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The E-bike subsidy waiting game

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of clogging the already over congested streets of the Seattle

metropolis people chose to leave their cars at home and ride environmentally friendly electric

bikes? State and federal governments have already passed legislation that gives large tax

credits towards new EV purchases and installing solar power to houses. Why not help

the use of an even friendlier form of transportation like bike riding? The good news is

that several state legislatures agree with this sentiment and have already passed bills to do just

that, including recently Washington State. It is easy to see the potential benefits that e-bikes offer; reduced emissions, traffic alleviation, and simply a fun way to stay active in the everyday hustle and bustle of city life.

When you add up the mental, physical, environmental and financial impacts of replacing automobile trips with e-bikes, the savings are immense for both the individual and society.

Washington legislators also see this potential and have passed a bi partisan subsidy bill in the

spring of 2023 to incentivise the use of electric bikes as an alternative transportation option.

With an annual program budget of around $7 million this subsidy intends to help with the

relatively high initial cost of buying an electric bike by offering an up to $1,200 rebate at the point

of sale. The rebate will be based on a sliding scale dependent on income and will be managed

through the WSDOT. Our team at Seattle Electric Bike was genuinely thrilled about this bill.


As of the writing of this post, our team and other retailers around Puget Sound and Washington state have not heard a peep from WSDOT on a start date or even how the program will run for customers and retailers. It seems that bureaucratic hurdles, relatively low funding, and slow administrative process have hindered the launch of the program. As a result, many potential e-bike owners find themselves in a frustrating limbo, waiting for a subsidy that may never materialize.

Moreover, the prolonged wait for WSDOT’s e-bike subsidy can lead customers to miss out on

cost savings due to large discounts at local retailers and manufacturers. Most Pierce, King and

Snohomish county residents will likely only see a $300 subsidy where current discounts on

bikes in the offseason can be $500 and up. Also it doesn’t take an industry insider to see that

the bike industry has had a large pull-back after the pandemic “bike boom.” E-bikes are on sale

left and right and consumers can now take advantage of some amazing savings that will likely

fizzle out by the summer of 2024. By waiting for WSDOT’s subsidy to kick in, customers risk leaving money on the table, as the savings from the subsidy may not outweigh the discounted prices available this winter/spring.

Our advice is to visit us at Seattle Electric Bike or your local bike shop to see what deals are

available now. As opposed to waiting for a subsidy that may not materialize until after our

beautiful summer, or worse the prices have gone up due to increased demand.

We’ll continue to keep our ears to the ground for any news about this subsidy and will update

our readers with any new information.

Cheers and keep pedaling!

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