As of April 22, Denver, Colorado, is offering tax incentives to residents who purchase electric bicycles.
Residents who buy a regular e-bike qualify for a $400 rebate, and they can receive an additional $500 rebate on a cargo e-bike that hauls everything.
Denver is one of the best cities in the country to offer rebates on electric bikes, although it is not the first.
For residents of Denver, Colorado, buying an electric bike will be more affordable as of April 22.
City officials recently announced the best city-wide tax rebate for e-bike buyers in the country: A $400 rebate for regular e-bikes, and an additional $500 rebate for cargo bikes. Some residents may qualify for an even higher rebate, up to $1,200, depending on their income level. Better yet, the rebate is instant, so you can apply before you buy and bring your voucher to a participating bike shop in the city.
A total of all Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes are eligible - but not e-MTBs - when purchased from one of the following bike shops: Hardt Family Cycleries, Elevation Cycles, Good Turn Bikes, Fatte-bikes, SloHi Bikes, ebikes USA, Pedego Denver, Epic Cycles Denver, HUB Bicycles, and REI.
What are the requirements to apply for this?
Residents must be at least 16 years old to qualify. Income-qualified residents must be enrolled in one of seven programs or "have a household income below 60% of the state's median income, below 200% of the federal poverty level, or below 80% of the area median income."".
There is a rebate on one e-bike per person, and the rebate cannot exceed the total purchase price. There is no minimum or maximum purchase price.
A cargo bike must have an extended frame to carry additional passengers or cargo, and it must have three features:
- A published weight capacity (rider, bike, cargo) of at least 400 pounds.
- An extended frame for carrying additional containers, bags, passengers, or includes a cargo rack as a standard component.
- There are two additional attachment points (front and back) to support the addition of racks, baskets, and seats.
- Specifically advertised or marketed as a "cargo" or "utility bike" beyond what would be typical for an e-bike used for commuting.
What's the only downside to Denver's rebate policy?
The electric-assist full suspension mountain bike is not eligible for the rebate. If you want to shred on trails, you'll have to pay the full freight. A cargo bike must have a total weight capacity (rider+bike+cargo) of at least 400 pounds to qualify for the full rebate. Just adding a basket or a trailer does not qualify.
The new program, which takes effect April 22, is part of Denver's more extensive Climate Action Rebate Program, which offers rebates for environmentally friendly installations like solar panels and electric car chargers. With more and more people considering swapping their cars for e-bikes-or at least, swapping one of their cars for an e-bike-many cities around the U.S. are incentivizing people to do so. This is as if gas prices weren't enough of a reason.
There's good news for Denver residents who are on the fence about whether an e-bike can replace a car. In addition, Denver has an e-bike lending library with 30 e-bikes available for borrow, thanks to FattE-Bikes, a local manufacturer. Denver residents are already saying, "I'm getting rid of my car and looking for an e-bike instead," the brand Tweeted this week, showing that there's plenty of interest in making the switch from gasoline- to pedal-power.
Several cities offer e-bike (and some standard bike) tax rebates, but according to Harvard Kennedy School visiting fellow and expert on the intersection of tech, mobility, and city infrastructure David Zipper, Denver's rebate is the largest available at the moment. Check out the list of programs offered in cities across North America by e-bike manufacturer Aventon, if you don't live in Denver. Denver's rebate makes the city one of the best places to buy an electric bike, but Austin, Texas, offers a $300 rebate. Other states are working on more sweeping changes: New York recently introduced a bill that would offer up to a 50 percent rebate on ebikes up to $1,500.
On a national level, there still isn’t a tax incentive for e-bike buyers, but that’s something that could be changing soon. The Build Back Better Act was passed in Congress in November, including the E-Bike Act, which provides a 30 percent tax credit (in actual dollars, you'd get back up to $900) over five years for the purchase of an e-bike. That's on top of a monthly $8 pre-tax benefit for biking to work. Though the Act still has a long way to go before it becomes law, the fact that it has gotten this far is worth celebrating.