The best thing about e-bikes...

Hey everyone,

I'm giving a presentation about ebikes on Thursday night at our city outdoors center. I was wondering if there any unique facts or stories about ebikes that you think I should share, especially to people that are new to them.

Wow, that sounds awesome Chandlee! Makes me think of the seminars that Turbo Bob puts on in Southern California (flyer attached). It's a great way to build community and help people understand and approach ebikes. Here are some thoughts I've had regarding your question:
  • Electric bikes make financial sense because they work with existing infrastructure (electricity, paved roads and sidwalks), don't require government subsidies (this will please the conservative mindset) and they cost very little to charge (usually ~$0.20 for an average sized 36 volt 10 amp hour pack assuming $0.10 per kWh)
    • Average sized pack 36 volts 10 amp hours capacity = 360 watt hours / 1,000 = 0.36 kWh (kilowatt hours). Since most ebikes require a four to five hour charge from empty 4.5 * 0.36 = 1.62 kWh. Using an average cost of electricity of $0.10 per kWh the full charge would cost $0.162
  • A rider can also save money with an electric bike by foregoing insurance (though it is available for ~200 per year) and not having a driver's license because they are classified as bicycles in most states (staying below 20mph in throttle mode and < 750 watt motor)
  • At a personal level, electric bikes (or regular bikes) expose you to the outdoors where there may be fresh air and the opportunity to make new friends in the community. They also provide the option to pedal and get a cardiovascular workout which is important for mental and physical wellbeing.
  • Ebikes are much better for the environment (the quality of air we breath) and congestion (ebikes are easier to park, and less expensive to park) in cities. There are resources available to help users recycle batteries and most manufacturers sell replacements so you can make the bike last! Lithium-ion type batteries usually provide ~1,000 cycles before degrading and losing range.
  • Electric bikes range from $500 to over $10,000 but an average price for quality equipment is $3,000 after taxes. If you replaced a car commute of 10 miles per day with an ebike and assumed a gas price of $3.50 and MPG of 25 miles you could pay back the cost of the bike (assuming 260 working days, no interest payments if ebike is purchased on loan, no repairs on bike or car and not factoring in savings on insurance etc. if you replaced your car) in about 8.7 years based on the price of gas alone.
    • 260 days * 10 miles = 2,600 miles / 25 mpg = 104 gallons of gas * $3.50 cost of gas = $364 vs. electricity cost at same distance (assuming $0.20 for 25 mile range = $0.008 per mile) so 2,600 miles * $0.008 = $20.80. The difference is 343.2. So assuming $3,000 cost of new ebike the payback period is 8.74 years if you could be driving a paid off car using gas (help me out if it seems like I'm missing something). The argument becomes much more compelling when you realize the true costs of owning a car vs. a bike, most people calculate a payback period of ~3 years like FitzChivalry here.
On to stories! One time, I got really into electric bikes and made this website about them... Turns out there were some other people also interested and I made some new friends that way. True story ;)

In many cities there are night rides and other special events where ebike owners meetup and share fun rides. Rocket Electrics does this all the time in Austin Texas, they meetup at the community event center where there are concerts and food truck nights and then they take rides around. Recently for the winter holidays in Huntington Beach, Pedego lead a similar night ride and I've posted a fun video below:



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I came up with 2.9 years for my bike, assuming 4 days riding/week, 21 miles each way. I factored in estimated actual repairs on my car over three years (actually, repairs on two cars, divided by two... but in reality most of the repairs were on my car). The government pays (I think) $0.52/mile for driving your own vehicle. This includes compensation for depreciation, maintenance, repairs, and fuel. It's maybe a little high to use as a rule of thumb (I think the gov't is generous with their allotment), but not a ridiculous number to use.
Great initiative Chandlee,
Once the weather becomes warmer, I think we should start "Electric Bike Appreciation Week". If all of us post lots of pictures, stories etc on Facebook, Instagram with #ebike , it could become a trending topic and create even more visibility.

I remember reading this post from New Wheel and it sort of convinced me that for people living in cities like D.C, SF, NYC, Ebikes are the best choice. Actually faster than traveling by car and saves a ton of money. As mentioned by Brambor and Fitz, one could get the investments back in a year or two.

Here is the article:

Also, as one ages, we have problems like arthritis, cardiac malfunction etc, but many such problems can be significantly reduced. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article from electricbike.
Huge fan of TED.
TED+ Ebikes = uber bingo.
PLEASE share the link when you receive it. Was it a TEDx event at Univ of Tennessee or something?