University Bicycles, in downtown Boulder, is one of the local shops participating in the city's e-bike rebate program. Credit: John Herrick

The City of Boulder received more than 1,200 voucher applications to help residents cover the cost of buying an electric bike, according to city data provided to Boulder Reporting Lab, far exceeding the 200 vouchers available. 

The vouchers will provide a point-of-sale discount on certain e-bikes at participating Boulder County bike shops. They were given away through the city’s first e-bike lottery, which closed July 19. 

Officials said they set aside about $190,000 for the 200 vouchers. The sheer number of applications indicates the incentive program is popular among residents. 

The goal is to get more people out of their vehicles and onto bikes in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and toxic ozone-forming pollution. Separately, the Boulder City Council earlier this year passed an ordinance allowing e-bikes on certain open space trails. 

The city is compiling data from applicants on the number of miles they travel by vehicle in a given week to better understand the program’s potential impact. 

During the application period, residents were asked to apply for one of four e-bike vouchers: a $300 discount for a standard e-bike or a $500 discount for a cargo e-bike. For residents who met income requirements, they could apply for $1,200 for a standard e-bike or $1,400 for a cargo e-bike. 

The 200 vouchers will be split evenly among the four categories, according to the city, though a larger share of the money will end up going to income-qualified voucher holders. 

Most of the applicants — 648 — sought an income-qualified voucher. Those vouchers are available to residents who earn up to 80% the area median family income — $66,700 for an individual, according to federal guidelines. 

By comparison, 496 residents sought a standard voucher, according to city data.  

Applicants who are selected for the voucher will need to submit proof of residency. If they applied for an income-qualified voucher, they will need to show proof of income. They will have 45 days to use the vouchers at one of at least a dozen participating Boulder County bike shops. Businesses will then be reimbursed by the city.

Separately, state incentives to buy an e-bike are expected to go live in August. Those incentives cannot be used with the city’s voucher on the same e-bike purchase, according to the city. 

The discount applies to class 1 and class 2 e-bikes, which typically max out at 20 miles per hour. The vouchers cannot be used to purchase a full-suspension mountain e-bike, according to the city.

The city is planning a second voucher lottery in September. To receive an email alert for the next round, sign up for the city’s e-bikes program email list.

John Herrick is senior reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering housing, transportation, policing and local government. He previously covered the state Capitol for The Colorado Independent and environmental policy for He is interested in stories about people, power and fairness. Email:

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