Saanich launches pilot program to help residents switch to e-bikes

Saanich launches pilot program to help residents switch to e-bikes
District of Saanich

The District of Saanich is piloting a new program that offers a rebate to residents purchasing a new electrically assisted bicycle (e-bikes).

According to the District, it is the first local government in B.C. to provide such rebates, aimed at helping residents switch to active and electric mobility in an effort to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions.

The pilot program is estimated to save between 1,000 – 2,000 tonnes of GHG emissions by 2030, says the District of Saanich, and the e-bike incentive program is designed to be accessible to everyone, regardless of income level.

“E-bikes have become an increasingly popular mode of transportation and by providing a rebate on the purchase price, we want to help more folks purchase and use them to get around,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes.

“By making them more affordable, we hope more families will be able to utilize e-bikes as a climate-friendly transportation option that shrinks transportation costs, enhances their fitness and helps the environment.”

The incentive program allows participants to claim the rebate at after the purchase of an e-bike or apply it directly to the sale price at participating bike stores.

The district says applicants must be Saanich residents and only one e-bike incentive can be applied for per household.

Incentives range from $350 to $1,600 with further details on the program available at

The district says it will be working with researchers at the UBC REACT Lab to assess the impacts of the pilot program on travel behaviour and GHG emissions.

“There is lots of excitement right now around the growing interest in and potential for e-bikes to help contribute to some of our long-term goals around livability, affordability, and sustainability,” Dr. Alex Bigazzi, Lead Researcher at the University of British Columbia’s REACT Lab.

“To successfully incorporate e-bikes in our climate action plans, robust evidence on the real-world, long-term impacts of e-bike adoption on greenhouse gas emissions is crucial. So we are very excited to be able to partner with Saanich on this initiative, and conduct a rigorous scientific study of program impacts.”

The district adds that the hope is to increase awareness of the benefits of e-bikes as well.

“E-bikes offer energy efficient and emission-free transportation and can contribute to improved overall health. They run on renewable, low-carbon electricity and deliver similar exercise benefits as regular bikes while making it easier to bike with kids, groceries, up hills and over longer distances,” reads a statement from Saanich.

According to officials, with the average bike trip length being 3.3 km and the average e-bike trip length being 6.1 km in Saanich, e-bikes can replace the average 5.3 km car trip more efficiently than traditional bikes.

If an e-bike is used to replace a motor vehicle, the district emphasizes that it will pay for itself within the first few months of ownership and can deliver thousands of dollars in annual household savings.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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