Want an eBike? The City of Boulder may help you pay for it

Ryan Balciar performs maintenance on an e-bike brought to his shop. Photo by Jackie Sedley.

The city has opened an online application window for e-bike vouchers following Denver’s huge success with a similar program. 

These vouchers will cover some or all of the cost of a brand-new eBike, depending on the model of the bike and the income qualifications of the applicant. For KGNU and Report for America, Jackie Sedley has the details.

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E-bike fever is raging across the Front Range and the City of Boulder is taking note.

On July 6, the city opened up an online application where residents can apply for an ebike rebate. The window closes July 19 at 5 p.m., at which point the city will randomly select 200 applicants to receive vouchers that can be used at participating bike shop locations. Chosen recipients will be contacted via email by July 20 at 5 p.m.

The city is offering four different types of vouchers, depending on two factors: the amount of money you make, and the type of eBike you want.

Low income residents can qualify for a $1,200 voucher for a standard model, or a $1,400 voucher for an e-cargo or adaptive eBike. Those folks can also receive funds for safety gear, like bike helmets, bike locks, and child seats.

Income eligibility paperwork for income-qualified vouchers can include social security documents, disability insurance, old age pension, and others listed on Boulder’s E-Bike Incentives webpage.

Residents earning more than 80 percent of the area median income can apply for a $300 voucher for a standard eBike, or $500 for an eCargo or adaptive model.

All applicants must prove residency within Boulder city limits, as funding for the program comes from a city-specific climate tax.

The City of Boulder is set on providing 200 vouchers, evenly split between the income-qualified and the standard. This program involves new eBikes, not used ones, in an effort to support local bike shops–like Front Range Cargo Bikes on 47th Street.

Ryan Balciar has owned Front Range Cargo Bikes in Boulder for 12 years now. His passion for eBikes knows no bounds, and he has seen public interest in the electric vehicles skyrocket firsthand.

“I have several customers that have sold a second car and bought a second eBike because of how effective their first eBike was at replacing car trips,” Balciar says. “So now I have a lot of families that are kind of viewing their cars as more what they use when they go to the mountains versus what they use around town, with the exception of a couple of months in the winter.”

The program has two main aims, according to Communications Manager Leah Kelleher over in Boulder’s Climate Initiatives Department.

“The two main goals of the program are to one: expand access to eBikes to more of our community members,” Kelleher explains, “and the other goal is encouraging people to use a greener, cleaner form of transportation.”

Boulder’s program was largely inspired by an eBike rebate pilot program launched last year in Denver. Mike Sallisbery works for Denver’s Climate Action, Sustainability & Resiliency Office, and he says the interest in the vouchers exceeded available funding. He expects the same to happen in Boulder.

“We had budgeted about $300,000 for the program in 2022, said, “Hey we’ll give out a few hundred of these e-bike vouchers, we’ll learn a lot and we’ll design the program, we’ll make some tweaks.” And then, after the first weekend of the program launching, we’d already blown past that mark,” Sallisbery says.

Kelleher says the City is unsure how quickly the vouchers will run out, but that around 550 people signed up for email alerts for the program before the application portal even opened.

“It’s also worth noting that we’re doing two rounds of vouchers, and part of the reason we did that is so we can learn from this first round what’s working, what the demand is for vouchers,” Kelleher explains.

The City’s second round of voucher giveaways will happen in September, so unlucky applicants in the first round will have a second chance later in the year.

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    Want an eBike? The City of Boulder may help you pay for it Jackie Sedley

Jackie Sedley

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