Why It's Cheaper to Own and Maintain an Electric Bike

We discuss why it's cheaper to own and maintain and electric bike compared to other transport means.

A picture of a product called the Ancheer Power Plus Electric Mountain Bike

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One question that often gets asked is whether getting an electric bike is worth all the expense and hassle. Would it not just be better to get a more conventional bike or use a car for short commutes? Maybe it would be a little more cost efficient and you could do more with either one of them. We are here to argue that electric bikes, or e-bikes are arguably as cost effective to maintain as regular bikes, with a few differences, and both are way less expensive in terms of annual maintenance costs than cars. There are some expenses unique to all of them, but these turn out to be worth it.

We both own three means of transport: a car, a regular bicycle, and an electric mountain bike. While our own costs do vary, what we will show here are based on figures and research we have gathered and calculated from different sources. We base our final results on the idea of cost per mile, which is what the American Automotive Association uses to give a good average for how much it costs to own a car. But apart from the figures, we will share here why it is a good idea to own an electric bike, not just for the costs, but for the other advantages it will bring riders.

Cars and Bikes

Our baseline is definitely the bicycle. We concede that it is the cheapest among the three we will compare here: bikes, e-bikes, and cars. This is because there are some costs e-bikes will incur that will marginally make maintenance costs higher, but take note of the word "marginal." We'll come back to that in a moment. The cost of owning and maintaining a bike is, based on one reliable figure we've gathered, around USD 350.00 per year. If the average bike commute is 12 miles a day, that works out to about 8 cents per day! But there's one expenditure we haven't taken into account. Regular bikes require fuel, like e-bikes rely on batteries. When you take food costs into account, this comes out to about 18.75 cents a day. The good thing about e-bikes is that we would rely less on human powered effort and thus the amount of fuel consumed would be marginally lower.

Of course, if there's any gauge for the most expensive form of transportation here, it would be the car. The American Automotive Association's most recent figures show that the cost per mile, on average, in the US has gone down marginally by 2 per cent, but it is still at 58 cents per mile. What costs do these include? These include insurance for third party liability or other forms of insurance required by state law. These include the cost of maintaining and replacing auto parts such as tires. Most cars are acquired through some form of financing, so there are fees for interest and service charges. Of course, there are fuel costs, which even though they have dropped, are still quite high and leave an environmental impact with their CO2 emissions. It is way more expensive to own and maintain a car, but it has some uses--though the costs don't justify its frequent use.

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E-bikes: Why They Are Cheaper and Other Advantages

We now go to the e-bike, which is a bicycle hybrid that runs largely on an electric motor, with the human driver as a backup. If we take into account the cost of annual maintenance for a regular bike, which is as we've calculated about 8 cents a mile, and the cost of charging at around 10 cents for a full charge, it's likely that the cost per mile for an electric bike is only very marginally higher. It is, in fact, a matter of less than a penny per mile. More importantly, given that e-bikes can run faster on average than other bikes, that marginal cost may even be justified! But there is one recurring cost that e-bikes have that regular bikes do not: replacement batteries. After some time, recharging and discharging a battery will wear it out, so depending on the lifespan of the battery, this will add a few more cents to our calculations. One factor you should consider in getting an electric bike is the battery's lifespan, because replacing it is one cost you should definitely consider.

Having said that, what are the other benefits of using e-bikes? We have already alluded to the fact that it is good for the environment. Using rechargeable batteries, combined with power sourced from renewable sources, would make less of an impact on the wider environment compared to using fossil fuels such as gas or diesel. We also think that it can get you from point A to point B much faster than regular bikes without having to exert as much effort. You can get to school from home, for instance, in probably half the time you could bike. Still another advantage is that you do not need a lot of paperwork or a license to operate an electric bike. Just use a helmet and you're good to go. Finally, like owning a regular bike, the sense of adventure you get when riding an e-bike is what is most fun about it!

In Summary

We have shown that it costs much less to own a regular bike than a car. We have also shown that it costs much less to own and maintain an electric bike than a car, and marginally more than a regular bicycle. Remember, that's 58 cents for a car, 18 cents (with food) for a bike, and probably a little less for an e-bike. We also shared with you some other advantages of owning an e-bike, so you can understand why we have decided to keep our e-bike a viable transport option for relatively short trips. It has all of a bike's advantages, and more.

Thank you for reading this brief discussion of the costs of owning and maintaining an electric bike. We hope that this would provide you with the information needed to consider in purchasing an e-bike for your use. While you're on this site, why not consider checking out the product reviews we have, or other articles you could read on e-bikes, electric scooters, and electric mopeds? We aim to give you the information needed to choose any of these well. Until next time, we hope to see you around riding on an electric bike, an electric scooter, or an electric moped! By the way, out best reviewed models are the Pedego Electric Bikes.