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Denver e-bike rebates fly off of the shelf

Denver e-bike rebates fly off of the shelf

Denver e-bike rebates fly off the shelf

Emily Kleinfelter, with a coupon code for a significant discount, is ready to form a coalition in the fight against global climate change. 

Now, she needs the help of FattE-Bikes to put her ride together. 

Kleinfelter is among the thousands of Denver residents who accelerated online to land an electric bike rebate from Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency, part of a $9 million round of subsidies announced on Earth Day. The rebate and grant programs are funded by a sales tax that was approved by the city voters in 2020. It is expected to raise more than $40M annually for climate action. 

Thursday’s climate office report indicated that 3,250 e-bike applications had been received. The rebates will be suspended until Denver allocates more funds periodically throughout the year. More than half the applicants sought the $400 e-bike rebates that don’t depend on income, and about 40% applied for rebates that go up to $1,200 for income-qualified candidates. Additional $500 can be earned for those who buy e-cargo bicycles that are used to transport children to school, work, or to deliver equipment or other items. 

Funded by a sales tax for climate action, Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency offers electric bike rebates depending on income. Thursday’s climate office report stated that 3,250 e-bike applications had been received. (Olivia Sun and The Colorado Sun via Report for America).

“It was not a cheap purchase. That’s still something I want to acknowledge,” said Kleinfelter, who is getting a cargo bike. “But I recognize that it’s an investment, and it’s also a replacement for a car for me.”

E-bikes have a battery pack and motor that make pedaling easier, or extend coasting. They can also be set to cruise at speeds of 15-30 miles per hour. They can transport hundreds of pounds of cargo and make it easier to commute.

The $400 Denver rebate, and an extra $100 knocked off by the Sun Valley neighborhood’s FattE-Bikes to boost the program, put the $2,000 to $3,000 cost of a high-end e-bike in Kleinfelter’s range. 

“I have been looking to get one for a while. But I felt like it wasn’t exactly the most feasible thing when it came down to money,” said Kleinfelter, who used to have access to a cargo e-bike for work and has ordered a similar, workhorse model. “And so with the rebate program becoming an option, I felt like it was too good to pass up on.”

According to the Denver office it has funds for rebates and is processing vouchers as soon as possible. The rebates are “instant,” so once a resident qualifies and takes the voucher with them, participating retailers take the amount off at the register. 

“This thing got slammed with a lot of applications from Earth Day until now,” said Denver climate office spokeswoman Winna MacLaren. 

Late in the session, state legislators passed a bill that included funds for statewide rebates on e-bikes. This is welcome news for commuters who are jealous of the Denver plan. “I feel like I’m holding my breath for the state-level rebate to come to fruition. Like I want to already know what model I want,” one rider said, after mentioning the rebates on social media. 

The current round of $9M also offers upto 100% rebates for electrifying houses, making it more affordable to replace appliances that run on natural gases. Local and state leaders want to shift energy consumption towards electricity that is increasingly produced by renewable sources like solar or wind power. Denver and Xcel rebates can be used by homeowners to significantly lower the cost electric heat pumps alternatives to furnaces or water heaters. They also have battery storage systems for solar panel batteries, wiring for fast electric vehicle charging, and the solar panel itself. 

FattE-Bikes’ models, ranging around 45 miles, can accelerate to 25 miles per hour. (Olivia Sun via Report for America, The Colorado Sun)
The Denver-based company designs and builds cargo and hybrid bikes.

These subsidies are available for existing homes. They must be handled by an approved contractor with a list provided to them by the city. 

Denver’s happy to see interest in the rebates from a wide variety of residents, MacLaren said. She stated that the goal of e-bikes is to replace cars powered by dirty gas with electric-powered bikes. All purchases will help achieve that goal. All climate office grants are designed to provide equitable opportunities for communities already negatively affected by climate change and pollution. 

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“We really do want to have a program that is open to all of Denver. We also want to make sure that those that are going to be cost burdened by this have the option to cover those costs,” she said.

Bike shops are delighted, of course. FattE-Bikes builds its custom models in its Sun Valley shop. Kenny Fischer, co-founder, said that it is the only bike manufacturer to build its bikes in the U.S. 

Fischer stated that the average age of customers has dropped by 25-30 years with rebates. E-bikes are popular among baby boomers and other older riders who enjoy the electric power assist and have the income to upgrade their bikes. 

“But we’re in this for impact, getting cars off the road, and the rebate has proven there’s demand among younger riders,” he said. So far, Fischer said, Denver’s rebate system has proved “user-friendly.” 

He said that the program will be advertised. “More people are going to see them, and more people are going to want them,” Fischer said. 

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