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If I replace my car with an eBike, how much money can I save?

If I replace my car with an eBike, how much money can I save?

May 04, 2022 | Becky Vordermann

EBikes (electric bikes) are an excellent mode of transportation. They allow those that ride them to go up to 28 MPH with minimal effort through pedal assist and throttle functions. They often come with lights. If they do not, it’s easy enough to attach light systems to them for riding early in the morning or after sunset. eBikes can be fitted with tires and fenders that are safe for dry and wet riding conditions. Racks, bags, and trailer systems make them capable of transporting a variety of items around town. 

All those features mean that an eBike might be able to  completely replace your car, depending on where you live and work. If you are considering trading your car you may wonder how much money you can save, by doing so. In this article, we are going to look at which costs are cut when you buy an eBike to replace your car, and what costs you should expect in maintaining your eBike. We will also look at tips for helping you ensure an eBike meets all your travel needs, and the limitations you may experience after trading your car for an eBike. 

If you are considering trading your car for an eBike or are just a little curious about the potential savings, read on.

What costs can I cut by eBiking instead of driving?

EBiking is very affordable, once you get past the initial expense of purchasing an eBike. Quality, serviceable eBikes start at more than $1,000. This may seem like a lot to some, but it is much less than one would pay for even the most basic reliable car. If you have a car currently and sell it, you will likely have enough to purchase your eBike, plus any accessories you may need, and still have some cash left over. 

In addition to cutting costs with your initial purchase, eBiking eliminates other ongoing expenses from your budget. If you have an eBike, you will charge your bike’s battery by plugging it into a standard wall outlet. The cost of electricity to charge the bike is well below the amount one would spend on gasoline or diesel to fuel a car. Electric bikes do not require oil, transmission fluid, coolant, or most other fluids used regularly in car maintenance. Best of all? Depending on where you charge, it might even be free!

Say goodbye to oil changes, tire rotations, and brake jobs

If you are like me and typically pay someone to change your oil and service your vehicle’s brakes, transmission, and more, those expenses can be lowered by reducing your miles driven annually, or eliminated entirely if you stop driving completely. Bike shops often charge rates for their mechanical services too, but they are significantly less than those associated with maintaining an automobile. 

Tires, brakes, and other components need to be replaced on bikes just as they do with cars. Typically the cost of renewing these items on a bike is below that of a car. Just like with a car, these components are offered in varying quality in a wide price range. Still the best components for a bike significantly less expensive than those on a car.

The IRS deductible mileage rate for 2022 is about $0.58 per mile driven - i.e. that's a reasonable estimate of how much it actually costs to drive one mile, including fuel, insurance, and maintenance. An eBike can be operated for fractions of that! 

Save on parking, too

If you commute by bike in the city where there are meters, lots, and garages that charge parking fees, transitioning to an eBike may save you heaps. Parking in major cities can cost hundreds of dollars per month!

Many eBikes are light enough to carry up to your office. If you choose to lock them outdoors, you will want to take your battery off to charge and make sure you have a reliable locking system to secure your bike. Many companies throughout the nation in city environments offer areas to store your bike safely during the day. 

eBiking instead of driving can save you a lot of money. It can make a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly difference to your finances. The savings in cost often begin the first day of your purchase. 

What does it cost to maintain an eBike for regular use?

The cost of maintaining an eBike is far less than that of maintaining a car. Most casual DIY'ers can handle all the day to day requirements - simple tasks like topping off the tire pressure or adding a little chain lube. . Just like a car, it is recommended that you have your bike tuned and serviced regularly, so it works properly. It is wise to have a standard tune up done every 6 months, if you ride your bike regularly. This can cost anywhere from $60-$200 depending on the time and services offered by your bike mechanic. 

No product used daily is perfect, but most eBikes can last the rider's lifetime, needing only consumables like brake pads and tires occassionally to keep running smooth. One component that won't have a lifetime warranty is your eBike battery. Just like your cell phone or laptop computer, eBike batteries have a lifespan - after many hundreds of charging cycles, you'll start to notice diminished capacity.

Overall, if your bike doesn't have anything break unexpectedly or need a major repair the costs to maintain your eBike should be minimal. 

What about kids? Can I transport kids with an eBike? How about groceries?

A question one may have if they are considering trading their car for an eBike may be “How will I transport my groceries, work supplies, kids, etc. if I give up my car?” This is a fair question and there are many excellent options available to eBikers for transporting everything from children to groceries. 

Today, there are many options for seats, racks, trailers, and bags for transporting kids and gear around the town. If you are hoping to transport 1-2 children when you travel on your eBike you will want to find a child seat or bike trailer. I personally am a fan of Burley and Thule child chariots. They are very high quality and can be used with an eBike.

Both Thule and Burley, along with other retailers of varying qualities and prices also offer child seats. Child seat attachments typically only seat one child though, which may be limiting. These options for transporting kids are ideal for younger children. If you have an older child that is capable of pedaling their own bike you may encourage them to ride their own bike where you go. This can help promote a healthy and active lifestyle for your child, which is always a positive thing. 

 Many eBikes come with racks for transporting goods or gear. Some people may choose to attach bags to their racks or a box of some sort to better transport their goods. Many retailers offer standard options for panniers or rack bags. There are also numerous custom bag makers that can make bike bags that suit your rack.

Bike bags can be fitted to many other areas of your bike to aid in carrying everything from work materials to groceries. These bags can be fitted to the top tube of your bike (if it has one), frame, handlebars, and rack. Handlebar bags and top tube bags are great for carrying smaller items such as a phone or keys. Frame bags and panniers are often larger and allow you to carry books, a laptop, and more. Some riders may also choose to use a messenger bag or backpack to carry items. 

You may have less space traveling by eBike for gear and supplies than in a car, but many have found that accessories allow you to travel with plenty. Add a rack, trailer, or bags to your bike and you may be surprised how much you can transport.

Another money and time-saving strategy is to apply some of the cost savings associated with your eBike toward a grocery delivery service. That's smart!

What are some limitations I may encounter by replacing my car with an eBike?

There are unfortunately some limitations to traveling by eBike instead of a car. Your speed, distance traveled, and what you can transport may all be limited. 

eBike’s are limited in how fast they can go. Depending on the eBike and where you live can determine the speed you can reach on an eBike. Many eBikes can go somewhere between 15mph and 28mph. This speed may vary depending on your use of pedal assist or the throttle. Often, if you are using pedal assist you can go faster than if you are only using the throttle. 

The distance you can travel is limited to the life of your battery.  Ebike range varies based on battery size and what mode of pedal assist is being used, and if the throttle is engaged. If you are only using the throttle, then you will use your battery’s life much sooner than if you are using the lowest level of pedal assist.

Weather can also effect battery life. When it is colder out, eBike batteries do not typically last as long.  Most eBikes have a range somewhere between 20 and 75 miles. 

Riding an eBike limits what you can transport. As we discussed earlier there are many accessories available for riders to use on their bike to carry passengers or gear. Even with these items on your bike you still are limited to what you can carry on an eBike.

It would be difficult to transport lumber or furniture with an eBike. That being said, renting a truck for the day occasionally for that type of use is much easier to swallow when you don't have a regular car payment to make.

What type of eBike can replace my car?

eBikes are widely available for all disciplines of biking. There are road eBikes, mountain eBikes, hybrid eBikes, fat eBikes, and more. If you are replacing your car with an eBike you will want an eBike that is versatile and flexible.

Denago's City Model 1 eBikes, for example, offer both pedal assist and throttle modes - very useful if you are carrying a load and need an extra boost. The bike has the capability of attaching bags to it or a rack or trailer to help you transport goods, as well. 

Conclusion

Overall, eBikes are awesome. They are a sustainable and affordable option for commuting on. They are very capable of replacing a car entirely for many riders. eBikes can greatly reduce your overall transportation costs every day, week, month, and year. The initial cost of setting up an eBike as your mode of transportation is less than a car. The cost of maintaining it is less, too. You also completely eliminate the cost of fuel!

There are some limitations that come with trading your car for an eBike. These include limited space for transporting gear or passengers, a limited range, and limitations on maximum speed. These limitations are not a big deal to many, especially those that live and work in the city. If you are looking for a way to reduce your cost of transportation and be more sustainable, check out an eBike!