E Bike Incentives

Melanie Curry, Streetsblog California Editor, and Dave Snyder, CalBike Executive director, discuss the state and federal programs to subsidize e-bike purchases with Nick Richert and Don Ward.

Essential Question: should I wait for a subsidy to by an ebike?
Answer: Only if you want to wait two years.

California’s AB 117, authored by Tasha Boerner Horvath, which would create e-bike stimulus payments, originated with a CalBike initiative. CalBike organized stakeholders in support of the bill.

We also talk briefly about SB 400, which CalBike got passed in 2019 and is just now beginning to roll out incentives for low income and disadvantaged communities in the Bay Area, with other areas to come. SB400 will give qualifying individuals $7500 to turn in an older polluting car and replace it with an ebike (or two) under the Clean Cars for All program, which is funded by cap-and-trade.

Also: in 2017, Congress eliminated a tax credit for bike commuters that had allowed employers to reimburse workers as much as $20 per month, pre-tax, for bike commuting expenses. The Bicycle Commuter Act of 2021 (H.R. 384) would reinstate the credit, and make it a pre-tax benefit — like parking and transit. It would be as much as 30% of the parking benefit ($81 a month, less than $1,000 a year), and could be used along with the transit and parking benefits. Bike-share would be eligible for the benefit.

The Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act from Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) would offer a 30% tax credit of up to $1,500 for buying an electric bicycle priced below $8,000.

With Nick Richert and Don Ward