A unique program could make it simpler to replace your car with an e-bike, which is one path to cleaner transportation.
Getting more bikes on the roads can have multiple benefits for both individuals and communities, ranging from cleaner air to better health, and electric bikes are one way to get more people riding, thanks to their ability to radically reduce the amount of physical effort required to get across town and back. However, the price of e-bikes can be a barrier to adoption, since the models with the most bells and whistles, and those with more powerful motors and larger battery capacities, can cost as much as a used car. But if it was easier to trade in your car towards the purchase of an electric bike, or to trade the car in for an e-bike plus cash, perhaps more people would be willing to make the switch from car to bike.
A San Francisco e-bike shop is exploring that option, with a unique partnership that can make car trade-ins easier for those looking to get onto an electric bike as their primary ride. The New Wheel, which has been selling electric bikes to Bay Area residents since 2012, and more recently to Marin County residents as well, already has a bike and e-bike trade-in program in place, but a collaboration with Roadster.com will allow people to explore the possibility of trading in their car, with the option to roll that cash over toward an e-bike.
"Simply bring in your car to one of our shops and one of our sales specialists will run a quick evaluation and get you an offer for your car within 48 hours. Once approved, we'll set up an appointment at our shop or your home and a reperesentative will come to your home with a check. We'll donate $100 from your trade-in to your local bicycle advocacy organization." - The New Wheel
Of course, it may make more financial sense to sell your car outright, rather than go through a middleman like this program does, because you can set the price and keep all of the proceeds. However, if you've ever sold a car privately through a classified ad or other method, it can be rather time consuming and it entails a certain level of trust in strangers and their intentions, so it might be a much less stressful situation to let The New Wheel and Roadster take care of the details for you.
The car trade-in program is new, and has only been in place since the beginning of April, so it's still rather early to know whether or not this type of approach for enabling more e-mobility is worth it for the consumer, but until we start to see some real movement toward e-bike incentives in the US, as some European cities and countries have put in place, it's a good start.