CARB $10M E-Bike Incentive Program

CARB $10M E-Bike Incentive Program

CARB (the California Air Resources Board) has started to lay out the details for their e-bike purchase incentive program.

Here's what we currently know:

  • The program is set to launch in Q2 2023 and will be available to all Californians, regardless of their location within the state.
  • To participate, applicants must purchase their e-bike from a California-based bike shop or from an online retailer that has a business location in California.
  • The program will cover the purchase of Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 e-bikes.
  • To qualify for the incentive program, applicants must have a household income that does not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level (FPL).
  • Eligible applicants may receive a voucher of up to $1,000 for a standard e-bike and up to $1,750 for a cargo or adaptive e-bike. Those whose income is under 225% of the FPL or live in underprivileged census tracts will qualify for an additional incentive of up to $250.
  • Although the pilot project has a budget of $13 million, which can fund between 4,000 and 7,000 e-bike vouchers, the demand is expected to exceed the supply.

The state of California is in need of an electric bicycle incentive program, as e-bikes more efficient and cleaner for the environment than electric cars. E-bikes have been found to be an effective replacement for car trips, which has significant implications for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

While being much lower than the cost of an electric car, the cost of purchasing an e-bike can still be a barrier for many Californians. With prices typically starting at $1,500 and up, many individuals are left with no choice but to spend a significant amount on gasoline and repair costs in short bursts. This can lead to financial difficulties for families who have to sacrifice other essential expenses.

The adoption of e-bikes is crucial to reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while promoting equity, public health, traffic reduction, savings for families, and supporting local economies. Thankfully, California has recognized this need and has allocated funding to support e-bikes.

E-Bike Incentive Program FAQs

If you're curious about the CARB e-bike purchase incentive program, there are numerous questions from people interested in the program, as well as bike retailers and others. To help address some of these questions, we have compiled a list of the most common inquiries that CARB and CalBike have recieved. It's important to note that although Pedal Ahead, the program administrator chosen by CARB, has published its own FAQs, and some of the information provided does not align with what we have been told by CARB. This is because some program elements are still being discussed.

Here are some quick answers to common questions:

  • The e-bike incentive program will launch in Q2 2023, and applications will open at that time. The Urban E-Rider Co. will announce the launch date as far in advance as possible.
  • Currently, the pilot program is limited to Californians living at or below 300% of the federal poverty level.
  • Eligible applicants may receive a voucher of up to $1,000 for a regular e-bike, with an additional $750 for a cargo or adaptive e-bike. Those who live in a disadvantaged census tract or have an income below 225% FPL may qualify for an additional $250.
  • There are numerous local e-bike incentive programs available. You can find more information on them at the CalBike website.


What is California's E-Bike Purchase Incentives Program?

California has implemented a program called the Electric Bicycle Incentives Project, which aims to provide Californian residents with vouchers that will help them purchase e-bikes. The project is currently in its pilot phase.

Who or where can I get a voucher from?

CARB will manage the districution process through its third-party administrator, Pedal Ahead, starting in 2023. We will share information about how to apply once it’s available.

Is this new program an extension of the San Diego E-bike Program?

California's statewide purchase incentive is not an expansion of the San Diego e-bike program. While Pedal Ahead was selected by CARB to administer the statewide program, it will have distinct rules and guidelines developed by CARB in collaboration with advocates and the public.

When and how can I apply?

Not yet as of this writing. It is set for Q2 2023, but that date is susceptible to being pushed back a bit. You can’t apply in advance. However, if you sign up for our email list below, we’ll let you know when the application window will open as soon as we get the date.

The program administrator will announce the offical sign up date, and online sign-ups should be available. As of current understanding, you’ll need personal documentation to prove that you meet the income qualifications.

How long does it take?

There's no way of knowing how long the application process will take as of yet. It will likely involve income verification as well as shopping around for an eligible e-bike vendor. Plan on at least a few weeks or more from the application date, as similar programs for other EVs such as electric cars have take weeks to months for approval.

Who will qualify for the program?

Eligibility as of now is limited to people whose income is less than 300% of the federal poverty level. It may end up looking something like this:

  • Individual: $40,770
  • Family of 2: $54,930
  • Family of 3: $69,090
  • Family of 4: $83,250
  • Family of 5: $97,410

What kinds of bikes qualify?

Class 1, class 2, and class 3 e-bikes will qualify for the program. You will also need to purchase from a list of approved e-bike models.

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