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Cost Comparison: How Owning an Electric Bike Saves You Money

Posted by Yina Liu on
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One of the most frequent questions many people have when they are considering purchasing an e-bike is, how much can I save? The answer is a lot, but we aren't going to stop there. Let us show you the costs of owning an e-bike and how much they are compared to owning and operating a regular gas car.

The Cost of Buying an E-bike

To figure out how much you're saving by riding an e-bike, we have to take a look at how much riding an e-bike will cost you. First, let's assume you pick the Espin 21 Sport e-bike; this will set you cost $1,529.

This may seem like a lot, but keep in mind the price of even the cheapest new car is more than $10,000. So, this will save you a lot of money starting with the initial purchase. 

After the purchase, you'll be required to acquire insurance which on national average is about $1,000 annually. An e-bike does not need to be insured at all, so you'll continue to save on insurance as long as you own your bike, though there are a few different types of ebike insurances that cover things like theft, damage, and fire loss should you choose to purchase it. 

The Cost of Traveling With an E-bike

Now the average commute to work in America is about 16 miles. This is great because the average travel distance for the Espin 21 Sport e-bike is between 30 to 50 miles, so it is very unlikely you would need to pedal at all to complete your daily commute unless you want to!

The Espin 21 Sport has a 672-watt hour battery to achieve that distance, and this means we need to divide it by 1,000 to get kWh (kilowatt-hours). You may recognize this measurement, and that is because it's used to measure how much electricity we used when we go to pay for it. To start with, the cost of electricity varies from place to place, but the national average in 2021 is about 13.9 cents.

This means we take 672Wh ÷ 1000 = 0.672kWh. So, we used 0.672kWh. We multiply this by $0.1319, which means we spent $0.0886 to travel our entire commute. Now even if we took this same ride every one of the 365 days in a year, this would still only add up to about $32.34. In contrast, the average American spends more than $1,000 on gas every year.

Clearly, the cost of powering your bike isn't a significant part of the cost, and the purchase is a small fraction of buying a car, so what else do we have to consider?

Maintenance Costs for Your E-bike

Well, now that we have considered the cost of buying the bike and of powering it, we'll take a look at the maintenance costs. You might expect a lot of extra costs due to the electrical components, but the maintenance doesn't actually cost much beyond that of a normal bike.

When you think of it, the electrical components only include the display screen, cables, electric motor, and battery. With the exception of the battery, the rest don't often break down and are very slow to degrade.

Most breakdowns occur soon after purchase when they are covered by warranties. So, they really aren't of much concern and don't require significant maintenance.

Regular Bike Maintenance

  • Tune-up: Generally, this includes cleaning, greasing, checking bolt tension, and adjusting cable tensions and costs $60 – $100.
  • Flat tire: Generally, replacing a tube costs $10 – $20.
  • Brake adjustment: This consists of replacing worn brake pads and adjusting the brake tension and costs $20 – $40.
  • Chain & Cassette: These generally only need to be replaced if slippage or visible wear occurs. Generally, these will last several thousand miles, but this depends on the rider's weight and level of pedal usage. If you need to replace them, it should cost $70 – $150.

Often, you won't need to perform all of this maintenance in a year, but it depends on how the bike is used. Luckily if you are a little handy, any of these maintenance items can be done on your own easily.

In contrast, most auto owners don't have the skills and specialized knowledge needed to perform their own vehicle maintenance. Between parts and labor, the average new car requires about $1,200 in maintenance.

The Cost of Your Battery 

This is probably the biggest concern most people considering purchasing an e-bike have. After all, it is the power source and most expensive component of your bike. But luckily, most modern lithium-ion batteries can last for 2-5 years on average before significant decay begins.

Also, you can do a lot to extend the life of your battery; with proper maintenance, it's possible to extend your battery life beyond these limits. However, assuming your battery lasts to the 4-year mark, that means you'd have spent $125 annually on your battery.

Total Costs of an E-bike

Now that we know the costs let's compare them.

E-Bike

Car

Initial Purchase

$1,529

>$10,000

Annual Power Cost

$157.34 (Charge + Battery Decay)

$1,000

Maintenance

$160--$310

$1,200

Insurance

$0

$1,000

Total

$1,921.35

>$13,200

 

In total, you can often expect to save more than $11,000 by choosing an e-bike over an automobile.

Final Thoughts

In short, you'll save a lot of money riding an e-bike! If you are looking for an easy, fun, and affordable way to save money on your daily commute, an e-bike is really a no-brainer. 

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