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Denver's e-bike rebate program reaches capacity 19 days after launch

The city said Wednesday it was no longer accepting applications for the program that helps Denver residents cover the cost of electric bikes.

DENVER — Denver's new rebate program for electric bikes received so much buzz, the city can't handle any new applications beyond the 3,200 submitted in the past few weeks.

The city announced Wednesday it had temporarily reached capacity and would not be accepting additional voucher applications, according to a notice that appeared on the city's website.

Even on slow days at bike shops across Denver, staff members have been busy fielding questions about e-bikes, thanks to the city's program.

“Lots of people have come in asking or called us over the phone," said Christine Ford, general manager at Elevation Cycles in east Denver.

Ford said e-bike sales were already rising before Denver's Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency (CASR) launched the Climate Action Rebates program on April 22.

“The whole idea of this program is to get people to use these bikes instead of their cars," Ford said.

The program helps cover the cost for Denver residents to add all-electric energy equipment to their homes, but it also offers rebates for e-bikes.

Anyone who lives in Denver could apply for a $400 rebate before buying an electric bike from a shop participating in the city's Climate Action Rebates program. Residents who meet certain income qualifications can qualify for a $1,200 rebate, and e-cargo bikes are eligible for an extra $500 rebate, according to the city.

The e-bike vouchers can be redeemed at any of the participating bike shops within 60 days.

"I think we’ve been blown away by the enthusiasm for this program,” CASR spokesperson Winna MacLaren said.

According to the city, 3,200 applications have been received, and 40% of those came from income-qualified applicants.

“We’re seeing a really clear demand and desire for people to get e-bikes and try a new form of getting around town," MacLaren said.

MacLaren said the city of Denver set aside $9 million over the next three years to offer e-bike rebates to Denver residents.

The rebates won't cover the entire cost of an e-bike, and Ford cautioned people to be prepared.

“The price is going to be the biggest shock for a lot of people," Ford said. "Bikes that we carry here in store are bikes that we really believe in. Bikes that we service the batteries on, bikes that we can look at the motors and open them up and really service.”

On average, Ford said people who take advantage of the rebates can still expect to pay up to about $2,000 to take home an e-bike from most Denver shops.

“I think it is a great, great service, but there is some skin in the game on the customer to also want to put their own money towards it to get something that’s really quality," she said.

In the weeks ahead, Denver bike shops will do their best to keep up with demand.

"It’s a little bit scary to think that there’s thousands of people out there that are going to be looking for e-bikes," Ford said. "I just hope that they can come with education and an open mind for what is out there and what’s available.”

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