E-bike Incentives

UBC REACT Lab Study Results Released

Final results of the Cost-Effectiveness of Electric Bicycle Incentives for Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Travel Behaviour and Greenhouse Gas Impacts of the Saanich E-Bike Incentive Program are now available. See news release about the study or view the study itself at https://reactlab.civil.ubc.ca/saanich-ebike-incentives/. 

A webinar on April 30th, 2024 was held to share the findings and a recording is available, along with select slides.  

Saanich E-Bike Incentive Program Pilot - History

The District of Saanich's Community E-bike Incentive Pilot Program launched on October 12, 2021. The program is now closed. This highly popular program offered Saanich residents incentives to purchase new e-bikes for personal transportation. As a result, there are now over 380 Saanich residents able to travel in an emission-free, healthy, and sustainable way. Over 100 incentives were provided in each of the three income-based incentive tiers. Thank you to the funders, partners and supporters who made the pilot possible. 

On February 13, 2023, an interim report on the initial findings from the E-Bike pilot was presented to Saanich Council, showing that the program is successfully delivering greenhouse gas emissions savings while providing important co-benefits such as improved transportation affordability. One of the rationales for the Saanich E-bike Incentive Program Pilot was to share data and a proof-of-concept for this innovative approach, with the hope that it would be taken up at a wider scale and result in support and funding from higher levels of government. 

Following the great success of Saanich’s award-winning e-bike incentive pilot program in 2021-22, the Province launched an BC Electric Bike Rebate Program in 2023. For more information, visit bcebikerebates.ca.

Saanich provided $30,000 in top-up funding to the provincial program for Saanich residents. This top-up funding provided incentives for additional residents (not larger incentives per person). Saanich top-up funding was incorporated into the provincial registration process and no additional application to Saanich was required.

A final report to Saanich Council on the results of the UBC study on the Saanich E-bike Incentive Program will be presented on May 6th. Check the Council agenda page for details. 

Please join the E-bike E-news list if you are interested in updates about e-bike programs in Saanich or other e-bike news relevant to Saanich residents.

For more information about e-bikes, review this e-bike factsheet [PDF - 4 MB] and vehicle cost comparison sheet [PDF - 407 KB]. A short summary of the pilot [PDF - 2 MB] is also available. 

Saanich E-bike Incentive Pilot Program Funders, Partners and Supporters

Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Municipal Fund

The pilot was partially funded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Green Municipal Fund (GMF). Read more here.

Community Social Planning Council (CSPC) of Greater Victoria

The CSPC partnered with Saanich to advance climate justice in the region, supporting the incorporation of equity into the program pilot design. This has been supported by funding from the Vancouver Foundation for the CSPC Transportation, Access, Climate, and Economic Security (TACES) Program and Vancity. Saanich staff benefitted from CSPC input on equity in program design throughout the design process, including their facilitation of workshops with local providers of income-qualified programs on best practices and alignment opportunities, convening a lived experience advisory committee, and working with the Inter Cultural Association (ICA) of Greater Victoria, the City of Victoria, the Capital Regional District (CRD), and Capital Bike on an event with the ICA’s adult English Language Learners to learn about road safety, try e-bikes on newly completed AAA bike infrastructure, and learn how it fit into climate action in the region.

UBC Research on Active Transportation Lab
Since understanding the effects of incentive programs is vital to determining whether they continue and expand in the future, Saanich was interested in partnership with academic researchers. Saanich partnered with researchers at the UBC REACT Lab; a group dedicated to finding ways to make transportation systems more effective, sustainable, equitable, and healthy and who were interested in accessing data from a local e-bike incentive program. A research project on the pilot incentive program was established with funding from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and support letters and funding from Saanich, the Capital Regional District (CRD), the CSPC, and non-profit One Earth. Final study results are available here

Local Government Networks

The pilot benefitted from work completed by the City of Victoria with UBC REACT Lab on the potential design of a municipal e-bike incentive program, and the work completed by the Capital Regional District to collect essential data and analysis to support the feasibility study for the pilot, including the Origin-Destination Travel Survey, conducted every 5 years, and a region-wide survey on barriers to e-bike adoption conducted as part of the Electric Vehicle and Electric Bike Infrastructure Planning Guide. The pilot was also informed by the work completed by the City of Nelson in their e-bike loan program. 

Provincial support and SCRAP-IT Program
The District benefitted from the input of Provincial staff from multiple ministries to help inform the feasibility study and pilot design, including updates on the performance of the Scrap-IT e-bike incentives and opportunities to align with income-testing approaches at the provincial level for other climate programs, and from SCRAP-IT program representatives sharing information about their e-bike incentive program. 

Urban Climate Practitioners Networks
The pilot also benefitted from the work done by the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) on climate equity, specifically the Equity Foundations course accessed by Saanich staff, and the resources produced by the Canadian Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) on centering equity in climate programs.

Local E-bike Vendors
The pilot benefited from collaboration with local e-bike vendors, including those who offered feedback in the design of the pilot and those who opted into becoming Participant Vendors to offer point of sale incentives to pre-approved participants, and then being reimbursed by Saanich. This point-of-sale incentive approach had two goals. The first was to encourage participants to choose local vendors who provided on-site maintenance and repair service. The second was to assess the importance of removing upfront cost barriers to e-bike access, especially for income-qualified participants. This approach would not have been possible without the collaboration of local vendors, and the process received positive feedback from vendors and participants.