E-BIKE INCENTIVE PROGRAM
Expected launch in Winter 2023
Are you in need of alternative transportation? RCEA wants you to be ready to apply for our first come, first served E-Bike voucher.
RCEA will be offering a $500 E-Bike Voucher for income-qualified Humboldt County residents, and adaptive E-Bike riders are eligible to receive a $1,000 voucher. Please see income qualifications under the “Income Qualifications” tab below. All RCEA customers are eligible for a $150 – $350 voucher.
The state of California will be offering a separate E-bike Voucher for income eligible residents only. For information, go to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Electric Bike (E-Bike) incentive project website. Please see link below or click here.
The RCEA E-Bike Voucher is intended to be used in conjunction with the state’s E-Bike voucher so that income eligible residents will have the maximum amount of funding available to offset to cost of an E-Bike purchase. Income Eligible customers are required to apply for the CARB E-Bike Voucher before applying for the RCEA E-Bike Voucher. Eligibility for the state’s program automatically satisfies RCEA’s income eligibility requirements.
CARB E-Bike Project Details
- Apply though an on line portal at: Ebikeincentives.org (note: this web portal is not yet active)
- Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis
- Approved applications will receive a Voucher via email
- Vouchers can be redeemed at participating bike shops
- E-bikes must be new
- All classes (1-3) of E-Bikes are eligible
- Must have integrated front and rear lights
- Must be fully assembled
- Minimum 1-year warranty on all electrical components
- Non-eligible E-Bikes: Used E-bikes, conversion kits, full-suspension E-Bikes, scooters, mopeds
- Apply for this program first as voucher email will be proof for RCEA’s voucher program
CARB E-Bike Incentive Amounts
- $1,000 for base voucher amount for income-qualified participants
- Additional $750 for cargo and adaptive bikes
- $1,250 for applicants living in low-income communities (most of Humboldt County falls under this category)
RCEA will be offering an additional $500 E-Bike Voucher to be combined with the CARB E-Bike Voucher for income-qualified Humboldt County residents. Additionally, RCEA will offer a separate E-Bike Voucher that all Community Choice Energy customers are eligible to receive.
- $150 for pedal-assisted E-Bikes
- $350 for cargo E-Bikes
- $1,000 for adaptive E-Bikes
- Non-eligible E-Bikes: Used E-bikes, conversion kits, full-suspension E-Bikes, scooters, mopeds
RCEA’s Voucher can be redeemed at any participating bike shop. More details to follow, Terms and Conditions apply.
- Provide proof of your 2022 W-9 form
- Provide proof of enrollment in one or more of the following programs: CalWORKs/TANF, Medicaid, Section 8 for Very Low- and Extremely Low Income Classifications
Find your region here by searching the Priority Populations 2023 California Climate Investments Map. Below is an image showing a section of the map.
Terms and Conditions
Local Bike Shops
Humboldt County has an array of bike shops that sell and maintain E-Bikes. Prior to purchasing your E-Bike, explore these local shops to find the best size and style for you.
- Arcata Location & Phone: 1593 G Street, (707) 822-2562
- Eureka Location & Phone: 2811 F Street, (707) 443-9861
- Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm
- Arcata Location & Phone: 1600 5th Street, (707) 443-6328
- Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10am – 6pm, Sunday, 11am -4pm
Sport & Cycle
- Fortuna Location & Phone: 475 N Fortuna Blvd, (707) 725-9405
- Hours: Monday through Friday, 9am – 6pm, Saturday, 9am – 5:30 pm, Sunday, 10am – 4pm
- McKinleyville Location & Phone: 1590 Nursery Rd Suite 7 & 8, (707) 633-8832
- Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11am – 6pm
- Arcata Location & Phone: 650 10th Street, (707) 822-4673
- Eureka Location & Phone: 125 W 5th Street, (707) 445-1711
- Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9am – 6pm, Sunday 10am – 5pm
- Moon Cycles is a community hub for a variety of bicycle services including general E-Bike maintenance.
- Arcata Location & Phone: 1905 Alliance Rd, Arcata, CA 95521, (707) 408-8181
- Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Why Does RCEA Require E-Bikes to be Purchased in Local Bike Shops?
The RCEA E-Bike Voucher program is designed to help consumers purchase an E-Bike that will be durable, readily repairable, and have a long useful life. Although the RCEA program is not supporting E-Bikes purchased directly from the internet at this time, we are hopeful that this incentive will help many people in Humboldt County purchase an E-Bike that they will get years of use and enjoyment from.
Here are some key reasons the RCEA E-Bike Voucher program requires purchase from a local brick-and-mortar shop:
Supports E-Bike makes/models that can be repaired and maintained locally
- Early E-Bike use was shown to decline after 3-9 months due to durability issues primarily attributed to E-Bikes purchased online and E-Bikes sold at “big box” stores.
- Local Bike shops repair and maintain the bikes they sell, and therefore work with E-Bike companies that can provide durable E-Bike designs, durable components, technical support and diagnostic tools, and readily available replacement parts.
- By contrast, when an E-Bike is purchased online there is no responsibility on the part of the company to provide service, repairs, or technical assistance to bike shop mechanics.
- Some online retailers claim to have remote repair support, but this arrangement has not proved to be available in most locations leaving customers reliant on local bike shop mechanics.
- Interviews with local bike shop mechanics indicated that many of the E-Bikes purchased online or from box stores simply could not be repaired or cost more to repair than the purchase price due to poor quality designs, lack of available replacement parts, and lack of technical support.
- While E-Bikes for sale on the internet may appear to be a lower-cost option as compared to brick-and-mortar stores, the “cost of ownership” is often much higher. This is due to the more frequent repairs required on inexpensive E-Bikes that are made with less durable components and the time required to diagnose the problem (often without adequate technical support) and source replacement parts for the repair.
- Bike shops have a local in-person presence that can address E-Bike issues immediately whereas the internet E-Bike retailers do not have a local presence and their customer service can be difficult to navigate.
- Bike shops can help consumers select the correct size and style of E-Bikes fort their needs.
- Local bike shops have a responsibility to provide maintenance for the products they sell; therefore, they sell products they can stand behind.
- Local bike shops provide customer training on E-Bike use and safe battery charging.
- Bike shops provide professional E-Bike assemble to ensure proper function and safety.
- Bike shops sell E-Bikes with UL listed batteries.
- Many E-Bikes sold online do not use UL listed batteries. These non-rated batteries are the cause of uncontrolled battery fires presenting serious safety hazards.
What Types of E-Bikes are Eligible?
The following types of E-Bikes are eligible for RCEA’s Voucher Program:
• Non-sport model E-Bikes of all classes (I – III) including Cargo E-Bikes, trikes, and adaptive E-Bikes. Offroad or mountain E-Bikes are not eligible;
• E-Bikes must have operable pedals;
• E-Bikes must have UL-listed batteries, chargers, and drivetrains;
• E-Bikes must have standard sized wheels that accommodate standard sized innertubes.
• E-Bikes must have a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty (or longer); and
• E-Bikes must be serviceable by the Vendor making the sale.
What is an E-Bike?
Electronic bicycles, or E-Bikes, are bicycles that have been equipped with a motor to provide the bicycle with extra assistance or “boost”, often denoted as a pedal assist. There is currently a wide variety of E-Bikes available, including fully automated e-bikes and pedal-assisted systems. E-Bikes offer easier commutes and extended riding range. While E-bikes are available to people of all age ranges, they can also offer a more accessible ride for people who are older or have disabilities.
Why Consider an E-Bike?
The recent popularity of electric bikes has led to more widespread information on the types of E-Bikes available, what to consider when buying one, how they help the environment, and some of the challenges that riders may encounter.
If you are interested in buying an E-Bike, click through the following toggles for material to consider before making a purchase. You can also visit this Verge article titled How To Buy an Electric Bike for a break down of E-Bike classes, power, motors, and more.
Although E-Bikes are not quite as sustainable as a conventional bicycle trip due to the energy they require to power, E-Bikes can still have a massive environmental impact if they are used to replace shorter car trips.
More than half of driving trips in the U.S. are shorter than 10 miles. E-Bikes provide riders with a convenient option for any trip, ranging from running quick errands to work commutes, by maintaining higher average speeds than a bicycle. This encourages reduction in traffic and road congestion, all while reducing fossil fuels.
E-Bikes can cost anywhere from $500-$9,000 but most cost between $1,000 and $3,000.
Fuel costs are minimal – E-Bike batteries are ~0.5-1.5 kWh (compared to 40-80 kWh for an electric car).
Calculate the real range of your E-Bike:
Volts x Amp-Hours = Watt-Hours (20 Watt-Hours = 1 mile of travel)
36 V x 10 Ah=360 Wh x ((1 mile)/(20 Wh))=18 mile range
Overall cost to charge = Electricity Cost ($/kWh) x Battery Size (kWh)
$0.12/kWh x 0.5 kWh battery=$0.06 per charge
Even if you fully charged and discharged your e-bike battery every day for a year, your total fuel costs would only be $22. Most e-bike batteries can be fully charged in 4-5 hours with a regular wall outlet.
Cost for new E-Bike battery (1,000+ cycles): $500-$800
Cost for new E-Bike motor (10,000 miles): $150-$200
When looking at an e-bike, it is imperative to consider the following mechanics:
Motor location. There are normally two main types of motors. Mid-drive motors are normally positioned in the middle of the bike, usually between the pedals. Hub-drive motors are located in the center of either the front wheel or, more often, the rear wheel.
Power. The main measurements for power in e-bikes are watts (W), amp-hours (Ah), and volts (V). Check to see if an e-bike lists battery’s voltage and amp-hours (or continuous amperage). To understand how much range you will be able to get out of an e-bike, multiply the amp-hours and volts. This will give you the number of watts that can be delivered by the bike per hour, or watt-hours.
Bicycle Type. There are many types of e-bike, each ranging in price, battery size, and speed. Some types include: cruisers, mountain, road, city, folding, and cargo.
Class. In the U.S., there are three classes of e-bikes.
- A Class 1 E-Bike has a pedal-assist and no throttle.
- A Class 2 E-Bike offers a throttle assist and maximum speed of 20 miles per hour.
- A Class 3 E-Bike is pedal-assist only and does not have a throttle, and has a maximum speed of 28 miles per hour.
E-Bikes generally weigh between 40 and 60 lbs. Standard bikes weigh between 18 and 26 lbs.
E-Bikes can’t be carried on roof racks. You’ll need a platform rack that supports the wheels to reduce wobbling and evenly distribute the weight of the bike.
E-Bikes can be difficult to maneuver onto racks or up stairs. Some come with stair climb or walking assist functions, but you can usually remove the battery and carry it separately to reduce the bike’s weight.
It is helpful, before making a purchase, to look at the benefits of acquiring an E-Bike from a local retailer versus an online retailer. Call your local retailers to see who is selling E-Bikes currently in your area or look online to see what options are available.
Certain E-bikes manufacturers offer warranties for their E-Bikes. Consider if a warranty may be beneficial and, if so, examine the specifics of warranties provided by manufacturers before purchasing.
E-Bikes can be ridden even in rain and snow, but should be stored long-term in a cool, dry place.
If your E-Bikes is going to be stored for long periods outside or in a damp garage, take off the battery and bring it inside. Batteries last longer if stored indoors in a dry, temperate environment.
E-Bikes can be more susceptible to theft due to their higher costs and expensive electronic components. Invest in a good bike lock and take the battery off the bike and bring it with you if you have to park in a high-risk area.
Are you concerned about your electric bike’s range? Would you like to know some tricks for extending your e-bike range when you have that extra errand to run but don’t have that much charge left in your battery?
Electric bike range is a common concern among e-bikers and I would like to offer some tips that will help you make the most of your electric bike ride. Some of these tips are obvious but I have thrown in some additional tips that may help you add a few more miles or kilometers to your e-bike range.
Electric Bike Range Tips
1. Okay, let’s get the most obvious one out of the way. Make sure your battery is fully charged. The reason I mention this is because sometimes it is easy to forget about charging your battery after a hard day at work. Create a routine so that you immediately plug in your battery when you get home.
2. Pedal harder! This may be obvious too but it needs to be mentioned. For instance you may need to run some extra errands and realize that you don’t have that much juice (charge in your battery) left. You could reduce the assist setting (or use less throttle) and pedal more to compensate for a low battery. I have limped my e-bike home this way without totally draining the battery.
Another big tip is to pedal harder at the right time. A lot of energy is consumed when you accelerate from a stop. If you pedal hard to get your bike off the line this will help conserve your battery energy. Additionally, hills take a lot of energy so pedaling a little harder on the hills will help improve your range.
3. Take it easy and enjoy a slow ride. Wind resistance can really drain you and your battery’s energy. If you need to extend your range, riding a little slower will reduce the wind drag. Oh yeah and riding slower is usually safer!
4. Consider a second charger. If you have a long commute to work and errands to run, you may need more range than your battery can provide. You could have a charger at work so that you can recharge during the day. And if your boss is concerned about the electricity bill you can tell them it will cost pennies to charge your e-bike battery!
5. Buy a second battery? If you have a really long commute or ride route that you like to do it may be worth buying a second battery to add to your bike. Some electric bike manufacturers offer the option of adding a second battery to double your range. Check with your local shop or e-bike manufacturer for more info.
6. Keep your tire pressure up. This will make a big difference in how much energy (electric & human) is required to move you and your e-bike around. Low tire pressure can make your electric bike feel sluggish. For normal city style e-bikes I recommend a tire pressure of 50-60 psi. Don’t over inflate your tires though because it can lead to a very rough ride! Here is a floor pump I recommend.
7. Replace your old battery. If you have had your e-bike and battery for a while, the amount of energy your battery can hold will most likely have decreased. I recommend replacing your battery once the decreased range gets annoying. Your local electric bike shop can help you with this or you could contact your e-bike manufacturer.
8. Use the regenerative braking feature. Some electric bike systems have a regenerative braking feature (Bionx for example) that turns the motor into a generator in order to act like a brake and put a little bit of charge back into your battery. Typically this is activated by a sensor on one of the brake levers (usually the rear brake lever). Please note that there is debate in the e-bike world as to how much energy is actually recaptured using regenerative braking.
9. Take care of your battery! If you can, store your battery at room temperature. Batteries don’t like really cold or hot temperatures. In general it is a good idea to charge your battery often to keep it topped off. If you don’t ride your electric bike much in the winter, store your battery fully charged and charge it every couple of months. Try not to leave it plugged in for more than 24 hrs.
10. Oil your chain. This will improve your pedaling efficiency and if you have a motor that powers through the cranks of your bike (Panasonic or Bosch for example) it will improve your motor’s efficiency too. After you oil your chain let it sit for a few minutes before you wipe off the excess oil with a rag.