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.
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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