Electric bike sales soar following launch of P.E.I.'s rebate program

·3 min read
A $500 rebate is being offered to Islanders purchasing an electric bicycle. (Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada - image credit)
A $500 rebate is being offered to Islanders purchasing an electric bicycle. (Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada - image credit)

It's been about a month and a half since Prince Edward Island officially launched its bicycle rebate program, and both retailers and provincial officials say it's exceeding expectations.

In an effort to reach net-zero in the province, the P.E.I. government is giving a point-of-sale rebate of $500 to Islanders purchasing a power-assisted bicycle, and a $100 rebate for the purchase of a regular pedal bike.

Derek Ellis, director of the sustainability division for the Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action, said there have been about 575 regular bikes and 150 e-bikes sold since the start of the program.

"I think we're still in our infancy on Prince Edward Island on electric bicycles," he said. "We're still working on providing infrastructure, bike lanes and shared paths, and as well, working on some of the highway safety aspects of e-bikes."

Ellis said he knew there'd be plenty of regular bicycles purchased with the rebate, but wasn't sure what the uptake would be for electric bikes.

Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada
Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada

"It's been a pleasant surprise that so many people have bought e-bikes here in the first month," he said.

Ellis said the bicycle rebate program — with a budget of roughly $500,000 — is intended to stay long-term. The funding for the e-bikes comes from the electric vehicle incentive program budget.

So far, Ellis said the province has spent about $55,000 paying off e-bikes rebates and closer to $75,000 on rebates for regular bicycles.

"This is the time of year where people want to get out and bike and we want to help them get on those bikes," he said.

'Non-stop traffic'

Bike shop owners are also seeing a growing demand for electric bicycles.

Frank MacEachern is the owner of Rising Tide Electric Bicycles. He said business is exceeding his expectations, especially during the shop's first year.

"There's been non-stop traffic," MacEachern said. "We have sold about four bikes every week since we've been open."

MacEachern was planning to retire, but said he wanted to do something that "really matters" and would "help the province."

So he did some research and settled on electric bicycles.

His shop has 17 different kinds of electric bikes ranging from electric mountain bikes to foldable bikes suitable for people living in apartments.

Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada
Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada

MacEachern not only sells e-bikes, he also rents them out to give customers the chance to experience riding a power-assisted bicycle. He said the rebate is making a big difference to Islanders who consider purchasing one.

"It makes it considerably more affordable to [buy] when you've got $500 coming off the base price of the bike," he said. "That's a lot of money in most people's world and it's a great program."

Brett Doyle, owner of Outer Limit Sports, said people may be more timid about purchasing electric bikes because the price tag is quite high. But he too said the rebate is helping grow popularity.

"The $500 rebate certainly helps a lot," he said. "That's a big chunk to take off of it. Most customers, when we get them on an e-bike and let them test drive it, once they come back, they're all smiles and totally sold on it."

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