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October 13, 2021, 6:00 pm

Saanich Launches New Pilot Program to Help More Residents Switch to e-Bikes

District of Saanich
SAANICH - The District of Saanich is piloting a new program that offers a rebate to residents purchasing a new electrically assisted bicycle (e-bike). Saanich is the first local government in BC to provide rebates for e-bikes aimed at helping residents switch to active and electric mobility in an effort to reduce local greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The pilot program is estimated to save between 1,000 – 2,000 tonnes of GHG emissions by 2030, contributing to the Climate Plan goal of cutting community GHG emissions in half by 2030. Ensuring equity in climate action is also an important objective of the Climate Plan. The e-bike incentive program is therefore designed to be accessible to everyone, regardless of income level.

The incentive is easy to access and can be claimed by participants after the purchase, or applied to the sale price of the e-bike at participating local bike stores. Applicants must be Saanich residents and can apply for one e-bike incentive per household. Incentives range from $350 to $1600 and residents can pre-register and find participating bike stores and additional program details at saanich.ca/ebike.

To ensure economic and social benefits are being delivered in addition to environmental benefits, Saanich is actively engaging with the public and local and regional partners. The District is partnering with the Greater Victoria Community Social Planning Council through the Transportation Access, Climate, Economic Security (Transportation ACES) program. Transportation ACES is evaluating and providing advice on equity considerations in the e-bike pilot program. The District is also working with researchers at the UBC REACT Lab to assess the impacts of the pilot program on travel behaviour and GHG emissions.

In addition to providing e-bike rebates, the Community E-bike Incentive Pilot Program is also aiming to increase awareness of the benefits of e-bikes. E-bikes offer energy efficient and emission-free transportation and can contribute to improved overall health. They run on renewable, low-carbon electricity and deliver similar exercise benefits as regular bikes while making it easier to bike with kids, groceries, up hills and over longer distances.

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. Owning and operating an e-bike also comes at a lower cost compared to a vehicle. An average motor vehicle costs over $7,000 a year, while a typical e-bike costs less than $1,000. If used to replace vehicle ownership, an e-bike pays for itself within the first few months of ownership and can deliver thousands of dollars in annual household savings.

Quotes

"The Community Social Planning Council is pleased to see the launch of the Saanich e-bike program with subsidies set aside for low-income households. The Community Council has been working with Saanich to support an equity and diversity focus in the e-bike program under our Transportation ACES program as part of our climate equity work."
– Diana Gibson, Executive Director, Greater Victoria Community Social Planning Council

“There is lots of excitement right now around the growing interest in and potential for e-bikes to help contribute to some of our long-term goals around livability, affordability, and sustainability. To successfully incorporate e-bikes (and e-bike promotion) in our climate action plans, robust evidence on the real-world, long-term impacts of e-bike adoption on greenhouse gas emissions is crucial. So we are very excited to be able to partner with Saanich on this initiative, and conduct a rigorous scientific study of program impacts.”
– Dr. Alex Bigazzi, Lead Researcher at the University of British Columbia’s REACT Lab

“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. 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.” 
– Mayor Fred Haynes, District of Saanich

Learn more
More information about Saanich’s new Community E-bike Incentive Pilot Program is available at saanich.ca/ebike.

Media contact
Erika Schade
Communications Manager
erika.schade@saanich.ca
250- 475-7638
 
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