California is set to join a number of other cities and states in the US by offering rebates and tax credits for electric bicycles. California’s Electric Bicycle Incentives Project has been over a year in the making, and we recently saw new updates to the planned rebates.
The updates come after an end-of-the-year meeting of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to discuss the parameters of the Electric Bicycle Incentives Project.
According to the California Bicycle Coalition, which shared a follow-up after the meeting, members of the discussion included representatives from the e-bike industry, bicycle shop owners, nonprofits who work with potential voucher recipients, bicycle coalition leaders, and members of the public interested in the program.
The program’s details were still being finalized at the end of the year, but the meeting helped shed more light on the aspects of the program that have already been decided.
One of the new updates is additional funding for the program.
$10M had already been earmarked for the program, but we’ve now learned that an additional $3M in funding will be added to the total, likely to help with program outreach. That would allow more of the initial $10M to go directly toward the e-bike rebates themselves.
CARB also confirmed that the income limit to qualify for the e-bike voucher will be lowered. We previously reported that in order to qualify for the voucher, participants’ household income would have to be below 400% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL), which amounts to $51,000 for a single person and $106,000 for a family of four at current figures.
Now we’ve learned that the income limit would be lowered to 300% of FPL to align the eligibility requirements for the e-bike program with those of other CARB clean vehicle programs. That would amount to approximately $38,000 for a single person or $79,500 for a family of four.
The program originally listed only Class 1 and Class 2 electric bikes (those that are limited to 20 mph) as qualifying for rebates. But due to overwhelming support for allowing Class 3 e-bike models (that can reach 28 mph with pedal assist) to be eligible for incentives, CARB will include all three classes of e-bikes in the program. However, manufacturers will have to apply for their models to be eligible for purchase with the vouchers.
The California Bicycle Coalition reports that those manufacturers will also have to provide a two-year warranty on their e-bikes, likely in a nod to concerns about maintenance.
That could prove to be an issue since many of the largest electric bicycle manufacturers in the US only offer one-year warranties on the entire e-bike, though many offer longer warranties on the frame or motor. Some companies have started to offer even longer warranties of five years or more, though this is still not common in the industry.
We have not learned of any changes to the proposed value of the e-bike rebates, which were previously expected to be set at $750 for a standard electric bicycle and $1,500 for a cargo electric bicycle.
Because the program’s details still have not been finalized and more public discussions are expected to be held, all of the above figures could still change before the program reaches implementation. There is also still no firm date for when the program will begin, though it is expected to become active this year.
We’ll keep our ear to the ground on this important e-bike rebate program and be sure to update as soon as we have more information on the Electric Bicycle Incentives Project.
Until then, let’s hear what you think of the current tentative details for the program. Sound off in the comment section below!
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