Rhode Island is cutting e-bike incentives due to a lack of program funds. 

After initially providing $400 or 30% of the bicycle’s price (whichever was lower), Rhode Island has now lowered its standard rebate for e-bikes to $350. Low-income residents previously eligible for a $1,000 rebate or 75% of the purchase price (whichever was lower) can now receive up to $750 per purchase. Therefore, low-income residents are seeing e-bike rebates cut by 25%. 

Changes to the programs also include the removal of Medicare from the list of qualifying programs for low-income rebates. The state argued that the inclusion of Medicare made high-income individuals over the age of 65 eligible for low-income rebates.

Furthermore, Rhode Island’s e-bike program now requires online sellers to have a physical location in Rhode Island to qualify for state incentives. 

These changes, implemented on August 1st, aim to sustain the long-term viability of the rebate programs. The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) restricted the rebate amounts due to a decrease in available funds. 

Since Rhode Island introduced its e-bike rebate program in October 2022, the program has provided $402,563 in income-qualified rebates and $140,912 in standard e-bike incentives. The remaining funds for income-qualified rebates stand at $40,000 after July, with $35,000 remaining for standard rebates.

There is potential assistance on the horizon. The state Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council recently authorized an additional $400,000 in electrification rebates. The funds would be divided between the e-bike and electric car sectors. The majority of the funding is expected to be approved in the council’s upcoming meeting in September.

Rhode Island’s situation highlights how e-bike rebates have been much more popular than politicians expected. Going forward, lawmakers must allocate additional funds to rebate programs in preparation for the first round of funds being depleted. 

Otherwise, more states will have to follow in Rhode Island’s disappointing footsteps.