A Vernon e-bike shop is busy with new customers on the first day of B.C.’s new e-bike rebate program.
Launched Thursday (June 1), the program allows British Columbians to claim up to $1,400 towards their purchase of e-bikes, depending on their incomes. Unlike past programs, this one doesn’t require people to scrap their cars.
Vernon E Ride on 29th Street has seen the rebate draw in new customers; they had 15 pre-orders Thursday.
“It was very easy to notice the change in the amount of customers that we were having in the last three days,” said marketing manager Allie Paredes.
“We are absolutely excited about (the program) because we have seen lots of customers very interested in this, because they are not only trying to reach a healthy lifestyle but also because they are encouraged by this rebate.”
It’s the first time the shop has participated in this type of program, and Paredes said, “we are still getting used to how it actually works.” She said customers need to apply for the program and wait to be approved.
One customer, Kieran Scully of Vernon, was in the market for a new mountain bike, but when he heard about the rebate program, he decided to upgrade to an e-bike.
“I started doing research into e-bikes and I thought, why not? And then I came down here two days ago just before the program started,” he said.
Scully says the e-bike will replace trips he makes around town with his car.
“And the bike that I got could get to Kelowna and back on one charge apparently, which is really good.”
The program’s roll-out hasn’t been without hiccups, and like others, Scully experienced problems with the program’s website on Thursday.
Environment Minister George Heyman acknowledged technical difficulties with the website during an announcement.
“Perhaps we need to work on our technology infrastructure a little bit,” he said.
The website issues appear to have been fixed by early afternoon.
Scully speculated that the issue may have been because too many British Columbians were using the website on the program’s first day.
The $6 million program includes rebates ranging from $350 to $1,400. The top rebate is only available to those who earn less than $38,950. Those whose income falls between $38,951 and $51,130 are eligible for a $1,000 rebate, and those who earn more can claim $350.
Scully said he likes that the program is income-based.
“I feel like that’s a fair way to do it.”
E-bikes are growing in popularity, and Paredes says Vernon E Ride has seen an increase in sales every year since opening six years ago.
“It is very healthy but also eco-friendly. Gas is getting expensive all the time so people are trying to save some money and that is why they are taking on investment of e-bikes,” she said.
— With files from Wolf Depner