British Columbians looking to buy a new electric bike will soon be able to get some cash back for their purchase, according to the provincial government.
In a media release issued Thursday, the B.C. government announced that rebates will be available to residents older than 19 starting next month. Rebates will be based on a person's income and range from $350 to $1,400.
To be eligible, the e-bike must cost more than $2,000 before taxes and be purchased from a participating e-bike retailer after June 1. The province has yet to publish a list of those retailers but says it will do so on this website on June 1.
Unlike past programs, people no longer need to scrap a car to get the rebate.
"E-bikes add a new dimension to everyday travel, even in rural communities," Michael Koski, executive director of the B.C. Cycling Coalition, said in a statement.
"For those struggling with the cost of a car, this funding will provide wider access to a transportation option that is affordable, efficient and eco-friendly."
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says it is investing more than $6 million in the rebate program, which will help up to 9,000 British Columbians lower the cost of their e-bike.
"E-bikes are becoming commonplace in B.C. as a convenient alternative to motor-vehicle trips, but their price can put them out of reach for people," Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said in a statement.
"By making rebates available and basing the rebate amount on income, we can make e-bikes and clean transportation more affordable and accessible for everyone."
News of the rebate was welcomed by Alex Alvarez, manager at The Bike Kitchen, a cycling repair shop located at the University of British Columbia's Point Grey campus.
"I'm always a fan of more bikes on the road," said Alvarez.
He did, however, warn that some entry-level e-bikes purchased at department stores can be hard to service. In his experience, he says some of those e-bikes are outfitted with brakes that are not sufficient for such fast, heavy models.
"They are being sold as these great solutions to get rid of your car, get on a bike, but then when people have to come in for constant repairs and adjustments they end up spending more money than they expected to," he said.
Alvarez hopes the rebate program could help people pay for higher-end models that have a higher sticker price but are less likely to need continuous tune-ups.