety course. It sounds like a double standard, ”said Colin Bogart, active transportation program coordinator for Pasadena’s healthy city initiative, Day One.
Bogart was one of many commentators on the public task force who supported the idea of bicycle safety education, but was not convinced that it should be mandatory. The state budget allows up to 10% of the 10 million dollars allocated to the program to be devoted to security education.
Berliner acknowledged that the structure of the education component remains open, just like the other components of the E-Bike Incentive project. The ARB plans to organize a second online working group to solicit additional public comments on September 27.
In 2020, Americans were buying an electric bicycle every 52 seconds, industry analysts said. This trend is expected to continue as individuals seek out clean, green, and fun ways to get around, and California and other government entities seek to push for their use to increase mobility while combating climate change and reducing climate change. traffic and local air pollution.
In addition to the upcoming California rebate, the federal government may also begin to encourage the purchase of electric bikes. Earlier this year, two members of Congress from California and Oregon introduced the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act to offer a 30% tax credit to consumers who buy an electric bicycle.
The E-BIKE law is making its way through Congress, but if passed, consumers could get a tax credit worth up to $ 1,500 on a new electric bike costing less than $ 8,000. The tax credit would be available to an individual once every three years, or twice for a couple who jointly file their income and buy two electric bikes.