Image: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

Colorado’s E-Bike Rebate Program Is So Popular That It Had To Be Suspended

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Joke all you want about Colorado’s Rocky Mountain High attitude, but this western state has been a progressive leader in many areas in recent years, and its focus on improving air quality has enabled a new wave in low-carbon transportation, thanks to some generous e-bike incentives.

Last year, Colorado’s General Assembly passed SB22-193, titled “Air Quality Improvement Investments,” which included setting up a “community access to electric bicycles” fund with $12 million.

In Part 5 of the bill, it states:

(a) TRANSPORTATION IS THE LARGEST SINGLE SOURCE OF GREENHOUSE GAS POLLUTION IN THE STATE AND IS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTING SOURCE OF OTHER FORMS OF POLLUTION, INCLUDING OZONE PRECURSORS, HAZARDOUS AIR POLLUTANTS, NITROGEN OXIDES, AND PARTICULATE POLLUTION;

And then goes on in sections (f) and (g) to further lay out the reasoning in favor of e-bike incentives:

(f) ELECTRIC BICYCLES PRODUCE ZERO EMISSIONS AND ARE AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT IN A STRATEGY FOR REDUCING EMISSIONS IN THE TRANSPORTATION SECTOR; AND

(g) IT IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE STATE TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF ELECTRIC BICYCLES USED FOR TRANSPORTATION AND TO INCREASE THE ACCESSIBILITY OF ELECTRIC BICYCLES TO INDIVIDUALS IN LOW- AND MODERATE-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS.

Although $12 million is peanuts when compared to Colorado’s full $40 billion yearly budget, it’s still a significant amount of money, and the Colorado Energy Office, which managed the program, found it to be “a major success to date, with a higher-than-expected redemption rate, especially among recipients of the low-income, higher-value rebate.”

It was so successful that it blew through its budget in just a few short months, and had to be suspended until the Energy Office can reallocate funds for another round of rebate applications in February 2024. According to a press release, the program enabled some 4500 people to get a zero-emission vehicle who previously could not afford one.

“To date, Colorado residents have redeemed 4,520 rebates in 54 counties across the state, saving Coloradans $5,417,300. Of those who have redeemed a rebate, 90% qualify as low-income (income lower than 80% of their county’s area median income), 20% live in rural communities (compared to 14% of the state’s total population), and 39% are 55 years or older.”

In addition to this successful e-bike rebate program, Colorado will start offering an e-bike tax credit on April 1, 2024, which will underwrite a $450 discount for all residents on qualifying e-bike purchases at the point-of-sale through 2032.

While these incentive programs support a relatively low number of electric micromobility options (4500 e-bikes vs millions of gas-powered vehicles in the state), they may contribute to the low-carbon transportation movement in other ways, such as serving as the inspiration for other states’ incentive programs, as well as seeding the roads with more electric two-wheelers, which helps to normalize the e-mobility revolution.


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Derek Markham

Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee.

Derek Markham has 525 posts and counting. See all posts by Derek Markham