State launches $250,000 e-bike rebate program

EAST PROVIDENCE – Come Oct. 24, the state will open up a new electric bicycle rebate program, offering residents reimbursements for purchasing e-bikes in an effort to support clean transportation in Rhode Island.

Gov. Daniel J. McKee and R.I. Office of Energy Resources Interim Commissioner Christopher Kearns announced Wednesday the launch of the Erika Niedowski Memorial Electric Bike Rebate Program, part of the state’s “DRIVE” electric vehicle program. The program will make available $250,000 in total rebates – $150,000 for low- to moderate-income residents and $100,000 for other residents – on a first-come, first-served basis to help pay for residents’ new e-bikes.

McKee and Kearns said the least-expensive e-bikes can cost between $600 and $2,000. The program, they said, offers low- to moderate-income residents up to $1,000 in e-bike rebates or 75% of the final purchase price, whichever is less. The program also offers rebates of up to $400 or 30% of the final purchase price.

To be eligible for the program, McKee and Kearns said the e-bikes must be purchased in Rhode Island either on or after Oct. 24. The program does not cover electric motorcycles, they said. Additional information can be found on the state’s DRIVE website.

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“Electric bikes have become a popular way for Rhode Islanders to commute to work, travel across town or enjoy our state’s beautiful bike paths,” McKee said in a statement. “Every bicycle on the road takes us another step toward reducing our carbon emissions and increasing our air quality.”

The program is also named after Niedowski, a former journalist who was an avid cyclist. She died in October 2020. Patrick Laverty, Niedowski’s longtime partner, said in a statement that the program will merge two loves in Niedowski’s life – cycling and protecting the environment.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.