Jul 7, 2022 - News

Denver e-bikes: How to apply for a rebate

Illustration of a rear bike wheel with lightning bolts for spokes.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Bike shops across Denver are getting ready to roll ahead of Monday, when the city releases 2,000 additional rebates toward the purchase of electric bikes.

Why it matters: The limited number of rebates, funded by a sales tax hike which voters approved in 2020, are part of the city's efforts to address climate change and curb greenhouse gas pollution from cars.

  • The vouchers are also intended to make pricey e-bikes more accessible, with even larger discounts offered to low-income residents.
  • Income-qualified residents are eligible for up to $1,200. The standard rebate for all residents is $400.

State of play: Many bike shops participating in the e-bike rebate program are expecting surges in sales over the next few weeks, just like they did in April, when the program launched.

  • Several are stocking up with new editions, as well as the models most popular in the first wave.

What they're saying: "We've gotten a ton of people asking when the program is opening back up," Sam Bagnall, general manager of Bikesource Rino, tells Axios Denver.

  • "I don't know if it's going to be as big of a push this second round just because of the time of year — we're nearing the end of bike season — [but] I think it'll still cause a positive uptick in sales," he says.

The other side: Several shops are noticing that "sticker shock" is still holding plenty of residents back from buying — the bikes typically cost several thousand dollars — including many whom the program is intended to help most.

  • Christine Ford at Elevation Cycles says most of the voucher holders that she has seen are "unfortunately" carrying coupons for $400.
  • "I think it would make more sense for [the city] to have a rebate for [non-electric] bikes … because there's more bang for your buck" and less wear and tear, she adds.

Catch up quick: More than 3,200 people applied for the first batch of rebates, far exceeding anticipated demand and shutting out hundreds.

  • Voucher holders have 60 days to redeem them or they are forfeited.

What's next: The city is releasing new rebates each month through the end of the year, starting at 8am Monday.

  • Sign up for notifications before each round starts.

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