California Statewide Program FAQ's

As of March 16, 2023 - The California E-Bike Incentive Project is a statewide consumer-facing incentive program that aims to provide point-of-sale voucher incentives — for the purchase of electric bicycles — to residents in disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households with an annual household income of less than 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

Eligible applicants can receive up to $1,000 in incentives. Additional incentives of $250 are available for Californians living in either a disadvantaged or low-income community, or who have an annual household income at or below 225% of FPL. In addition, an additional $750 in incentives is available for cargo e-bikes and adaptive e-bikes.

Pedal Ahead has been selected to administer the statewide eBike incentive program. For more information on the selection process click HERE.

What is the current status of the program?

The California E-Bike Incentive Project is in the developmental phase with a targeted launch in the second quarter of 2023.

Please note, however, that delays can occur during program development.

CARB is working closely with the program administrator to develop and finalize the application process and to ensure all systems are ready for the highly anticipated program launch.

Who will be eligible for an incentive through the e-bike program?

Eligibility will be limited to California residents who are 18 years and older whose gross annual household income is less than 300% of FPL.

One incentive is available per individual.

Based on 2023 FPL guidelines, the following would be maximum income levels to qualify:

Federal Poverty Guidelines

How much funding is available?

$7.5 million is available for e-bike incentives.

How much will incentive vouchers be worth?

The base incentive voucher amount is $1,000.

An additional $250 incentive is available for participants who either have a household income at or below 225% of FPL, live in a disadvantaged community as defined by CalEnviroScreen 4.0, or live in a low-income community as defined by Assembly Bill 1550.

An additional $750 incentive is available for the purchase of a cargo e-bike or an adaptive e-bike.

The voucher amount may be redeemed for up to the total approved amount, with a maximum of $2,000. Incentives cannot be more than the total cost of the e-bike, including taxes and any other eligible equipment and fees associated with the purchase.

Will the needs-based methodology include prioritization for applicants?

Yes, the program will create a $5 million set-aside for priority applicants.

Priority will be given to:

Examples include CalWORKs/TANF, Medicaid, Section 8 for Very Low- and Extremely Low- Income Classifications

How will the $5 million set-aside work?

The first $2.5 million of funding will be open to all eligible applicants.

Once $2.5 million is exhausted, the remaining $5 million will be limited to priority applicants.

How do I apply?

Applications will be accepted through an online portal on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Additional documentation requirements are still in development and will be posted on the program website.

The website will be available soon.

Once I receive an incentive voucher, how do I purchase an e-bike?

Once approved, consumers will be notified via email and have 30 days to purchase their e-bike at an authorized retailer (see requirements below).

Consumers may request a one-time extension if the desired e-bike is unavailable within the 30-day window.

The incentive voucher will be redeemed at the point-of-sale by an authorized retailer (see below).

The approved incentive amount will be deducted from the total sales price. 

If I miss the first round of funding, will a waiting list be established?

A waiting or reservation list will only be created if there is a short amount of time expected between when funding is exhausted and new funding becomes available. 

Information about any potential future waiting or reservation list will be provided on the program website.

Can I submit a receipt for an e-bike I previously purchased?

No. Incentives cannot be applied retroactively.

Which e-bikes are eligible and what are the equipment and manufacturer requirements?

Incentive vouchers can be used to purchase new e-bikes from established California-based retailers/brands that meets the following criteria:

  • Class 1, 2, and 3 of e-bikes are eligible. (Classes are based on maximum speed limits.)
  • Operable pedals and an electric motor of less than or equal to 750 watts

Equipment and manufacturer requirements:

  • Must have integrated front and rear lights
  • Must be fully assembled
  • Minimum one-year manufacturer warranty on all electrical components

A list of eligible e-bikes that meet these criteria will be available on the program website prior to the program launching.

Are there any e-bikes that are not eligible to purchase?
  • Used e-bikes
  • Bicycles modified with an e-bike conversion kit
  • E-bike conversion kit
  • E-bikes outside of the three-class system 
  • Off-road specific use (i.e. full-suspension eMtb’s)
  • Scooters and mopeds
How do I find an authorized retailer?

Authorized retailers are established California-based retailers/brands.

A full list of authorized e-bike retailers will be made available on the program website.

How do I become an authorized retailer?

Retailers must complete and return an online application, which will be made available in the coming weeks. 

Additional information on how to become an eligible retailer will be made available on our program website soon.

What is the criteria for brick and mortar e-bike retailers?

Retailers must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Corporate office in California
  • Storefront presence in California
  • California-based manufacturing

Retailers must ensure a process is in place to sell an e-bike, fully assembled, without any additional expense to the incentive recipient.

Are online retailers eligible to participate?

Yes, however online retailers will need to satisfy at least one of the following criteria:

  • Corporate office in California
  • Product available in California-based storefront 
  • California-based manufacturing

Online retailers must guarantee the delivery of a fully assembled e-bike without any additional expense to the incentive recipient. In addition, the retailer must have the ability to supply parts to local or mobile service providers so participants can access repairs and services.

Are there any ownership requirements for the incentive recipient?

Incentive recipients are required to maintain ownership of the e-bike for at least one year.

More details will become available on the website prior to launch.

SANDAG Program FAQ's

How is SANDAG partnering with Pedal Ahead to launch a pilot program?

SANDAG is partnering with Pedal Ahead to incentivize the use of electric bikes (e-bikes) to make it easier for people to travel throughout their communities.

Building on the existing Pedal Ahead program, this pilot project will help people reduce their reliance on driving for neighborhood trips and better connect to regional transit options.  

Beginning in fall 2022, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) will support the recruitment of up-to 125 new participants to help us better understand how eBikes enhance quality of life while expanding access to destinations in the San Diego region. LEARN MORE HERE

How does the SANDAG eBike incentive Pilot Program differ from the existing Pedal Ahead program?

Similar to the existing Pedal Ahead program, the program will prioritize lower income residents and focus on people needing expanded travel options.

The pilot program seeks a range of participants residing across the region with varying lifestyles, including students, retired people, and people desiring a new travel option for errands, physical exercise, and social activities. 

Program requirements will differ slightly and participants enrolled in the program will be required to ride a minimum of 100 miles per month.  

General FAQ's

What is the Pedal Ahead program?

Pedal Ahead was initiated in September 2020 in partnership with County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher to serve as an alternative to automobile transportation through socially conscious transportation.

The program is growing to increase e-bike ridership throughout all of San Diego County with a sustained focus to serve residents living in under served communities.

Riders use a GPS app to track trip distances and transportation and recreation patterns, which are collected by Pedal Ahead to better understand program impacts.

Through the adoption of e-bikes, Pedal Ahead’s goal is to enhance quality of life for participants using e-bikes for both commuting and recreational activities.

Through phased integration, Pedal Ahead will create a network of individually operated e-bikes that are initially loaned and eventually owned by participants at the program’s two-year conclusion. 

Where must I live to qualify for the Pedal Ahead community e-bike program?

To qualify for the Pedal Ahead program, you must be a resident of any San Diego County Supervisorial District, meaning anyone residing within any San Diego County ZIP Code is welcome to apply to participate in the program.

Is the Pedal Ahead program supported by County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher?

Absolutely! County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher is an avid cyclist and electric bike enthusiast. He has recognized the importance of electric bicycles for addressing our environmental challenges, promoting healthy living; and supports all cycling cultures. In a now vibrant and bikeable District 4, Pedal Ahead is making this vision a reality.

Where are Pedal Ahead electric bikes available?

Pedal Ahead has e-bikes available to participants in all San Diego County Supervisorial Districts, with an emphasis on people with low income, unreliable transportation, and lack of nutritional food sources in their immediate area.

What electric bicycle model is available in this program?

Pedal Ahead electric bicycles are the popular Electra Bicycles Townie GO! 7D, or of equal specifications.

The e-Bikes are simple to use, have comfortable saddles, and feature with three levels of pedal assist — meaning the rider must be pedaling to receive the electric boost from the motor.  

Each bicycle is new, whereas participants  receive a new bike at the beginning of the loan-to-own period. We service each unit upon delivery. Sample photos.

How do I join the Pedal Ahead Movement?

Due to high volume the Pedal Ahead community e-bike program is currently NOT accepting new applicants.

After your application is submitted, Pedal Ahead staff will review the application and contact you via email to relay next steps.

Pedal Ahead  does not share participant information with third parties. 

What are the participant requirements?

Participate in Pedal Ahead for a minimum of 2 years

  • Commit to using the e-bike for a minimum of 150 miles* per month (i.e., an average of 5 miles per day) (*mileage requirements slightly differ for participants enrolled in the SANDAG pilot program launching in fall 2022)
  • Record mileage on the free Strava mobile app and request to join Pedal Ahead in “groups” within the app
  • Participants secure annual personal bicycle insurance. Insurance is necessary for liability, loss, theft, and damage to the e-bike.
    • Pedal Ahead has recommended vendors (State Farm, Simple Bike Insurance).

After successful completion of the program, including meeting all program requirements, participants will be offered ownership of the bicycle.

Participants who do not reach the minimum mileage level will be offered the opportunity to own the e-bike at a prorated cost (TBD).

Who are Pedal Ahead’s community center partners?

Pedal Ahead works with Stay True Cycle Works, Trek – Bonita, and California Bicycles among others for program participant support, meetings, group rides, neighborhood forums, e-bike distribution, maintenance, skills training, and rider safety education.

This e-bike resource network of locations continues to grow as we expand regionally.

Every month we announce the location and times for group meetings and DIY maintenance opportunites.

Do I have to be an expert cyclist to receive a Pedal Ahead e-bike?

Absolutely not.

The Pedal Ahead program is open to riders 18 years and older with all bicycling abilities.

We encourage participants to use the e-bikes to get to work, school and/or recreation destinations while leading active and healthy lifestyles.

Monthly classes will include opportunities to learn more about e-bikes, how to ride safely, maintenance and bicycle security and other bicycle-related topics. 

What about e-bike safety and security?

Pedal Ahead will be providing each participant with a safety and visibility package that includes front and rear lights integrated into each e-bike, a helmet with integrated light, high visibility vest, and U-lock with cable for security.

Each e-bike will also be equipped with devices that secure front wheels and seats.

Pedal Ahead will provide instructions on how accessories and safety features are operated. 

How does Pedal Ahead support workforce development in the bicycle industry?

Through support from SDG&E and The San Diego Foundation's COVID-19 Response Fund, Pedal Ahead supports workforce development in these under-served communities by providing an opportunity to the targeted age group (18-26) to participate in internships, mentorships, and education classes through a Community Center partnership with Mesa College, Adams Avenue Business Association, San Diego Workforce Partnership, and Outdoor Outreach.

Pedal Ahead has worked with leaders in the bicycle industry to develop a curriculum to include small business entrepreneurship, marketing and sales, and mechanical bicycle maintenance.

Through a network of partners in both the local and national bicycling industries, the program will also allow additional opportunities for young adults to gain real-world work experiences, which include learning how to perform maintenance on traditional and electric bicycles, group rides, and participating in events that support the Pedal Ahead program.

  • For more information, and to sign up, email Pedal Ahead at