Can Do Colorado eBike Pilot Program

Why eBikes?
eBike program partcipant posting with her new eBike in front of a bike shop

Household motor vehicle trips are one of the biggest drivers of transportation emissions in the country. According to the US Department of Energy, in 2017 nearly 60% of household motor vehicle trips were 6 miles or less and 75% were 10 miles or less. Trips of these lengths are very doable by bike for most Americans, particularly if completed on an electric bike (eBike). Compared to traditional bikes, eBikes allow people to:

  • More easily bike greater distances and across harder terrain

  • Commute with groceries, small deliveries and children 

  • Ride at an older age or with mobility issues

  • Set aside worries about arriving sweaty at their destination

  • Reduce their carbon footprint

Can Do Colorado eBike Fall 2020 Mini-Pilot Program

In June 2020, the Polis Administration launched the Can Do Colorado Community Challenge to provide resources to local communities and businesses to help safely reopen the economy after COVID-19 restrictions and work toward a healthier, more sustainable future. As part of this initiative, the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) committed $500,000 toward an eBike pilot that increases access to eBikes for low-income essential workers.

In support of this pilot, CEO used a small part of the funding to partner with Bicycle Colorado, Northeast Transportation Connections, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on a mini-pilot held in the fall of 2020 to demonstrate that eBikes are a safe, healthy and convenient way to travel around town. Through the mini-pilot, 13 low-income essential workers in the greater Denver area received a Momentum LaFree E+ eBike (Class 1) and equipment including a helmet, pump, lock, lights and more at no cost. This mini-pilot was designed to deploy a small number of eBikes quickly and use lessons learned to create a larger pilot planned for spring 2021, which deployed a much larger number of eBikes. More information can be found in the final report .

Can Do Colorado eBike Spring 2021 Pilot Program
eBike program participant in front of her bike by urban bike shop mural

CEO conducted a competitive grant solicitation process for its two-year Can Do Colorado eBike Spring 2021 Pilot. Like the fall 2020 pilot, this program seeks to increase access to eBikes for low-income essential workers while maximizing air quality benefits. Additional program objectives include piloting a variety of eBike distribution models including individual ownership and shared deployment, expanding eBike access in communities across the state, and laying a foundation for future scalability and replicability.  The five projects funded by CEO have distributed 156 eBikes throughout the State of Colorado, with another 25 planned in Spring 2022, and 50 eBike share memberships. 

The Can Do Colorado eBike Spring 2021 Pilot is funded in a partnership between CEO, City and County of Denver and the Regional Air Quality Council. CEO awarded five organizations and the City and County of Denver awarded an additional two organizations. Awarded organizations include:

  • 4CORE in Durango 

  • City of Fort Collins

  • Community Cycles in Boulder 

  • Pueblo County 

  • Smart Commute Metro-North

Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency made awards to:

  • Northeast Transportation Connections

  • West Corridor TMA

Subsequent opportunities for funding will be announced here when available. Previous application resources can be found below for reference.

Can Do Colorado eBike Spring 2021 Pilot Program Application Documents
Data Collection Partner: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) advances the science and engineering of energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and renewable power technologies and provides the knowledge to integrate and optimize energy systems. 

NREL developed the CanBikeCO app, through which pilot project participants provide data about their trips. Data collected during the program will be used to understand how eBikes are used including when and how often, as well as distance travelled. NREL and CEO will gain insight into the travel habits of participants and the CO2 savings generated by switching from automobile and transit trips to trips on an eBike. 

At the conclusion of the program, the data will be archived in the Transportation Secure Data Center (TSDC) at NREL, to support long-term anonymous transportation research and analysis. 

Check out the CanBikeCO dashboard to see some of the data collected: