E-bikes: zero-emissions vehicles that you get to ride

E-bikes are catching on fast, and are particularly well-suited to our active lifestyle on western Colorado. They combine the environmental advantages of electric vehicles with the low cost and health benefits of biking – and the cost advantages are getting even better (see below).

An e-bike is a bicycle with a battery-powered "assist." When you pedal, a small motor engages and gives you a boost. That's a big help on hills, and it makes it easier and faster to commute or travel longer distances than on a regular bike. Many e-bike owners find that they ride more, and drive less.

As with an electric vehicle, an e-bike has an onboard battery that you charge when not in use. The charger plugs into a regular electrical outlet, and a full charge will give you 35-50+ miles of assist (depending on a lot of variables). Assuming typical electricity rates, the cost of a charge is literally just a few pennies.

Rebates, tax credits and other incentives

A decent commuter e-bike will cost upwards of $2,000 new, but a number of incentives are available that can bring the price down considerably.

Most notably, the Colorado Energy Office offers a $450 point-of-sale (i.e., instant) rebate off the purchase of an e-bike from a participating retailer – full details can be found here. As of April 2024, Basalt Bike & Ski in Carbondale was the only such retailer in Garfield County, but you can check this list to see if others have since signed on.

Locally, two utilities offer their own modest e-bike rebates:

  • Glenwood Springs Electric: Apply for a $200 rebate using this form. (A lot of the questions pertain to home energy improvements, but just make sure to check the E-bikes box.)
  • Holy Cross Electric: Apply via the HCE website, where you'll also find a handy list of local retailers that sell e-bikes. Unfortunately, the rebate has been reduced to $50.