DENVER (KDVR) — E-bikes are still a popular commodity across the Front Range.

Denver’s e-bike program has sold out within minutes. Wednesday morning, the state of Colorado’s Energy Office launched its e-bike rebate program. The system crashed initially, but it was back up shortly after that.

Many are excited about the state’s income-qualified rebate program, but one e-bike shop owner hopes the state learns from an issue he said Denver has not solved yet.

Kenny Fischer of FattE-Bikes knows a lot about electric bicycles and rebate programs to get them.

“We are actually Denver’s first locally born, electric bike company. We’ve been around since 2017, and we are one of the only e-bike companies to be both woman-owned and to build our bikes here in the USA,” said Fischer, who co-founded the business.

Denver e-bike company pushes for local sales

FattE-Bikes participates in Denver’s e-bike program, and now they are one of 100 retailers to participate in Colorado’s e-bike rebate program.

“Initially, last year, the launch of Denver’s e-bike rebate program was great for local bike shops. We definitely started seeing new customers coming in and people excited to get their bikes,” Fischer said. “However, later in the year as other brands were allowed to participate — let’s just say cheaper, less expensive brands — automatically, we noticed a dip in sales.”

Fischer said the bikes from larger manufacturers sell faster and more frequently through Denver’s rebate program. He wants Denver and the state to pause the programs to figure out a better way to promote local shops. Leaders of the state’s program said they did consider concerns from local retailers.

“We did think about that,” said Sarah Thorne, senior program manager at the Colorado Energy Office. “One thing to note about the state program is that it’s income-qualified only, so everyone that gets a rebate is considered a low- or moderate-income Coloradan. That is different from the Denver program. And we wanted to make sure that everyone would have access to affordable e-bikes, and sometimes that does include manufacturers, direct-to-consumer brands and some of those lower costs models.”

While Denver’s program offers standard and income-qualified rebates, the state’s program only offers an income-qualified rebate. Thorne said the goal is to make the program equitable.

“We wanted to make sure that everyone in the state who wanted to apply for this program had the opportunity to do so. They didn’t need to rely on library hours or to have access to computers, they didn’t need to rely on high-speed Internet access in order to get that in right on time. It just gives people a little bit more flexibility and comfort,” Thorne said.

Apply for the Colorado e-bike rebate

The state was able to launch this program after lawmakers passed an air quality improvement bill in 2022. The new law allocates $12 million for e-bikes, and the state is using $6.6 million for the e-bike rebate program. In order to qualify, you will need to make at or below 80% of the area median income.

Different from the Denver program, you can apply for the state’s program now through Monday, Aug. 21, at 1 p.m. You can learn more about the program and apply for it here.

The state will select around 7,000 people to get a rebate.