DEEP Launches States First Electric Bike Voucher Program
Part of the Expanded CHEAPR Program, State’s New eBike Incentive Program Offers a Clean Transportation Alternative For Residents, Increased Benefits for Low- and Moderate-Income Families
(HARTFORD) — The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced today the launch of the State’s first electric bicycle (eBike) voucher program, helping to offer residents a different clean transportation option, with increased incentives for low- and moderate-income individuals and those who live in distressed or environmental justice (EJ) communities.
The new eBike program was established by Public Act 22-25 (the Connecticut Clean Air Act), which expanded the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate (CHEAPR) incentive program to include incentives for eBikes. The CHEAPR program already provides incentives for electric vehicles (EVs) costing up to $50,000 and will now include incentives for qualifying eBikes costing up to $3,000.
“As one of the first state-wide eBike incentive programs in the country, we will be providing additional electrified transportation options for those who may not be able to afford a car, let alone an electric vehicle,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “This program will increase micro-mobility options, especially for low- and moderate- income households, while also helping to lower carbon emissions in our state, especially in communities disproportionately impacted by air pollution.”
"Electric bikes are a great option for residents who are looking for a fun, efficient, greener and healthier way to get around the city. In New Haven, we’re committed to being a bike-friendly city and with our flat terrain and 40-plus miles of bike lanes and paths – along with more coming online soon – cycling is becoming an increasingly attractive transportation option for more and more residents," said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker. "Now with Connecticut’s new incentive program that offers up to a $1,500 voucher towards an E-bike purchase, E-bikes will be a much more accessible and affordable option for individuals across all income levels and I hope as many New Haveners as possible will take advantage of the program!”
“It was an honor to lead passage of the Connecticut Clean Air Act in 2021 and I’m so pleased to see one of its major components go into effect today!” said Transportation Committee Co-Chair State Sen. Christine Cohen. “Making e-bikes and electric cars more accessible is an important step towards meeting our reduced carbon emission goals and I’m looking forward to seeing more affordable electric options on the road.”
“I am so proud that we are taking this step forward and creating such a thoughtful and equitable eBike rebate program,” Transportation Committee Co-Chair State Rep. Roland Lemar said. “Ebikes don’t just benefit those that use them. They benefit everyone. As we confront climate change, air quality concerns and just the day to day increased traffic woes, ebikes provide an easy opportunity for many of our neighbors to shift commuting modes, decrease air pollution and traffic congestion and, yes, get a little exercise as well. When even a small fraction of drivers switch to bicycles or e-bikes, the impacts on traffic are profound. One study found that a 10% shift from cars to bikes resulted in a 40% reduction in traffic. From cleaner cities to lower healthcare costs and improved quality of life, the advantages of this program will far outweigh the costs.”
The new eBike Program will provide a point of sale incentive for the purchase of a new qualifying eBike from a participating eBike retailer in Connecticut. The eBike incentive, which must be applied for on-line and obtained before purchasing an eligible eBike, is intended to provide additional electrified transportation options and improve air quality, especially within EJ and disadvantaged communities.
What is the eBike incentive
The incentive is a voucher that you must apply for and obtain before you purchase a qualifying new eBike from a participating eBike retailer in Connecticut. There are two voucher amounts: the Standard Voucher is $500 and the enhanced “Voucher+” is $1,000. The vouchers are ‘stackable’ so qualifying Connecticut residents in EJ or disadvantaged communities will be eligible for a $1,500 incentive.
In line with the CHEAPR Rebate+ EV incentive, there are three ways to qualify for Voucher+, including:
- households that have incomes at or below 300% of the federal poverty level,
- individuals who reside within one of the state’s delineated distressed municipalities and environmental justice neighborhoods, and
- individuals who qualify for other state and federal income qualified programs.
How to Apply for the eBike Incentive
The application portal opened at 9:00 a.m. on June 28, 2023. To qualify for a Standard Voucher, applicants must be 18 years or older and in possession of a valid driver’s license or state identification card. Qualified applicants must first register for their eBike voucher and receive approval from the Program before purchasing an eligible eBike.
Where to Redeem Your eBike Voucher
Vouchers may only be redeemed for eligible eBikes by a participating eBike retailer. To find a participating eBike retailer near you, go to www.drivecheapr.org/ebikes. If you are a bike shop who sells eligible eBikes and you have not yet registered for the program, please do so here: Participating-eBike-Retailer-Enrollment-Form.pdf (ct.gov).
eBike Safety Considerations
Fires from inferior eBikes are a growing concern in both Connecticut and around the country as they become a more popular mode of transportation. In response to safety concerns associated with inferior eBike batteries, Connecticut is adopting some of the first in the nation minimum battery quality and safety criteria requirements for eligible eBikes. In order for an eBike to be included in DEEP’s program, it must be on the eligible eBike list and include a one (1) year warranty and either UL 2849 or EN 15194 certification for battery and electrical components. DEEP is adopting these minimum requirements with the goal of pushing the industry to provide reliable and safe eBikes.
Connecticut’s Air Quality and How eBikes Will Help
Connecticut suffers from some of the worst air quality in the country, especially along heavily traveled transportation corridors where air pollution is most densely concentrated. Mobile sources are the single largest contributor to statewide GHG emissions, contributing 40% of emissions, and 70% of emissions of nitrogen oxides, a precursor to ground level ozone (smog). Exposure to poor air quality exacerbates acute and chronic respiratory problems such as asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and other lung diseases. EBikes provide a viable alternative to the use of cars for short trips. Reducing vehicle miles traveled through the promotion of alternative mobility options will decrease emissions and help Connecticut meet its air quality and climate change goals.
eBike advocates, community leaders, and business owners applauded the launch of the program.
"The ebike Incentive Program is truly a life-altering opportunity for many families, allowing our bike-friendly city to continue evolving and striving to improve our climate for future generations with the hope of reducing air pollution,” stated Lee Osorio, Executive Director, New Haven Coalition for Active Transportation. “Ownership of an Electric Bike will allow families to have alternative methods of transportation that can improve mobility, and find easy parking, at a low cost. If you’d like to learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us at the Coalition for Active Transportation to learn more."
“Connecticut joins Colorado and Vermont in offering its residents equity in transportation with the addition of eBikes in the CHEAPR program,” said eBike advocate and CHEAPR Board Member Kate Rozen. “Ebikes are a powerful tool in our collective fight to reduce transportation sector emissions. These incentives will make eBike ownership accessible to our historically underserved residents giving them autonomy of movement.”
“The CHEAPR eBike program is a great initiative,” said John Brehon, owner of the Devil’s Gear Bike and Board. “It's a green initiative, allowing folks to get out of their vehicles and think of transportation in a healthy way. Micro mobility is moving the state forward and eBikes will be a large part of that. The CHEAPR program is forging a way to make Connecticut green again.”More information: http://www.DriveCHEAPR.org/ebikes