There has been a lot of focus on electric cars and trucks recently with high gas prices making $100+ fill-ups a reality. But electric cars and trucks are not the only electric vehicle option out there. Of course there is the electric bike (eBike) and in many ways eBikes can solve a lot of the same problems an electric car or truck can. Plus they are a lot of fun to ride!
In this article, we will look at the potential pitfalls of selling a gas powered vehicle and buying an electric vehicle. Then we will look at the scenario of keeping your existing vehicle and using an eBike for commuting, errand running and fun riding. It can be a great combination that makes a lot of financial sense.
In addition it is good to remember that an electric vehicle will have all the headaches of gas vehicles such as traffic, bad drivers, parking problems, etc. An electric bike can eliminate these and improve your daily life. Now, let’s take a closer look at why an eBike can make more sense than an electric car or truck.
Use Your Existing Car for Longer Trips
Instead of selling your existing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle and buying an electric car or truck consider hanging on to your existing ICE vehicle for the range benefit.
Electric cars/trucks have a lot of benefits but one of the drawbacks is the range for longer trips that may be off the regular routes. EV charging stations have become more available but there is still a long way to go to build out enough stations to have them everywhere and available for everyone when they are needed.
Unlike filling up a car with gas, charging an electric car/truck takes substantial time and if a number of people need to charge at the same time it can create a significant backlog. If you like to travel off the regular routes (camping for example) or you are regularly driving long distances in remote areas then you could run into a lack of charging stations.
Another consideration that may only apply to a few people is that electric vehicles lose a lot of range if they are towing. This can make for a time consuming trip of stopping to charge more often. For absolute range and quick fueling convenience an ICE vehicle currently has the advantage.
Crunching the Numbers
It is important to look at the overall cost of buying an electric car/truck compared to buying an electric bike. In the scenario of selling your existing ICE vehicle there is the depreciation factor of the vehicle which can be significant in normal market conditions.
Buying a new or used electric vehicle could be a higher price in addition to the transaction costs of sales tax, registration, and possibly higher insurance.
It is important to remember that some electric cars/trucks do have a potential tax credit, but you do need to make sure they are still available for the vehicle you select. Of course, everyone's mileage will vary but these are considerations for selling an ICE vehicle and buying an EV.
With those numbers in mind you will want to look at the fuel costs of an ICE and EV. Even though gas prices are high right now it is a good exercise to figure out the break even point if you were to sell your ICE vehicle and pay more for an EV plus the cost of electricity for charging. It may be many tanks before you get to that break even point.
All this is to sum up that the total cost to switch from your existing vehicle to an electric vehicle could be expensive and the break even time could be a ways out.
And that leads into the scenario of using your existing vehicle combined with an electric bike.
Keep your ICE car, and add an eBike
Instead of going through the hassle of selling your existing vehicle and buying a new EV, how about investing in an electric bike for around town riding and using your existing vehicle for longer trips?
A nice electric bike can be purchased for around $1,500 and with a little more investment you can equip your eBike with gear that makes commuting and errands fun and easy. Specialty eBikes designed for commuting come with racks, fenders, lights, and other convenience features out of the box.
And keep in mind that some states, counties, cities, and utilities offer electric bike incentives. Here is an article with info on incentives, payment plans, loans, and other ways to make eBikes more affordable.
When you use your electric bike a lot for in town riding you can save your car for the longer trips where it really shines. Around town stop and go driving puts more wear and tear on a car/truck.
Again, everyone’s financial situation will be different but for many the scenario of keeping your existing vehicle and adding an electric bike will probably make good financial sense.
The Fun Benefit of an Electric Bike
While a vehicle and electric bike can provide some pragmatic transportation benefits it is also good to remember the fun benefit!
Certain types of ICE and electric cars/trucks can be fun to drive but many of those cost a lot of money, i.e. sports cars. A basic commuter car probably doesn’t spark a lot of enthusiasm to drive. An electric bike on the other hand is a lot of fun to ride! Almost anyone who rides an electric bike has the “eBike smile”.
Adding electric assist to a bicycle really turbocharges the fun factor. Being able to get out for a spin without worrying about hills and headwinds definitely opens up the ride possibilities. EBikes are great for exploring new parts of your city/town and longer rides in the country. In a lot of ways it's the fun benefit that makes an electric bike so worth it.
The headaches of electric cars
Another consideration with an electric car/truck is that they still have the same problems that an ICE car has. That includes the stress of bad drivers, traffic jams, parking problems, parking costs, and the exercise cost of just sitting in a vehicle.
With an electric bike you can enjoy a low stress ride along neighborhood streets and bike paths that are way more fun than sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. And with no traffic to worry about you can enjoy predictable commute times to work or school.
Parking is no problem as you can lock up your eBike (for free) in many places that are close to your destination.
In addition to the fun benefit of an electric bike you also get the exercise benefit which you don’t get in a vehicle. One strategy is to use more electric assist on the way to work to arrive presentable and then use less assist on the way home for more of a workout.
Skip the headache and enjoy an eBike ride!
Turbocharge the Savings
If you really get into eBiking you might find that you don’t need an extra vehicle. Maybe you and your partner have 2 vehicles but you could get by with 1 vehicle and an eBike for each of you.
The savings can really add by eliminating a vehicle. AAA estimates that the Average Monthly Cost For Car Ownership At $773.50 per month or $9,282 per year. And that is after tax dollars.
If you live in a city with a lot of transportation options then an eBike plus those transport options could help eliminate vehicle ownership all together. You could always rent a car when you really need it.
There are a lot of options for carrying cargo and/or passengers on your electric bike. There are racks, bags, baskets, boxes, backpacks, messenger bags, and trailers for carrying cargo.
For carrying kids there are racks and kidseats along with trailers. If you are going to be regularly carrying a lot of cargo and/or passengers an electric cargo bike may be the way to go.
Here is an article with a more in depth look at the gear that is available for cargo and passengers.
An electric bike is one of the most affordable electric vehicles on that market that can provide a lot of daily utility in commuting and errand running in addition to being a lot of fun to ride!
If you are in the market for an electric car/truck then it makes a lot of sense to consider your options and do the math on an electric car/truck or electric bike purchase. You might be surprised.
It’s also important to remember that it’s not all about the money. The lifestyle benefits of an electric bike like exercise, no traffic jams, and no parking problems can add up to a big life upgrade.
Enjoy your rides!