Are you tired of being stuck in traffic all the time? Does your car breakdown often? Or you want to develop a healthy routine that doesn’t take away time from important tasks? An electric bike might be the answer to all these questions.
Getting stuck in traffic, especially during peak hours in a metropolitan city is not an unusual occurrence. New York and London are prime examples of the argument presented above. In addition to tiresome traffic, there are other costs associated with owning cars.
On the flip side, however, one might argue that an e-bike isn’t as feasible for everyone. Bringing home groceries or dropping your kid off at school might not be possible on your e-bike.
In 2021, many people have missed that interaction with nature one would usually have due to the ongoing pandemic. Riding an e-bike, you can reconnect with all of nature’s beauty while shedding off any weight you gained by quarantining at home.
Can an electric bike replace a car based on this?
Today we will answer this question and explore the various types of e-bikes and compare them with cars to assess whether replacing your car with an electric bike. Let’s dive right in!
Classes of E-Bikes
1. Pedal Assist
Pedal-assist or “Pedelec” is the most common category of electric bikes. The mechanism is similar to that of a standard bike. The rider pedals the e-bike while a motor uses that kinetic energy to produce power, which is then transferred to the rear wheel.
This makes pedaling far more effortless than a non-electric bike, letting the rider travel at much higher speeds even on rugged terrains such as hills.
You can control the amount of assistance available in the settings. However, this bike class can provide a maximum speed of around 25 kph in Europe and 32 kph in the US. You can ride these bikes on most roads where a regular cycle is allowed without the need for any further licensing.
Similar to a motorcycle, e-bikes that are controlled using a throttle are set in motion without requiring the bike rider to pedal. The power you get depends upon how hard to push the throttle.
These e-bikes are rarer than their pedal-assist variants as many nations have passed laws banning their use.
One such example is the European Union. It enforces that e-bikes only provide power if the pedals are moving, essentially restricting throttle-operated e-bikes. Therefore, this class of e-bikes is more prevalent in the US or China.
3. Speed Pedelec
As the name suggests, the speed pedelec is a variant of the regular pedelec, only with more speed. It’s the elder brother of the standard pedelec, so to speak, having a top speed of around 45 kph or 28 mph.
In some countries, this e-bike is viewed as a motor vehicle, requiring the riders to get a license.
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Benefits of an E-Bike vs. Using a Car
Let’s look at the advantages of using e-bikes versus everyday cars to answer the question, can you replace your car with an e-bike?
Exciting to Use
E-bikes let you get experience your surroundings more closely. They allow exceptional freedom when exploring your city, neighborhood, or countryside.
You can enjoy all of nature’s splendid pleasures, which is otherwise not possible while spending countless hours driving your car.
The initial cost of purchasing an e-bike might seem a bit expensive. At the end of the day, when you factor in the price of insurance, maintenance, repair, depreciation, and registration fees, you will realize how budget-friendly an e-bike is for you.
You might not be able to replace your car trips with an e-bike; however, you can reduce the money spent on car-related expenses every year.
Riding an e-bike is similar to riding regular bikes, meaning that you get the same physical benefits. Although electric bikes have pedal assist, they still allow for a pretty good workout.
It also provides other health benefits such as improved joint mobility, decreased stress, decreased body fat levels, and improved posture among others.
Just make sure to use pedal-assist if you are going somewhere nice and don’t want to smell foul from the workout you just had on your e-bike.
Maybe you are a fit person but just fed up with driving around in your car. An electric bicycle is an ideal way to stir up your routine and open yourself to some exciting adventures.
Riding an e-bike is quite convenient. It allows you to push aside the worries about heavy traffic that someone driving around in a car might experience.
You will have access to a completely different lane reserved for bikes, making it easier for you to maneuver your way through traffic when you are on an electric bicycle.
Moreover, you can also traverse alternative routes to your destination. In some instances, you can avoid driving on highway or roads, allowing you to shorten the distance of your journey.
Check out 4 Best Electric Bikes with Child Seat.
Better for the Environment
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a typical vehicle releases around 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. Multiply that with the number of combustion cars you see on the road every day, which makes the case for reducing our carbon emissions seem much more plausible.
Just like electric cars, electric bikes not only save you money but also reduce the carbon footprint. Thus, leaving you and the environment both better off.
You won’t find your e-bike breaking down as often as the cars that travel on the road every day. You must worry about checking fluids such as water and oil along with ensuring tires have the correct air pressure, and other more issues.
For e-bikes, you can be much more relaxed. An e-bike won’t be as strong as a car but make sure you get one where the manufacturer provides a decent warranty.
A two-year warranty signals confidence, which ensures you don’t have to worry about any repair costs.
Buying a car brings in a lot of hassles. Before you can even drive a car, you need to get a license, registration, and vehicle insurance.
Not everyone is keen on getting a license, and there’s always a chance that you may lose it. With electric bikes, you can ride on the road without a license in most countries.
As a young person, you face more trouble getting your car registered. Furthermore, the cost of insurance is higher when you’re young.
For electric bicycles, the regulations are very relaxed in the United States and various other countries around the world. In most cases, you don’t have to worry about registration or insurance.
If you don’t like the government poking their nose in your business, the electric bike is instantly more exciting for you.
Some electric bikes are foldable, meaning that you can quickly grab a taxi to catch that unexpected Saturday meeting you might be getting late for. It also saves you space that a car would typically take, allowing you to store other equipment in its place.
If you go for a foldable e-bike, make sure that it is sturdy enough to be suitable for long-term use.
Disadvantages of an Electric Bike vs. a Car
Although there are many positives of using an e-bike, just like everything else in life, it has some drawbacks.
Requires a Significant Investment
Comparing the cost of an e-bike to a conventional bike gives you a perspective of how big of a commitment buying one is. Also, you need to factor in the cost of accessories and equipment such as helmets, knee and elbow pads, and other cycling gear.
Although these combined costs are still much lesser than that of a car, they are still something to be wary of.
Could Be Heavy for Some People
Traditional bicycles are lightweight and easy to carry around. The same cannot be said for e-bikes. Usually, e-bikes weigh approximately 40 pounds. Add all the equipment needed to take a ride, and you realize that you can’t lob one on your shoulder.
If you want to have an e-bike that can be easily carried around, we recommend going for a foldable electric bike.
Need a Place to Charge
If you are considering purchasing an electric bike, you also need to ensure you have a specific location to charge the bike. It could be a garage or an outdoor socket.
If you are a homeowner, this might not be an issue; but you should consider it in your purchase decision if you are renting an apartment. This is because, without an active motor, your electric bike is just a regular bicycle with more weight attached to it.
Bike Laws Are Changing
As the popularity of e-bikes increases, more laws are being enforced to regulate their use. For example, in the US, you expect to see rulings regarding licensing, helmets, and the classes of bikes allowed in the coming years. The same can be expected for other parts of the world.
Like any other vehicle, it is crucial to ensure that your bike is constructed with quality components. For an electric bike, this consideration becomes even more critical. Having an electric drive system adds more safety problems.
On top of that, you need to ensure that the e-bike is strong enough, if it is foldable, water-resistant to give you confidence while riding in rainy weather, and has mechanisms to prevent excess charge once the battery is full.
But that’s not all there is to e-bike safety. Since it has more power than a traditional bike, the usual v-brakes won’t do the trick. E-bikes need hydraulic or disc brakes to provide enough stopping power if you need to slow down quickly.
Even if a manufacturer does everything right, you are still less protected on a bike than in a car. By nature, a 4-wheel, closed-pit motor vehicle is safer as opposed to an electric bicycle working on 2-wheels.
Sometimes it gets very challenging to drive your bike when it is raining cats and dogs. Similarly, you have a greater chance to be injured in a bike accident than in a car accident.
Security is another concern when buying an electric bike. Naturally, buying an e-bike would bring a lot more attention than a standard bike, and while most of it would be from admirers, sometimes thieves might be eyeing your prized possession as well.
Therefore, you need to keep it locked up and make sure you don’t go to far-flung areas where the chances of theft are high.
If you live in a small apartment and don’t have enough room to store your bike, try finding a safe place to stow away your bike before making the purchase.
Advantages of a Car vs. an Electric Bike
Let’s also look at the positives of owning a car.
You Can Travel Further with a Car
As opposed to an e-bike, you won’t worry about the remaining power with a car. This is because you only need a tank full of gas. There is no waiting for charging a battery.
You just need to make sure you have enough fuel for your journey. You can travel to very distant places, which is very unlikely with an e-bike.
Greater Level of Comfort
No one can deny the fact that car travel is much more comfortable than a bike ride. You can drive a car expending much less energy, and the ride is smoother, especially on bumpy roads. Riding a bike, on the other hand, exposes you to the weather.
While it may be great to drive an e-bike on a nice sunny day, it wouldn’t be the same when it’s raining cats and dogs. Also, you will be unprotected against the fumes of other vehicles on the road. In a car, you can close the windows and turn on air-conditioning.
Higher Speed Limit
Electric bikes are usually limited to a certain speed, which is much lower than that of cars. Cars can travel at significantly higher speeds on most roads around the city.
This is because car engines can reach higher velocities while ensuring that the passengers in a car are well protected with airbags and seat belts.
If you want to get somewhere quickly, driving a car is always the better option – keeping in mind that you don’t encounter congested roads on the way.
Disadvantages of a Car Vs. an Electric Bike
Owning a car can have its negatives as well. Let’s uncover them.
Much Higher Initial Investment
According to PR newswire, the cost of owning a new light vehicle is upwards of $35,000. Sure, some exceptions are much cheaper, and you can always opt for a secondhand car. The initial outlay of cash required to purchase a decent car is notably higher than that of an e-bike.
Owning a car requires a lot of maintenance, which can be costly. Whether you have a new or a used car, it’s inevitable to run into those repairs and maintenance costs. Add the cost of fuel on top, and you understand that your wallet gets a hit when you own a car.
Sure, driving a car can be much more pleasant, but you miss out on the exercise you might get on an e-bike. You can burn many calories while riding a bike, which is not the case when driving a car.
As discussed earlier, an e-bike has significantly lower operating costs than a car. Let’s give you a picture by comparing the average cost of owning a car and an e-bike.
|Maintenance and Repairs||$1,000||$200|
Note: An e-bike does not need any fuel to operate. In the table above, ‘Fuel’ denotes the money spent on an electric bike battery.
You may like the following ebike articles:
- Can You Pedal an Electric Bike With a Dead Battery?
- How to Determine E-Bike Battery Amp Hours
- Can an Electric Bike Get Wet?
- How Long Does a Battery Last on an Electric Bike?
- When to Charge an Electric Bike: An Easy Guide for Beginners
Ultimately, what you choose is dependent upon your needs. If your commute is less than 10 miles and you don’t have to make many trips with your family, an electric bike could be the perfect option for you. This is primarily the case for adults moving out of their parents’ houses that are in need of a vehicle but don’t have the kind of money to buy and maintain one.
On the other side of the coin, if you travel long distances to reach work or have to go for those weekend trips with the family, buying an e-bike would be more of a hobby than a replacement for a car. This would generally be the case for older individuals who have added responsibilities of children and spouses.
I am Michael, an avid rider and bike expert. I am here to provide, biking tips and expert advice on in-depth bike reviews covering features, capabilities, price range, and much more. Specially on electric bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, etc. I will provide honest product reviews, along with expert advice on purchasing, training, and maintenance. Check out my complete profile.