Saanich offering up to $1,600 in e-bike rebates in new pilot program

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The District of Saanich is offering rebates and discounts for people who are interested in purchasing an electric bike (e-bike).

The district says it's the first municipality in B.C. to offer such a rebate, called the Community E-bike Incentive Pilot Program, which Saanich hopes will help reduce local greenhouse gas emissions.

Saanich residents can apply for a rebate online. There are three different rebates available, a $350 incentive, an $800 incentive and a $1,600 incentive. The size of the rebate depends on a resident's household income.

Meanwhile, the municipality is offering discounts for e-bike safety classes with select organizations.

Further details on the rebates, and how to apply for them, can be found on the district's website.

"With the average bike trip length being 3.3 km and the average e-bike trip length being 6.1 km in Saanich, e-bikes can replace the average 5.3 km car trip more efficiently than traditional bikes," the district said in a release Tuesday.

The district say that annual maintenance for an e-bike comes in at less than $1,000, significantly lower than the annual average cost of owning a vehicle, which is $7,000, according to Saanich.

"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 in a statement Tuesday.

"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," he said.

The district says it will work with Greater Victoria Community Social Planning Council and researchers at the University of British Columbia to monitor the pilot program for equity considerations for the rebates, and impacts on local green house gas emissions and commuting behaviour.