APTIM Makes e-bikes Safer and More Affordable
APTIM believes that generous rebate programs can make higher quality bikes with higher quality batteries more affordable.
We are in the midst of a major shift in transportation. For over a century, we have relied on a few types of vehicles to serve all our transportation needs. However, electrification is replacing that simplicity with a wide variety of options. In particular, new micromobility options, like e-bikes, enable more movement in less space with less congestion and pollution.
Although the first e-bike was patented in 1895, consumers now recognize that e-bikes can replace car trips, reduce household transportation costs, make our communities healthier, and mitigate climate change. The National Bicycle Dealers Association reports that e-bike sales nearly doubled last year in the U.S. to more than 800,000, about 4 percent of the total bike market. In many places across the U.S., these sales are being helped by state and local government rebate programs—there are over 30 active programs, with many more poised to become available very soon.
As enthusiastic as APTIM is about the ability of e-bikes to address congestion and pollution, we also believe in safety. It is a set of core shared attitudes, beliefs, and practices demonstrated by workers at all levels of the company. We recognize that the safety of e-bikes needs to improve.
For example, although the lithium-ion batteries used to power e-bikes are generally considered safe, problems can arise when poorly constructed batteries are used. Affluent consumers can afford e-bikes that come with highly safe batteries certified by Underwriter Laboratories, whose standards are among the industry’s most stringent, but many other consumers cannot. This safety issue is emerging as a problem for delivery workers, who rely on e-bikes to thread through congested streets but frequently purchase inexpensive models that come with cheap unbranded batteries of questionable quality. These cheaper batteries can mean a greater risk of fires and explosions, especially if they are damaged or charged improperly. In July, the New York City Housing Authority went so far as to propose banning the loosely defined category of “e-bikes” from public-housing apartments, where many delivery workers live, to address the rising number of building fires linked to lithium-ion batteries.
When it comes to reducing these risks, APTIM believes that generous rebate programs, such as the one APTIM currently administers for the city and county of Denver can make higher quality bikes with higher quality batteries more affordable. Through this highly popular program, each month, Denver residents can receive a rebate worth $400 or $1,200, depending on their income status (plus even more
for a cargo e-bike), at participating bike shops around the city. Since launching in April, APTIM has processed 3,200 rebates worth almost $2.5 million with thousands more residents on the waitlist. Nearly 60 percent of the rebates have gone to “under-resourced cyclists,” reports Mike Salisbury, the transportation energy lead for the city and county of Denver. This program demonstrates that safety and affordability are not incongruous, and both of these important objectives can be met with properly designed rebate programs.
As other state and local governments consider e-bike rebate programs, APTIM’s team of e-mobility experts stand ready to help to manage the funding streams, determine funding priorities and assessment metrics, identify strategic partners, minimize delays in processing rebates, and provide advice about how to keep participants safe. We have the knowledge and experience to help design an e-bike rebate program that ensures both equity and safety. We stand ready to work with manufacturers and distributors to ensure inclusion of top-notch, certified batteries; partner with retailers to incorporate other ancillary safety items, such as outlet timers, to ensure plugs won’t go overhead; and develop more holistic rebate packages to include helmets, lights, and bells, which are known to be critical to preventing serious injuries.
For more information on e-bike rebates or how APTIM can help you develop and implement a rebate the program, reach out to the APTIM team today.
Business Development Director, Clean Technology
APTIM. Expect the Extraordinary.
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