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‘You’re Getting an E-Bike!’ Colorado Plays Oprah with Rebates

“Four-hundred-and-fifty dollars is a generous tax credit that's enough to encourage people to open the door to what electric bikes can bring," said one advocate.

Photo: BikTrix|

A rebate of $450 goes a long way towards making electric bikes affordable.

Colorado residents can now get a $450 rebate towards the purchase of an e-bike, thanks to a first-of-its-kind initiative that's unique because buyers get the credit at the point of sale. Advocates hope it will be a game-changer for reducing the number of drivers on the road and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Coloradans 18 and older, who can prove residency, receive the $450 tax credit at the time they purchase a qualified electric bike at a participating bike dealer. The voucher is good for one person, and one bike per calendar year. There are over 50 listed participating retailers so far, according to the state’s energy office. The program also has a residency carve-out for those experiencing homelessness. The program runs through 2032. 

This latest initiative isn’t the only e-bike rebate program to come out of Colorado. Denver offered a similar point-of-sale tax rebate for city residents. In 2022, 4,734 e-bike and cargo vouchers were redeemed in both their standard and income-qualified programs, according to the City of Denver.

E-bike rebates can play a key role in a larger plan to reduce greenhouse gasses, said Alexandra Simon, a public health advocate with CoPIRG Foundation.

“Electric bikes are a really important part of this strategy, because they're a low emission alternative, they have a very low carbon footprint, but they're at a much lower price point than, say, buying an electric car,” Simon said.

The point-of-sale rebate for buyers was a strategic choice to get more people to purchase e-bikes (though $450 won't cover the entire price), Simon added.

“That the more [government] can do to reduce barriers to receiving the money, the more likely people will take advantage of the program,” Simon said. “Anytime you have to send something in, there's just a certain percentage of people that aren't going to do that. But not having to put the money upfront, is a really big incentive.”

Colorado’s voucher program did not come without some bumps in the road. Some retailers had trepidation about the length of time it would take for them to be reimbursed for the credit (funds would be available to retailers once they submit their 2024 taxes). But other shop owners believe that the rebate plan will indeed offer more sales opportunities in the long run.

And Simon thinks it will be easy to tweak the new law after it takes effect.

“I think it's only going to get better as the Energy Office listens to the feedback from retailers and continues to make modifications to make the program work better for everyone,” Simon said.

The state’s program doesn’t have a sliding scale for different incomes as the one in Denver, but Simon hopes Colorado’s program can reach a larger swath of the population.

“There's something really simple about a broad statewide strategy that anyone can take advantage of,” Simon said. “Four-hundred-and-fifty dollars is a generous tax credit, and we hope that that's enough to encourage all different kinds of people to open the door to what electric bikes can bring.”

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