DENVER — E-bikes continue to sell like hotcakes and now, more rebate programs are coming to communities throughout the state after the Colorado Energy Office allocated $2.5 million for local and tribal governments to set up their own e-bike rebate programs for low-income residents.
An estimated 40 million e-bikes will be sold globally this year, according to ebicycles.com, bringing the total in circulation to 300 million. But they are expensive, costing $2,000 on average, which is why rebate programs have become incredibly popular. The city of Denver’s program consistently sees rebates entirely claimed within minutes of being released.
The state is hoping that by bringing these programs to more places, it will be able to increase accessibility for lower income residents.
“E-bikes are super fun. Everyone seems to really get on board with them,” said Sarah Thorne, a senior program manager with the Colorado Energy Office. “They are really a transformative transportation option for many people, and I think governments and other organizations out there are starting to realize just how much that transformation can be.”
Thorne said smaller communities have seen the popularity of Denver’s rebate program, and have been hoping to find ways to make them work within their budgets. She said smaller communities often have less to spend on their own, but also have a lower cost of entry for creating helpful programs.
“Funding is always going to be an issue for something like this. It’s super popular. There’s never enough funding,” Thorne said. “And so, I think a lot of local governments have been searching for ways that can amplify the little bit of funding they might have, and this is just a good way for us to help them with that.”
Colorado to offer new e-bike rebates this summer. Here's how to qualify and save
The allocated funding comes from a larger pool of money designated by the Colorado State Legislature last year to fund programs that reduce air pollution. Local and tribal governments will be expected to set aside some funding of their own, which will then be supplemented with funds from the state, if approved. The local and tribal governments will decide what the roll out of their rebate programs will look like.
Representatives from both Longmont and Fort Collins confirmed to Denver7 they are considering applications for funding. Rachel Ruhlen, a transportation planner with the city of Fort Collins, said the city has already participated in other e-bike grants through the state which have helped low-income residents both buy e-bikes of their own as well as obtain passes to use a bike-share program.
“We really wanted to take into account that idea that people have different needs, and different ways of doing things,” Ruhlen said.
Ruhlen said she and others with the city are right now discussing whether or not to apply for this latest offer from the state, and what implementation in Fort Collins will look like if they do. Either way, she said she sees e-bikes as key tools in fighting climate change. These rebates, she said, help get them in the hands of those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them, and often recipients in turn help others join the trend.
“Not only are they help us to meet our climate change goals, but they are now becoming experts in e-bikes. We expect their friends and family are going to be turning to them,” Ruhlen said. “They’re now going to be educating and teaching others about e-bikes.”
Local and tribal governments have until the end of November to apply for the state’s grant program, with funding being made available as soon as early 2024, the Colorado Energy Office said. Meanwhile, individual rebates from the state are being offered ranging from $500 to $1,750. Applications for the current round of rebates are open until 4:00 PM on Monday, Oct. 16.
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