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Denver set for another round of (slightly smaller) e-bike rebates

Applications for rebates will be accepted starting Jan. 31.

Denver will open applications for another round of e-bike vouchers on Jan. 31, offering a total of 860 discounts on a first-come-first-serve basis for the first time since October.

The announcement marks a restart for the city’s e-bike incentives, which proved far more popular than expected and inspired other communities to mimic the mile-high climate program. Denver residents redeemed 4,734 e-bike rebates last year. A city survey found 71% of recipients now use a gas vehicle less often thanks to their two-wheeled electric vehicles.

Despite that success, the city is offering a smaller standard rebate over the next year. Grace Rink, the executive director of Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency, said the changes reflect a drop in prices at local bike shops, which could be a result of increased demand spurred by the city program.

“The average cost of an e-bike purchased with our vouchers in 2022 dropped by $500. And that was thanks in large part to the market competition and demand caused by our rebate,” Rink said.

In the upcoming version of the program, all residents can receive a $300 instant discount on the purchase of an e-bike and an extra $200 for the purchase of a cargo e-bike. That’s a drop from last year when any resident could apply for a $400 voucher plus a $500 bonus for buying a cargo e-bike.

What isn’t changing is the rebate for lower-income residents.

The city will continue to offer a $1,200 e-bike discount to anyone making less than 80% of Denver’s area median income — a threshold set at $62,600 as of June 2021. Denver residents already enrolled in Medicaid, SNAP or other energy assistance programs qualify as well.

The city is now planning to release seven rounds of rebates over the course of the year. Applications will open on Jan. 31, March 28, May 30, July 25, Sept. 26 and Nov. 28.

The city will open applications at 11 a.m. — after most Denver Public Library branches open. That move is meant to expand access to the online application portal to residents without home internet access.

In addition to announcing the new rebates, Denver’s climate office released the results from a survey of nearly 1,000 people who receive last year’s e-bike vouchers.

On average, they self-reported riding their new two-wheeled electric vehicles 26 miles a week, replacing an average of 3.4 car trips over the same period of time.

There’s a chance Denver residents could combine the city’s e-bike rebates with upcoming state-wide rebates. State lawmakers passed an air quality package last year, allocating about $6 million for two years of e-bike incentives.

The Colorado Energy Office plans to release details on the program in the next few months.