Almost 200 people in Tasmania have received rebates for new e-bikes under a government program, but more than $100,000 is still up for grabs.
The e-bike rebate program opened on 17 November 2023 and the last round begins at 11am on 17 February 2024 and ends when the money runs out. The Climate Change Office is administering the program and expects the fund to be expended this financial year, but says rebates will offered until all money in the fund is spent on e-bikes.
The rebates are part of the Tasmanian Government’s current Climate Action Plan. Emissions from vehicle travel make up 20% of the state’s total emissions (excluding land use emissions) so getting people to swap car trips for e-bike trips can help reduce our impact.
As at 29 January, $86,856 had been issued in grants for e-bikes for 194 Tasmanians. The fund is also open to people buying e-scooters or other micromobility options, but these have been less popular than bikes and have only received 34 successful applications.
More rebates have gone to southern riders (105 applicants), followed by the north-west at 81 people and the north with 42.
Applications are being made daily and 26 applications are waiting to be assessed. Some people are not reading the guidelines before making an application, and 26 applications were declined due to ineligibility. Key eligibility requirements are for applicants to be Tasmanian residents aged over 16 years who purchase a legally defined e-bike from a Tasmanian shop for personal transport.
Local bike shops say they have noticed the uptick in interest in e-bikes for transport as a result of the rebate program.
Brendan Spurr, who owns Bicycle Centre Burnie says about 95% of people coming in to buy an e-bike are aware of the rebate.
"The past four to five weeks have been crazy. We’ve always done quite well with e-bikes but it increased in mid November and is still cranking now. I’ve got eight e-bikes going out this week," Spurr says.
He said the rebate was helping some people opt for a higher quality bike, which would last longer and provide a better riding experience.
“I’d like to see the government do this again in November as its good way to get people out on bikes and good for shops’ turnover."
Spurr also attributes the increased interest in commuter e-bikes to completion of new sections of the Coastal Pathway
“New bike paths have helped us tap into a whole new market of people – aged 50 plus who don’t want to ride on the road.”
He expects another boom in sales when the Burnie and Wynyard councils finish the pathway between the two cities in September this year.
Matt Gordon at My Ride in Launceston has also noticed more customers coming in wanting e-bikes who are aware of the rebate.
“When the rebate first started we were informing customers about it, but now they are generally already in the loop,” he says.
“Lots of our new e-bike customers are skewing older and are buying to ease the burden of Launceston's hills. It's great to see the utility aspect of e-bikes being realised. We have customers who rarely use their cars for around-town trips anymore.”