Jun 28, 2022 - News

Massachusetts residents support e-bike rebates

Animated illustration of an ebike with electricity lines emitting from the center.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Massachusetts residents support incentives for electric bikes, according to a survey released last week.

  • The MassInc Polling Group, which surveyed 1,002 people on June 8-2, asked about rebates for EVs and e-bikes, as well as funding to electrify public transit.

Why it matters: Support for electric vehicles is already on the rise — EV registrations in the U.S. doubled last year — but the survey comes as Massachusetts lawmakers are considering incentives for e-bikes, a cheaper alternative.

  • Lawmakers are also considering clarifying the definition of e-bikes to better regulate them and make them more accessible. They're currently lumped into the same category as mopeds, meaning people need driver's licenses to ride them.
Support for Massachusetts electric transportation incentives
Data: MassInc Polling Group; Chart: Axios Visuals

Details: The poll found that the majority of residents (68%) support incentives for e-bikes — slightly less than the share of support for EV rebates and transit funding for electric buses and electric school buses.

  • Just over half of respondents (51%) said they'd be interested in buying an e-bike. That went up to 58% in a scenario where legislators passed a law offering hundreds of dollars in rebates for purchasing one.

The big picture: It is unclear how many e-bikes have been sold in Massachusetts, but a rebate program could help the state keep track.

  • The state's existing rebate program for EVs tracks monthly purchases of eligible vehicles. The state issued nearly 5,000 EV rebates in 2021, or more than $10.2 million in incentives, per state data.

State of play: House lawmakers passed an $11 billion infrastructure bond bill packed with transportation and environmental investments on Thursday, hours after the survey came out.

  • The bill included an amendment from Rep. Natalie Blais (D-Sunderland) to allot $1 million to a state rebate program that would offer $500 rebates for e-bike buyers and $750 rebates for low-income e-bike buyers.
  • The bill also set aside funds for transit electrification, with a focus on environmental justice communities.

What's next: Now the bill goes to the Senate, which has until the end of July, when the two-year legislative session ends, to take action.


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