According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, a majority of trips away from home were less than three miles in length. Frequently, these trips fall in the awkward gap between “too long to walk” and “not worth the drive.” This tricky situation usually leads people to unnecessary car trips (if they have access to a vehicle), physical exhaustion or even canceled plans. However, in recent years, electric bicycles have hit the market, providing a great solution to fill this gap. Electric bikes, also called e-bikes, allow individuals a clean, inexpensive and fun way to travel short to medium distances.
While nearly identical to their non-motorized counterparts, electric bikes do add a little extra power through the addition of a battery. Just pedal as normal and the bike will match the motor’s output to your level of effort. In that way, it is really just an assist, as the motor won’t operate unless the rider is actively peddling or turns on “throttle” mode. Not only is it a great way to get some help on short commutes, but it also encourages more people to cycle: increasing physical activity and promoting healthy lifestyles.
Electric bikes are also incredibly inexpensive to operate. Charging an electric bicycle’s battery (using a common wall outlet) overnight costs only about 5 cents, but provides 20 – 40 miles of range. This is in part because they use so little energy, which also helps reduce its carbon footprint. According to a recent study, “carbon emissions could be reduced by 12 percent if just 15 percent of urban transportation miles traveled were instead made by e-bike.” In many ways, electric bikes are a win-win-win: for the rider, for the pocketbook and for the planet.
While different levels of government have proposed tax credits or rebates for the purchase of electric bikes, there are currently no such incentives available for Delaware residents. That is where Powering Our Future comes in. We want to encourage residents and organizations to make the switch, and will thus offer any household, business or nonprofit within New Castle County a $100 rebate* for a verified purchase of an electric bike. Submit a rebate request here.
*NOTE: Each household, business or nonprofit is limited to one bicycle rebate. There are a limited number of rebates allocated each quarter, with priority given to households within our current service area.