Income-qualified Santa Monica residents are one step closer to an opportunity to receive up to $2,000 toward a new e-bike, thanks to a grant-funded City voucher program highlighted Tuesday to the City Council. 

The Office of Sustainability and the Environment is applying for $157,000 in funding from the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program to provide approximately 75 vouchers to income-qualifying households. If the grant application is successful, the City anticipates funding in early 2024 and, after a community outreach period, the vouchers would be distributed via an estimated three lotteries taking place in spring 2024. 

“I’m excited for the e-bike voucher program to take another step forward,” City Manager David White said. “The benefits of this program are numerous, including helping the City move toward its emission reduction goals, promoting active transportation, creating partnerships with local businesses, and making access to sustainable transportation more equitable.”  

Staff proposed the following criteria for the anticipated program: 

Income Thresholds: Residents who are already enrolled in one or more low-income assistance programs, such as Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA), California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE), or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), OR meet the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of low-income at 80 percent of Area Median Income would be eligible to apply. ​ 

Subsidy Amount: ​Each voucher would provide up to $2,000 to cover the cost of the bike and eligible accessories, such as a helmet, lights, and/or lock. 

Number of Vouchers: ​Approximately 75 vouchers would be issued, with more available as funding allows. 

Similar e-bike voucher programs are currently in place in the cities of Pasadena, San Diego, and Denver, and there is also a state incentive program anticipated soon. The City will continue to update the community on the e-bike voucher program and will conduct city-wide outreach on when and how applications will be accepted.  

The City of Santa Monica is committed to finding equitable ways to reduce carbon emissions and improve access to clean and active transportation options. Learn more about the City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, including the Electrify Santa Monica rebate program, which offers rebates on electric appliances, e-bikes, electric vehicle chargers, and more to anyone in the City.

Submitted by Tati Simonian, Acting Public Information Officer