THE COSTS THAT COUNT WITH E-BIKES
For all the conversations we have with different people regarding e-bikes, there always seems to be one common theme—price. Even among (non-assist) cyclists, most people balk at the extra expense of buying an e-bike. While in many cases it does seem like a lot of money up front, we feel there are a myriad of benefits to e-bike ownership that can provide a solid return on investment.
CARS ARE EXPENSIVE
If you break down the cost of ownership of a car, you see that it’s not just the sale price of the car spread out over time. You also have to factor in gas, maintenance, interest if you financed it, repairs, depreciation, etc. If you are replacing a car with an e-bike, this is truly a no-brainer. But, if you’re using an e-bike to get some exercise and use your car less (e.g. by commuting to work a few days a week), you’ll quickly come to realize the benefits of the e-bike. Your car will drive fewer miles, which means less wear and tear, less fuel, less depreciation and less pollution.
iZip used to have a calculator on their website to make figuring this out fairly easy. Unfortunately, the calculator is no longer on their website, but you can find it through the magic of the “Internet way-back machine” (www.archive.org), which is a useful site that archives the Internet by taking snapshots of web pages over time. The actual URL of the calculator is https://web.archive.org/web/20081216044157/http://www.izip usa.com/estimated.php, and it’s from 2008 but puts out some pretty accurate results.
For our example, let’s say you have a five-mile commute each way to work every day, which is an average of 21 days per month. If you factor in $5 per day for parking (low for a city, but sometimes employers pay for this) or tolls, and $.60 per mile total cost for driving (car plus fuel plus maintenance, etc.), that cost is $231 per month.
“Your car will drive fewer miles, which means less wear and tear, less fuel, less depreciation and less pollution.”
If you were to spend $3000 for a commuter e-bike and $200 on clothing and accessories, and you rode to work about three days per week, or let’s say 12 days per month, you would break even on the bike cost after 24 months, or two years. You also would have ridden 1440 miles that you hadn’t put on your car, increasing its value, and saving fuel and maintenance. You could have lower insurance rates with less driving as well. You can ask your insurance company to update your mileage, as this is usually a factor in your insurance rates.
Not to mention getting out in the fresh air; getting some exercise (you can still arrive at work sweat-free, then sweat on your way home if you’d like); having the incredible, fun feeling of cycling; and becoming part of a group of people who love to ride. With the pandemic, we’re seeing more and more people riding, which is increasing safety and encouraging cities to build more bicycle infrastructure, like protected bike lanes.
Of course, if you have an e-bike, you’ll want to use it for other things, whether that’s running errands, riding for exercise or riding for fun, so it will likely get you out and riding more!
While we used $3000 for our example, remember that there are $1000 e-bikes, and there are also some that are priced north of $10,000. We cover all of them in these pages and endeavor to get you the best information possible to make a good decision. Visit your local bike shop and take a test ride on a few. Your shop can get you on the right size and type to get you going—and saving money!
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