Saanich offers its residents e-bike rebates of $350 to $1,600 depending on income

Residents of Saanich can receive a rebate of between $350 and $1,600 when they purchase a new electrically assisted bicycle (e-bike), including cargo e-bikes, under an incentive program announced on Tuesday.

Introduction of the ­Community E-bike Incentive Pilot Program makes Saanich the first local government in B.C. to provide a rebate for residents acquiring an e-bike as a low-carbon, renewable-energy transportation option.

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The program is designed to be socially equitable, with a tiered approach. Every resident­ ­qualifies for a $350 rebate, with $800 and $1,600 rebates based on household income. One rebate is available per household.

The program is aimed at encouraging Saanich residents to switch to active and electric mobility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is hoped the program will lead to a reduction of between 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, contributing to the Saanich 2020 Climate Plan goal of cutting community GHG emissions in half by 2030.

“E-bikes have become an increasingly popular mode of transportation and by providing a rebate on the purchase price, we want to help more folks purchase and use them to get around,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes.

“By making them more affordable, we hope more ­families will be able to utilize e-bikes as a climate-friendly transportation option that shrinks transportation costs, enhances their fitness and helps the environment.”

Other financial considerations include lower costs compared to operating a vehicle. According to Saanich, an e-bike pays for itself within the first few months of ownership and can deliver thousands of dollars in annual household savings. While an average car can cost more than $7,000 a year to operate, a typical e-bike will cost less than $1,000 to run for the same period of time.

“It’s great to hear of Saanich stepping up and introducing an incentive plan for e-bikes,” said Jonny Ainslie, manager Cit-E Cycles. “It’s about time, considering electric vehicles, by comparison, have enjoyed massive incentives for their adoption for years.”

The rebate can be claimed by participants after the purchase or at point-of-sale at participating bike stores.

Purchasers will receive $750 from SCRAP-IT if they decide to scrap a qualifying internal combustion-engined vehicle in favour of a new e-bike.

SCRAP-IT is administered by the Clean B.C. Go Electric Transportation Options Program.

Prices for e-bikes range from $2,000 to $20,000 with more than 250 models from 25 brands to choose from. Most modern e-bikes will give you at least 80 kilometres of range, with some as much as 300 km on a single charge. Riding range is affected by terrain, weather, cargo carried and the level of power assistance called upon by the operator.

Two-thirds of e-bikes on the market are mid-drive, where the motor is found between the ­pedals at the bike’s bottom bracket. The remainder are hub-drive, with the motor found on the wheel hub of either the front or rear wheel.

Almost all have a ­removable and rechargeable battery. ­Batteries can take between five to eight hours to recharge, with many owners opting to purchase a second battery as a backup.

Data from the pilot project will be shared with researchers at the University of British Columbia’s React Lab to assess the program’s impact on travel behaviour and greenhouse gas emissions.

Applicants must be ­Saanich residents. Only one e-bike rebate per household. Residents can pre-register.

For more ­information, go to saanich.ca/ebike.

parrais@timescolonist.com

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