To mark the start of electric bike season in Canada, Electric Autonomy presents a cross-country roundup of e-bike rebates, leading e-bike brands and e-bike sharing and rental options
The electric bike market in North America is experiencing a boost in popularity, with Canada leading the way as the fastest-growing jurisdiction on the continent.
And with the global market for e-bikes projected to reach US$55.6 billion by 2030 from US$23.2 billion in 2022, according to new research by Market Research Future, we’re nowhere near the peak.
This surging demand can be attributed to several factors, including the fact that e-bike adoption can significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and help reach the government’s transportation emission targets.
“If you can take a car off the road and put an e-bike on, you’re lightening up the traffic load as well as carbon emissions,” says Michael Pasquali, co-founder and director of the Canadian Electric Bicycle Association (CEBA) in an interview with Electric Autonomy. “You’re killing two birds with one stone and that’s the lowest hanging fruit to achieve carbon emission goals.”
Affordable and versatile
Additionally, e-bikes are a much more affordable form of transportation for consumers compared to regular vehicles.
On average, the cost to buy a good quality e-bike runs between $1,500 to $2,000. That’s more than a typical pedal bike, but for many riders, e-bikes are more versatile, enabling them to go farther, and can be used more often.
Depending on where buyers live, there’s one more potential bonus: rebate programs, linked to emission reduction targets, which can cut prices further.
In Canada, unlike with new passenger EVs, trucks and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, the federal government does not give any rebates for the purchase of a new e-bike. However, there are currently seven rebate programs at the provincial or municipal level to help consumers purchase an e-bike.
Meanwhile, for those who prefer not to buy an e-bike, or who want to try one first, many bike-sharing and bike rental services now offer e-bikes for hire.
The following guide to e-bike rebates and bike-sharing solutions in Canada looks at both. We kick off with a complete list of e-bike incentive programs and a roundup of e-bike brands that program users might consider. After that, a roundup of bike-sharing and e-bike rental options in cities across Canada completes the pedals-with-power package.
Provincial and municipal rebates
Rebate programs that are currently available for e-bike purchases in Canada include:
Electrify Nova Scotia: $500 off for the purchase of a new e-bike from a retailer with a physical storefront in Nova Scotia.
Prince Edward Island E-Bike Incentive: $500 off for the purchase of a new e-bike that costs less than $1,200 and that goes no faster than 32 kilometres an hour.
Yukon Clean Energy rebate: 25 per cent off the cost of a new electric bicycle, up to a maximum of $750 off the purchase of a new e-bike or up to $1,500 on a new electric cargo bicycle.
Scrap-It Program: $750 rebate for the purchase of an e-bike for all B.C. residents, with the condition that participants scrap a qualifying vehicle and you purchase a new electric bike from a Participating Electric Bicycle Retailer. The program also operates in Alberta, where residents can get a rebate of $500 for an e-bike. The Scrap-it program is operated by the BC SCRAP-IT Program Society, a registered not-for-profit independent society.
North Vancouver E-Bike Program: The city is planning a pilot project targeted towards 100 median-to-low-income households to provide up to $1,600 off an e-bike. The timeline for when the pilot will be launched will be determined later in April when the city council goes over the 2023 municipal budget, says a spokesperson in an email to Electric Autonomy.
Nelson E-Bike Program: Homeowners in Nelson, B.C., can receive a loan of up to $8,000 for the purchase of one or more e-bikes. Participants can choose an amortization period of two or five years, with an interest rate of 3.5 per cent.
Banff Residential E-Bike Rebate: $750 to $1,000 off the purchase of a new e-bike.
Purchasing e-bikes in Canada
As Canadians’ interest in e-bikes increase, the country has attracted and inspired a growing number of companies to design, manufacture, and sell e-bikes in Canada.
“The e-bikes available in Canada vary from a small folding bike that you can fold up and take on the train or a bus, right up to mountain bikes, city bikes and tricycles. You can even get fat bikes with big fat tires on them for all-terrain vehicles,” says Pasquali. “There is a wide variety for Canadians.”
British Columbia is home to some of Canada’s most well-known e-bike manufacturers: Pedego Canada, Ohm Electric Bikes, Surface 604, Electric Fat Bike Company and Alter Ego Bikes are all headquartered in the province.
Bike-sharing an option
For Canadians who do not have access to rebates or who do not want to commit to buying an e-bike just yet, plenty of municipalities across the country have now adopted e-bike-sharing programs.
These programs allow local commuters, tourists and many other types of riders the benefit of renting out an e-bike for a low fee.
“It’s great that there are electric bike rentals out there that will get people trying e-bikes — that have maybe never tried them before — for the first time,” says Pasquali. “That will encourage the growth of electric bicycles.”
Municipalities such as Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver operate their own public bike-sharing programs. Others are considering them. Meanwhile, almost 20 other Canadian cities have e-bike sharing programs that are run by micro-mobility providers like Bird Canada, Lime and Neuron.
Bixi Montreal: The company has the largest fleet of electric bikes in Canada and one of the largest in North America with 2,395 electric bikes and 184 electric stations. In 2022, Bixi added nearly 500 electric bikes, about 30 new electric stations and 765 additional docking points to its network. Electric Bixis were used on average 24 per cent more often than regular ones, says Bixi in a press release.
Cost: Non-member one-way passes are $0.30 per minute on e-bikes. Monthly membership is $20 or $99 for an annual pass, with e-bike fares lowered to $0.13 per minute.
Bike Share Toronto: As part of its four-year growth plan, Bike Share Toronto started adding e-bikes to its fleet and now has 525 e-bikes and 15 new e-stations since the end of 2022. By 2025, they plan to have an e-bike fleet of 2,000 and more than 100 e-stations.
Cost: One-way passes are $3.25 for a single, 30-minute ride. An extra $4 is charged for every additional 30 minutes. A 24-hour access pass is $7 and a 72-hour access pass is $15. Annual membership passes range between $99 to $115
Mobi by Shaw Go: Vancouver’s public e-bike share system added its first 500 electric bikes to its fleet, along with 50 new stations last summer.
Cost: Pay-per-ride rates cost $1.50 to unlock an e-bike and $0.35 per minute thereafter. Riders can also opt into buying a 24-hour pass for $15, a monthly membership pass for $30, or a one-year membership for $129.
Bird Canada: operates in 16 cities across Canada including Ottawa, Windsor, Airdrie, Calgary, Edmonton, Leduc, Medicine Hat, Okotoks, Red Deer and St-Albert and most recently, Hamilton, Brampton and Oshawa. Earlier this year, Bird Canada merged with Bird Global. Bird Canada also offers electric scooter rentals.
Lime: operates its fleet of e-bikes and e-scooters in North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Kelowna, Richmond and Edmonton.
Neuron: rents out e-bikes in Calgary, Vernon and Lethbridge, Alta. In addition, their e-scooters operate in Red Deer, Airdrie and Ottawa.
Spin: operates an e-bike-sharing program in Kelowna, B.C.
Evo: The car-sharing company launched the Evolve e-bike-sharing pilot program last summer in Whistler, with 60 e-bikes. Each e-bike came with a complimentary helmet. Evo also offers e-bike sharing services for businesses in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler.