Drive Less. Live More.

Austin doubles rebates for electric bikes

Luke Metzger | TPIN
Environment Texas member Craig Burchsted tries out an electric bike at our "E-Bike Rodeo" in October 2022

Starting January 1, Austin Energy customers who purchase electric bikes through participating e-bike dealerships will be eligible for rebates as high as $600 for individuals and $800 for fleets – twice the previous amount. Austin Energy is also launching a $300,000 pilot program to help lower income customers purchase e-bikes with even higher rebates.

Staff | TPIN
Rebates to be offered by Austin Energy starting January 1, 2023 for electric bike purchases

The expanded rebate program will help more Austinites purchase and ride these clean vehicles. In the United States, e-bikes outsold electric cars and plug-in hybrids in 2021. This clean transportation technology is building off a pandemic-era boom when many people sought alternatives to enclosed public transit and picked up socially distanced outdoor hobbies. However, as pandemic restrictions have eased, the demand for e-bikes has remained strong.

E-bikes can extend the range someone is willing to bike to work, the grocery store, or anywhere else with proper bike-friendly infrastructure. This in turn can reduce the number of cars on our roads – an important goal to reduce the transportation sector’s climate impact. E-bikes are also much cheaper to purchase than cars, providing a lower cost means of transportation.

Austin Energy announced the changes in response to a resolution by Council Member Paige Ellis. The resolution also included a recommendation, supported by Environment Texas, which would allow purchases of e-bikes directly from the manufacturer to qualify for rebates as well. Buying e-bikes online can often be cheaper, and thus accessible to more Austinites. Online purchases will now qualify for the rebate if purchased through a local bike shop, but not for popular brands like Radpower which only sell e-bikes online.

Overall this is great news and Austin Energy should be applauded. E-bikes open up the world of two-wheeled transportation to more of us. They extend ride ranges, make it easier to conquer hilly terrain and increase the cargo load that someone can carry. In sum, an e-bike makes it vastly easier to get around without a car. Replacing car trips with zero-carbon options such as e-bikes is one of the best ways to fight climate change.

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