Austin, Texas, will double the rebates it offers to Austin Energy customers for purchases of electric bikes, according to a Nov. 14 memo from Jackie Sargent, general manager at the city’s publicly-owned utility company, and Richard Mendoza, interim director of Austin’s transportation department.
Starting Jan. 1, individuals can get up to $600, while fleet buyers will be eligible for up to $800 in rebates for each e-bike they purchase. Under the Electric Ride Rebate program, rebates vary based on the bike purchase price.
Austin will also launch a pilot program that provides additional rebates, up to $1,300 when combined with the rebates in the E-Ride Rebate program, for participants in Austin Energy’s Customer Assistance Program. CAP helps customers with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level or who participate in certain state, federal or local assistance programs. Austin Energy will administer the pilot and jointly fund it with the Austin Transportation Department.
In an email, an Austin Energy spokesperson said the city increased the rebates to encourage more people, especially “historically underserved populations,” to buy and use e-bikes.
The utility issued about 400 e-bike rebates last year, and the city “could see that number double this upcoming year with the increased rebates incentive,” he said.
The spokesperson said the agencies expanded the e-bike rebates and created the pilot program in response to a June 9 resolution by Austin’s city council that directed the city manager to take steps to lower financial and other barriers to e-bike use. It’s part of the city’s plan to get residents to complete half their trips using transportation options that are more sustainable than cars, such as micromobility, by 2039, according to the resolution.
Other local and state governments are creating e-bike rebate programs to reduce traffic congestion and lower emissions. Such programs have faced a number of challenges, including a lack of available vehicles due to supply chain problems, funding issues, and equity concerns.