Mar 20, 2024 - News

Low-income residents in SF can get $1,000 in e-bike rebates

Photo of a person riding an electric bike past a row of blue electric bikes parked on the side of the road

A cyclist rides an electric bike in San Francisco in 2018. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is offering $1,000 in rebates to low-income residents who want to purchase new e-bikes.

Why it matters: The price of an e-bike is often a barrier to access — the recreational equipment company REI puts the cost around $2,000 on average, though it can fluctuate depending on components like motor and design.

  • The new rebate program is the agency's first attempt at incentivizing a micromobility transportation option — which generally encompasses small, low-speed, electric-powered devices like e-bikes and electric scooters — as the city continues efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Driving the news: Interested customers would need to assess their eligibility before submitting an online application. If approved, they'll receive a coupon code via email or text that can be applied at the point of sale.

  • Participants must then redeem the rebate within 30 days of the receipt and before April 20. Retailers in the program include Mike's Bikes, Ocean Cyclery, Sports Basement, Warm Planet Bikes and more.

What they're saying: "San Francisco's hills are gorgeous, but they can make biking in this town challenging," SFPUC general manager Dennis Herrera said in a written statement. "E-bikes are a fantastic option, especially considering the high costs and environmental toll of gas-powered cars."

  • An estimated 25,000 current electricity customers are expected to qualify for the rebate, which is based on enrollment in low-income discount programs through CleanPowerSF and Hetch Hetchy Power as well as their utility address in a designated equity priority community, according to SFPUC.
  • SFPUC says up to $1 million in rebates will be paid through the program.

The big picture: San Francisco is one of many cities seeking to incentivize use of e-bikes to cut down on the number of cars on the road.

  • As part of its climate action plan, the city committed to ensuring that 80% of all trips taken in San Francisco are via low-carbon modes of transportation by 2030.
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