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Local businesses abuzz about e-bike incentives proposed by California

Electric bikes — or e-bikes as they’re known — are more popular than ever. Kids use them to get to and from school, surfers ride them to their favorite spot, and many people view them as an alternative to cars. The electric battery assists your pedaling, especially on hills. They can reach speeds of almost 30 miles per hour and the batteries can be charged thousands of times before they need to be replaced.

But the steep price tag — which can be around $2,500 per bike — has prevented lots of people from being able to afford them. However, a new statewide program called the Electric Bicycle Incentive Project, hopes to change that this spring. The project is being run by the California Air Resources Board, with input from a local nonprofit, Pedal Ahead, which runs a similar program in San Diego, as well as the California Bicycle Coalition.

“Equity is really central to the program”, explained Laura McCamy from the California Bicycle Coalition. “People will not have to put the money up front. It’s not a rebate, like many of the electrical vehicle programs. In this case, you will get a point of sale voucher, so you find a qualified bike that you want to buy, you go to a qualified vendor, you ask to buy the bike and your voucher will be applied."


In addition to making e-bikes more affordable, it’s hoped the initiative will cut the number of cars on the road and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For those who qualify, the voucher will be worth between $1,000 - $2,000 and is to be spent at a California based e-bike retailer. Which is welcome news for local businesses, like Happy Ebikes in Carlsbad.

“It is a great way to get around town,” said Happy Ebikes owner, Dan Sachs. “There’s no gas needed. Electric power, I believe, is the future. As technology grows, our batteries will get more compact, we’ll get more distance out of them and we’ll become more educated on how to handle the batteries especially”.

$10 million has been set aside for the program, which is solely for people below the poverty line. You can find out more information about the initiative at California Bicycle Coalition.