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Fewer than 80 Minnesota e-bike rebate applications went through before system crashed

Minnesota e-bike rebate application portal crashes minutes after opening
Minnesota e-bike rebate application portal crashes minutes after opening 01:47

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota's inauspicious launch for applications to its e-bike rebate program remains on pause Thursday, after technical glitches forced officials to bring the entire system offline earlier this week.

Those seeking to apply for the rebate Wednesday morning found the application, which is managed by Minnesota IT Services and hosted by the Minnesota Department of Revenue, completely inaccessible.

"Despite anticipated high demand, our external vendors were unable to support the capacity needed for the launch of the e-bike rebate program," officials explained Thursday afternoon.

The application's developer, Turnberry Solutions, is working with the host's service provider to troubleshoot the issues that led to Wednesday's shutdown.

According to the state revenue department, fewer than 80 applications went through successfully upon the original launch. The department said that those applications are going to be honored, but as of Thursday afternoon, there is no timeline for the application process to reopen for new users. Officials expect to send another update on their progress "early next week," and apologized to applicants for any inconvenience.

Some stakeholders noted the bright side of the site crashing.

"Even with more than a year to prepare, we crashed a government website. And a little point of pride — policymakers, think about what's happening here. That's how incredibly popular this program is," said Michael Wojcik, executive director of Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, a nonprofit that helped get the rebate legislation passed last year.

How much is the e-bike rebate worth?

The rebate is worth 50-75% of the cost of an e-bike and qualifying accessories, up to a maximum of $1,500. Rebates will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. The state says that total rebates are limited to $2 million a year in 2024 and 2025. 

The rebate is determined by an applicant's 2023 income.

To estimate your rebate based on your income, click here.

Who is eligible for the e-bike rebate?

In order to be eligible for the rebate, a person must be at least 15 years old. They have to have lived in Minnesota for the current year and the previous year and must not have been claimed as a dependent in 2023.

For more information, including a list of approved retailers, click here.

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