If you do not already own a fancy-looking bike with dials and pedals, then you must have seen one out on the streets. Electric bikes are the new fashion statement but for all the right reasons. Wondering Do Electric Bikes Save You Money? Check out in detail here.
They are increasingly becoming popular and have been around for a while now – not because they are fancy and modern but because they offer a modern solution to our old problems.
Electric bikes are practical, and to a great extent, sustainable way out for several of our problems, including traffic jams, high carbon footprints, and melting polar caps. However, for a lot of people, they are simply a frugal and cost-effective commuting option.
In this article, we will explore if electric bikes really save you money and at what cost. But before diving into the cost-benefit analysis, it is important to understand how electric bikes work.
How Do Electric Bikes Work?
If you have been planning to buy an electric bike, you may already have come across the fact that they are available in various models and styles with varying features and specifications. So, the prices can vary considerably depending on the brand and class of the e-bike you are planning to get.
However, all electric bikes are made of three additional parts at the very base level, which make them different from a traditional bicycle: a battery, display, and a motor. If you think that an electric bike moves on its own because of its battery and motor, then you are wrong.
How this works is that you use the display to pick the level of assistance you want. This can comprise different modes ranging from Eco to Sport to Turbo in ascending order. Depending on which level of assistance you input on display, the motor increases the power and speed of the bike without you having to pedal any harder.
Electric bikes can boost the power and speed by 125% to 300%, and this also depends on the class of your e-bike. So, for example, Class 1 and 2 bikes can go up to 20mph while the maximum speed of Class 3 electric bikes is 28mph. If you want to go any faster, you will have to use those strong legs of yours.
So, while electric bikes do save you a great deal of your energy by providing you the realistic speed to get to work on time, they do not do the whole work for you because that defeats the purpose and health benefits of cycling.
The battery, you guessed it, is, of course, used to charge the motor. The actual specifications and features of an electric bike can vary depending on its class and model. So, your electric bike may have a more powerful battery.
It may come with a throttle that allows acceleration of up to 14 mph or more without pedaling. But the foundational functioning of all-electric bikes remains the same.
Cars vs. Electric Bikes – The Ultimate Cost Comparison
For the sheer purpose of authenticity, here is a realistic cost comparison between what driving an automobile can cost compared to riding an electric bike. There will, of course, be some factors that cannot be accounted for, but this will give you a fair idea of how things work.
How Much Would Ride an E-Bike Cost?
This will be based on rough but realistic estimates. The initial price of an electric bike can greatly vary depending on what you are getting. So, for example, a good quality everyman e-bike can cost about $1000-1500. But if you are rich with a very fancy taste, a high-end customized imported Riese-Muller of $10,000 is also available in the market.
Fuel/ Charging Costs
Let us consider a more widely used Level Commuter of $1600, which is a great beginner-to-intermediate e-bike. With a battery capacity of 672Wh (Watt-hours) and the national average rate per kWh of 13.19 cents, one complete charge will cost about $ 0.09.
Now let’s say you are charging your electric bike twice a day to make sure it is fully charged for the roundtrip – your total cost of charging for a day becomes $ 0.18. Also, do keep in mind that this figure may still be an overestimate for some because oftentimes, you do not drain the complete charge in one trip (can last 40 miles), and often, workplaces have charging stations that you can use for free.
In any case, to cover all bases – let’s continue working with the same number. So, the charging cost for a day totals up to $0.18 – multiply that to the total number of days an average American work, which is 230 days. And we get $41.40 as our annual total.
Moving over to the maintenance costs, as there are some associated with almost everything we own, weekly cleaning of your bike and bi-annual tuning and touch-ups can cost up to $200 per year. Add to that any changes of battery ($500) or tires ($60) over, say four years of using the Level commuter, and that makes a total of $760 per year.
Even after adding up all of these costs on the higher end, your maximum expense of riding an electric bike such as the Level commuter will have an average cost per annum of $995 after including the initial cost of $1600 of the e-bike! If you do not already see the difference, we are looking at the costs of driving a car next.
How Much Would Driving a Car Cost?
Before diving into the calculations, here are a few things to consider. Compared to an E-bike, a car can obviously do more in terms of carrying more passengers, taking you on long road trips, and just generally being faster.
So, for those wondering how this is even a fair comparison – please keep in mind that this is about comparing the costs of your daily commute. If you already have a car and are thinking of saving up on annual commuting costs or need a second vehicle for the commute of another family member, an electric bike is a very fair option to consider.
The average price of gas in America is $3.1, and the average one-way commute in America is 16 miles, making a total of 32 miles for the roundtrip. With the average fuel economy of 25 mpg for light cars, trucks, and SUVs – you will be using 1.28 gallons of gas per day which, when multiplied by $3.1, will give you a total cost of $4 (rounded up).
Multiply that, once again, with the total number of days an average American works (230), and you will get a whopping total of $920 per year of fuel costs only. You may want to stop right here, but for better clarity, let’s continue with the example.
Keep in mind that this does not include the initial cost of the car nor all the interest payments you will have to make if you plan on financing your car through a loan. But speaking of maintenance costs, a new set of tires can cost anywhere between $200 to $1200. If you also decide to get a tire alignment, that is another $100.
An oil change, usually needed after every 5000-75000 miles, will further cost anywhere between $40-$125 depending on your car and the type of oil. So, we are already looking at a low total of $340 in maintenance, and most car owners can already tell that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
To some people, their car is like a baby and more than just for emotional reasons. It needs constant attention more often than you’d think. Intermittent battery replacements, filters, spark plugs, windshield wipers, and brake pad replacements are just some of the many ways in which your car can throw a tantrum.
This can bring us to a very definitive conclusion and clear idea of what the cost differences of riding an electric bike versus driving a car for the daily commute can look like. You may have other opportunity costs to consider, but that would call for a personal analysis.
We can further help you with looking at all the different ways an E-bike saves you money.
E-Bikes Save You Money – How Do They Do It?
1. Fuel and Maintenance – The obvious one
You have already seen the detailed breakdown on this one. But just to reiterate via another example, a typical 10-mile trip in a medium-sized sedan would cost around $2 with maintenance. The same trip would just cost 1 or 2 cents on an e-bike.
Map this seemingly negligible difference of $2 over five days a week, and you will find an extra saving of $600 in your bank account by the end of the year. $600 more to spend on anything you have been saving for!
2. Low upfront and upkeep costs
No down payment, no dealer fees, no delivery charges, and of course, no taxes or insurance. This is everything you save up in just upfront costs if you decide to buy an electric bike instead of an automobile.
A good electric bike will cost you just a few thousand dollars with no hidden fees. Even if you happen to finance on your e-bike, the monthly installments will be very low, and all of these factors make an electric bike supremely feasible for those working with low budgets.
3. No Parking? No problem!
If you have gotten a parking ticket or are tired of paying a parking fee (which can get very expensive in the city), you can imagine the relief this news can bring. Not only will an e-bike save you the parking fee at work and other places you visit, but even at your place of residence.
Many apartment dwellers are required to pay monthly rent for a parking spot for their cars. As for e-bikes, not only can you carry the foldable ones inside, but many cities have bike racks where you can safely store your bikes free of charge.
4. Tax incentives
Many countries such as Belgium and France offer great tax incentives for people who buy electric bikes and show the kilometers they have ridden on them. The USA also offers large tax breaks to those who choose to buy an e-bike to encourage environmental benefits and cuts on infrastructure costs.
In 2012, the US government allowed for a $2500 tax credit to purchase an e-bike. The tax incentives may differ depending on which state you live in, but it’s safe to say that it is an attractive factor to consider.
5. Saved time means saved money
You already know that ‘time is money’ and electric bikes are great at saving you that. Saved time can actually mean a lot of benefits, and one of them is more money itself. People who struggle to find time for a side hustle can understand the importance of a few spare minutes.
Electric bikes easily save a big chunk of the time you spend stuck in traffic jams when commuting to work. They are fast, can get out of anywhere, and now even have lanes dedicated to them in many cities.
When compounded weekly, all the time saved can be spent on a second job you have been hoping to get or even just on your existing job where you’ll never get late due to ‘rush hours.’
6. No more gym membership fees!
Some might say cycling is not enough to maintain my gains or abs, but there is no denying that cycling is considered one of the most effective full-body exercises. For many people, going to the gym daily or a few times a week is only about keeping fit and countering the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
However, we know all too well that these gym memberships can be crazy expensive on a yearly basis. E-bikes, on the other hand, offer a great workout without having to hit the gym. Pedaling daily can help you burn fat and build strength with the powered motor giving you much-needed breaks.
Imagine being in perfect shape with extra money in your bank account at the end of the year! What a great execution of hitting two birds with one stone.
7. Improved health – saved medical bills
This may seem like a long shot, but you will be surprised to find that a study conducted in the Netherlands and the U.K found that people who rode electric bikes experienced improved health, fitness, and mobility.
Compromised health can build into hefty medical bills, and these issues are bound to pop up as we age, and riding an e-bike, in general, can greatly help in keeping them at bay. This is indeed a more indirect way electric bikes can save you money, but that does not make it any less important.
8. E-bikes can actually help you make money
We are sure you did not expect this, but it’s true. Quite a few cities in the U.S.A have small jobs for E-bike delivery drivers and are always on the lookout. This can include running small errands like delivering flowers, documents, and other items.
If you have some spare time (which your e-bike may have saved you) and need some extra cash, you can always put your electric bike to good use. After covering the initial costs, your electric bike can be making you profits!
You may like the following electric bike articles:
- How to Remove Rust from Bikes
- How to get Bike Grease out of Clothes
- Best Dog Carriers for Electric Bikes
- 5 Best Electric Trikes for Seniors
- Best Mid Drive Electric Bikes
- How to Clean Dirt Bike Air Filter
It is quite clear that electric bikes come with a bunch of benefits and low initial costs. There are several ways they can be saving you money and can actually help you make more if you plan to go ahead with the E-bike delivery driver job.
While they are definitely not recommended for long distances, they are the perfect mode of transportation if you live within 20 minutes of traveling distance from your workplace. Not only are they a time-efficient, hassle-free ride to work/college but they are also environmentally friendly. If you plan to replace a second vehicle with an electric bike or plan to get one for your daily commute, we hope this article helped you reach a decision.
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.