The Burlington Electric Department, joined by Mayor Miro Weinberger and in partnership with Local Motion and four Burlington bike shops – Old Spokes Home, North Star Sports, Outdoor Gear Exchange, and Skirack – today launched a new electric bike (E-bike) rebate program for the Burlington community that provides Burlington Electric customers $200 off the purchase of an E-bike or a conversion kit, which can be installed on many conventional bicycles. The program, believed to be only the second utility E-bike rebate program in the nation, encourages Burlington Electric customers to seek alternative transportation to displace fossil fuel burning automobile trips when commuting to work, visiting friends and neighbors, and running errands.
As part of the program, a new E-bike lending library managed by Local Motion has been created to allow potential purchasers to test ride an E-bike before purchasing one. The new rebate and test ride program will serve as an important component of making Burlington a “Net Zero Energy City” across electric, thermal, and ground transportation sectors.
“For Burlington to be successful in achieving our Net Zero Energy City goal, we must tackle the transportation sector’s significant and growing greenhouse gas emissions," said Mayor Weinberger at today’s launch on the Burlington Bike Path outside Local Motion headquarters. “Riding E-bikes serves as yet another important part of Burlington’s environmental strategy to create significant emissions reductions. Once again, Burlington Electric and our partners in the Burlington community are leading the way in creating impactful solutions to our climate challenges.”
The E-bike test ride lending library offers interested customers the opportunity to borrow an E-bike for several days, not only to test the technology, but also to consider if and how an E-bike would meet the travel needs and demands of Burlingtonians.
“We’re so pleased to partner with Burlington Electric on this unique project,” stated Karen Yacos, Local Motion Executive Director.. “We’re confident that, when people try an electric bike, they’ll see how E-bikes can get them where they need to go, leading to more people using E-bikes for transportation and, ultimately, taking more cars off the road.”
All Burlington Electric customers, residential and commercial, will be eligible to take advantage of this special rebate and test ride program, which will be available through the end of 2018 and may be renewed or modified for future years. Rather than having to apply for the rebate through Burlington Electric after purchasing an E-bike or conversation kit, customers will receive the $200 rebate at the time of sale at the bike shops upon presentation of an official form of identification and one other proof of residency document, like a Burlington Electric bill or letter to the same address listed on their identification. Further, rebate-eligible customers may donate their $200 rebates toward low-income community members to help more Burlingtonians ride electric. At this time, conversion kits are available only at Old Spokes Home.
“Today's launch serves as another example of Burlington Electric's ongoing commitment to build a sustainable energy future that reduces carbon emissions and supports a growing economy and a thriving community,” stated Neale Lunderville, Burlington Electric General Manager. “Like our electric vehicle rebate program launched last spring, our E-bike rebate and test ride program serves as another important component of our strategic net zero vision in the transportation sector. We are excited to partner with Local Motion and Burlington’s amazing bike shops to provide this opportunity for our customers to transition away from fossil fuel burning cars.”
An E-bike is a bicycle that includes an electric motor powered by a battery. Most E-bikes have pedal-assist, which means the motor helps the rider pedal depending on the level of assistance the rider chooses. Some E-bike models also offer a throttle button, allowing the rider to move without pedaling. E-bikes range in price from $1,200 to more than $3,500. A converted E-bike is a conventional bicycle with an electric motor and battery installed. Conversion kits can be installed on most conventional bikes.
The leadership of the four local bike shops participating in the E-bike program shared the following thoughts:
“Old Spokes Home is grateful for the opportunity to be part of this unique effort to make E-bikes more accessible for our customers,” said Laura Jacoby, Old Spokes Home Executive Director. “We’re especially appreciative of how this program will allow us to better serve our customers of low and moderate economic means who depend on bikes to meet all their transportation needs.”
“E-bikes are incredible,” stated Patricia Miller, North Star Sports Founder and Owner. “You ride an E-bike like a conventional bike, but less effort is required to go the same speed and distance. Or you can travel farther and faster with the same amount of effort. Either way, you get from point A to point B without breaking a sweat or losing your breath, and you have fun along the way.”
“Outdoor Gear Exchange appreciates the innovative approach Burlington Electric and Local Motion have taken toward protecting our environment,” said Marc Sherman, Outdoor Gear Exchange Founder and Owner. “We’re glad to further fuel the E-bike revolution by participating in this visionary new program.”
“E-bikes are catching on fast around Burlington,” stated Zandy Wheeler, Skirack Founder and Owner. “In fact, community members are transporting their children and groceries with cargo E-Bikes and, by adding a trailer, are able to haul a couple hundred pounds of gear.”
“VSECU is committed to helping Burlingtonians and all Vermonters make smart investments in our communities and is excited to offer easy, affordable financing for E-bikes through our VGreen program as a means to provide people with an eco-friendly way to get around,” stated Laurie Fielder, VSECU VGreen Energy Savings Loan Program Director. “With E-bikes, Burlingtonians can have the option to travel by bike rather than car, helping to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and making a positive impact on our planet.”
The Burlington community is invited to an E-bike Revolution Launch Party(link is external) tonight at Hotel Vermont from 5:30-7:30pm, hosted by Local Motion, Burlington Electric, Old Spokes Home, and VBike(link is external). At the celebration, a special short director’s cut of MOTHERLOAD(link is external), a film about the cargo E-bike movement, will be screened.
Additionally, Burlington Electric, Local Motion, and Old Spokes Home will have a presence at Kids Day(link is external) in Waterfront Park on Saturday, May 5 and will offer community members the opportunity to test ride an E-bike.
Additional information about the E-bike rebate program and test ride lending library is available on the Burlington Electric website at https://www.burlingtonelectric.com/ebike(link is external) and the Local Motion website at https://www.localmotion.org/ebikes(link is external).
**The City of Burlington, Burlington Electric, Local Motion, and our amazing E-bike program partners are proud to dedicate this innovative E-bike program to the memory of Karen Freudenberger, a passionate community activist, avid E-bike rider, and indefatigable promoter of social justice and peace.