SF Bay Area Clean Vehicles Trade-In Program

Updated: March 12, 2021
(this page will be updated as more information is made available)

The San Francisco Bay area-based Bay Area Air Quality Management District recently announced an expansion of their Clean Cars for All program which now includes a $7500 trade-in value of a used car* toward the purchase of a new e-bike.

BAAQMD is accepting applications from Bay Area residents that live in zip codes impacted by higher levels of pollution. Find out if you are eligible on their eligibility page.

Sacramento area residents have a sibling program accessible here

* car must be a model year 2005 or older, in working condition and registered in CA for the last two years – other stipulations apply

Mobility Options

In addition to offering replacement vehicles, the Clean Cars for All program offers income-qualified Bay Area residents grants the option to recycle their old car in exchange for grant funding to use on public transit, for the purchase of an electric bicycle (e-bike), or for car-sharing services. You may combine any of these mobility options to best suit your mobility needs (e.g. $5,800 for an e-cargo bike, $1,500 for car sharing, and $200 for a Clipper card).

Funds awarded for these mobility options are loaded onto pre-paid cards. Grantees may only use the funds on these cards for purchases of their awarded mobility option.

Trade-In for E-bikes and Accessories

Qualifying Bay Area residents can retire their old vehicle for a $7,500 grant to purchase an e-bike. Households of more than one person may purchase additional e-bikes with the $7,500 grant. Grantees may use a portion of the grant for e-bike accessories (e.g. helmets, lights, cargo equipment, etc.). The remaining grant amount can be converted to a public transit card or car sharing membership (coming soon) with the same restrictions and requirements listed above.

E-bikes make it practical to carry heavier loads, go longer distances, and climb steep hills. Qualifying e-bikes must be equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts. For more information about e-bikes contact us at CleanCars@gridalternatives.org.

Real World Cost Comparison

The average annual cost of riding an e-cargo bike is significantly less than the average monthly cost of driving a car.

It can be easy to underestimate the true costs of owning a car, even a hybrid or electric. The common misconception is that the monthly financing for your car is the monthly cost for you car. But when you take into account fuel/charging costs, maintenance, parking & tolls, registration fees, insurance premiums and the overall depreciation of your vehicle the monthly cost of car ownership can quickly balloon. Average costs of a financed car have been found to range from $6,000-9,000 annually. Even after a trade-in grant for an EV that’s $415-625 every month!

ABC 7 – The True Cost of Owning a Car in the Bay Area
Source: Disrupting the Car by Kyla Scanlon

Comparatively, with this trade-in program the cost of an e-cargo bike can be covered in full with extra dough left over to put towards transportation you don’t feel comfortable doing on two wheels. A Clipper Card to get you and your bike across the bay, a Gig carshare for day trips to the coast, or even road trips to the Sierra of up to 7-days. And that’s with gas and insurance included.

Annual bike maintenance may amount to a couple hundred dollars for tune-ups, brake pads and flat fixes. A battery replacement can be pricey at $900+ and may be necessary after 3-5 years of regular riding. But all told, even with a high estimate of $1/day, the average annual cost of riding an e-cargo bike is significantly less than the average monthly cost of driving a car.

Ready to replace your car? Take our Ride Guide and find out if we have a bike that takes care of all your needs.