Electric Bike vs. Car – Pros, Cons and Verdict

Want a change of routine or just tired of driving in traffic? Or, probably you don’t want to stop driving altogether, but just want to reduce the time spent on the car. All right, maybe what you need is an electric bike so you can replace your car.

But before getting rid of your car or making the switch, consider the efficacy of commuting with a bike. Please read on to find out what is better for you. 

Pros and Cons for Electric Bikes 

Pros 

Fun

They are fun to ride: Imagine this situation. You are jogging or cycling up a mountain, and then all of a sudden you get a push from behind making the process effortless. With such a magical push, wouldn’t you cycle forever? I bet you would. What seemed impossible is now turning to be fun and exhilarating. Imaginations aside, that is what you get when you ride an electric bike. 

Besides this, an electric bike allows you to relax as you enjoy the natural surroundings, something you are likely to miss when driving a car because of the speed of the ride or the routes used. 

Ebikes allow you to feel in touch with your neighborhood or town. Parks and bungalows are not things you get to see them often if you usually drive a car. Maybe, that could be the reason you don’t appreciate your cool town.  

Cost

Save money: Ebikes are real cost savers. Sure, electric bikes won’t entirely replace car trips, but it is safe to say that they could reduce the cost you would use to commute to work or run your errands. 

Besides this, the cost to own a new car is several thousands of dollars. When you add the cost of registrations, insurance, stamp duties, tires, maintenance, and depreciation, you will realize that owning a car is not cheap. 

Cons 

While there are several wonderful things about using an electric bike, the challenges of using them for urban transport cannot be ignored. 

Cons

It is Expensive to own and maintain: Now you may be thinking, I will just buy a used car. Fair enough, you will save some upfront cost, but you still have to pay the other costs. Let’s face it. The average cost of a used vehicle is about $19k while the average cost of a new e-bike is about $3k.

Well, that may be a lot to spend on a bike, but consider this: if you have a car that you mostly use for errands or and traveling to last miles like from a train station to your home, then an electric bike would be a smarter option. 

You haven’t even take into account the cost of gas for your car. There is no gas cost for your e-bike, and you will only spend about 6c daily on electricity. As for maintenance, hardly will you spend more than $200. On top of this, you only need old content insurance. If you were to look at all these figures, then using an e-bike will make financial sense. 

You burn fewer calories: Comfortable as your car may be, but will miss out on exercises. The calories you use when driving a car is much lower when compared to riding an electric bike. 

Electric Bike vs. Car: Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons Car Electric Bike
Cost-efficiency First of all, a car, whether new or old is way more expensive to buy than an e-bike. Also, private cars are more expensive to use and maintain. (Check cost comparison table below)  An electric bike is cheap. It also requires less maintenance cost. Furthermore, no license is required. The main costs are tire repair or replacement and electricity cost. So it more economical than a private car
Efficiency You have fewer options when you are stuck in traffic. But they can withstand most terrain and weather Electric bikes can maneuver through traffic, so you will waste less time
Environmental friendly A car consumes a lot of fossils fuel, so they release more harmful waste into the environment more than e-bikes While they are not completely pollution-free, they are generally more environmentally friendly 
Energy to ride Apart from the concentration, you need less energy to ride a car  Pedaling is still needed. Most electrical bikes use Electric Pedal assist System (ePAS)
Health benefits Riding a car means sitting comfortably with less movement of the body. There is also a lot of fumes produced by nearby cars, which is not good for your lungs The fact that most e-bikes are pedal assisted, you will still exercise. Besides this, you will less likely to breathe in fumes
Comfort  A majority of personal cars are comfortable to ride. Some come with comfy seats Less comfortable, especially if you are riding at lower speeds
Special equipment You don’t need special shoes to drive a car. Even with sandals, you can safely drive to your destination.  Without clip-in shoes, it would be hard to ride an electric bike
Range and speed limit A car can get you to distant places since it travels faster and doesn’t need charging It is only useful in urban environments, where you only commute for short distances 

 

Running Costs and side-by-side 

As mentioned above, the cost of owning and running an electric bike is significantly lower than that of a car. The table below will help to paint a clearer picture of the running cost. 

Electric Bike vs. Car: Side by Side Running cost Comparison

Cost-type Car Electric Bike
Annual repairs On average, a car owner spends more than $1000 a year. The cost is even higher for older vehicles About $200 a year, and mainly for servings and replacing parts
Insurance Though it varies, an average car owner spends about $1,600 per year $400
Registration About $150 per annum  $0
Parking Registration $117 per year $0
Fuel Let’s assume you cover 32,000 miles at 32 MPG a year with your car. So, a 13-gallon car being filled every 2 weeks will cost you $1200 You will invest about $4 a month for charging, which comes to about $50 per year
Depreciation $3,571 per year $400
Total $7,838 $1050

 

Electric Bike vs. Public transportation

If you are keen on efficient, then you will appreciate using an e-bike rather than a car or public transportation. One study found out that traveling with an e-bike is six times more efficient than using public transportation and it is even several times more efficient than private cars. 

Let’s face it. Using a bus or train means you have to arrive at the station at specific times and then wait for a bus to arrive, not to mention the number of stops it will make along the way. 

Overall, they are faster and more environmentally friendly. However, electric bikes also have limitations that make them unsuitable for most daily activities. 

How to choose the right electric bike

Before you buy your e-bike, the most important thing to know is the intended use of the bike. Are you using it for sport, hiking, shopping or commuting? It is also important to know the frequency of use, the distance to be covered each day, and the difficulty of the terrain. 

When you are clear with the above, you will choose the right bike based on the engine, accessories, the battery, the type of pedal assistance, and the geometry of the bike. If you need an electric bike for short rides, city use, occasional use, and comfort, a straight bike is an ideal option. VCT bikes are designed for sports rides, while ATV bikes are best for mountainous terrain. 

Of course, you will need to take into account the budget. You need to set aside about $1500 to $4000 for a quality electric bike, but you can get entry level bikes for less than $1000. If you are looking for performance, you will need high-end models, which usually cost over $6000. Most of these bikes only need progressive assistance, and usually stable and comfy. 

Speed

Most pedal-assist e-bikes have a top speed of 25 mph. However, you are required to stay within a specific speed limit, which is much lower than that of personal cars. If you are commuting for a long distance, your bike will not help that much because of restricted speed and the need to charge the battery. 

What’s right for you? 

To summarize, electrical bikes seem to be a better option to those who use their cars for last mile connectivity like getting from home to school and work or running simple errands. They are also cheaper and more convenient than both public transportation and private car.

Moreover, they give you more options to maneuver your way to your destination, for instance, using a shorter route or routes with less traffic. So you are more likely to approximate time it will take you to a specific destination. If you don’t have time to exercise, then an electric bike will probably give you the opportunity to work out while on the road. 

With that said, electric bikes are only useful for shorter distances. They are also not enjoyable to ride during extreme weather, for instance, during winter since you have no way of regulating the temperature. If it too hot, you are likely to sweat, which is not a nice experience especially if you are heading to a meeting. 

Ultimately, your choice on the type of transportation should depend more on finding a balance between using the most appropriate transportation for a given situation and minimizing your impact on environmental degradation.  

When can/can not use the electric bike

While electric bikes are efficient in maneuvering traffic, they cannot be used for specific situations. Because of the restricted speed limit, e-bikes can only cover a short range. For this reason, they are only useful in urban settings where distances are relatively short. The fact that you have to charge the battery after every 20 miles or so means you need a place where you can easily access electricity.

You can use your electric bike to commute to work if you are living in the same town you work in because if you forget to charge your battery at home, you can charge it in the office. 

Conclusion

As you can see both vehicles have advantages and disadvantages and they are suitable in certain conditions. You can’t really use an electric bike when it’s raining, snowing or you have to cover a long distance. On the other hand, for short city rides, the electric bike easily beats the car.

Personally, I would have both. I still need the car for bad weather or out of city travel, but I would save some bucks and a lot of time when going to work. Actually, I have an electric scooter, but the reason, pros and cons are the same.

You need to decide for yourself if you should get an electric bike or not. It all depends on your ride, terrain, distance, traffic in your area and the other factors presented in this article.

I want to hear your opinion. What is the best? Electric bikes or cars?

Sources

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