Imagine leaving your car at home, saving hundreds of dollars a month on gas.
An electric bike can help you do that, but you may wonder why more people haven’t made the switch.
Here are some reasons why not everyone has started using electric bikes:
Electric Bikes are Expensive
One of the most significant reasons why electric bikes aren’t more popular is that they can be very expensive.
Some even cost as much as $10,000 or more. The most expensive electric bikes may have features that not everyone needs, but even the simplest bikes could be out of your budget.
On the other hand, you can find plenty of standard bikes for less than $200. Yes, that includes models for kids as well as some adult bikes.
Not only is the high price a barrier, but you have to use it more to make the purchase worth it. Meanwhile, a regular bike could pay for itself within a few months based on saving gas money.
Electric Bikes Don’t Qualify for Commuter Tax Benefits
If you must commute to work, you may be able to write off those transportation costs on your taxes.
Depending on how far you have to commute, you could save a lot of money on your taxes yearly.
Unfortunately, you can’t write off expenses associated with electric bikes, at least not in the US. If you’re used to saving hundreds of dollars each year, losing the commuter tax benefit could hurt.
You could deduct up to $600 per month: $300 for parking and $300 for highway motor vehicle transportation or a bus pass.
If you switch to the electric bike, sure you may save some money.
However, most of us wouldn’t save nearly that much, especially once we account for the upfront cost of the new bike.
The Purpose of an Electric Bike
Another thing to remember is what makes many people want to ride a bike.
When I think of a bike, I think of the chance to exercise, and I know I’m not alone.
If you start riding an electric bike, you won’t get to stay in shape. The bike will do most of the work, which may seem a good thing initially.
However, you might not have time to work out before or after work if you’re busy. Your commute might be the only time you have to get active.
Switching from a regular bike to an eBike could take that away from you. Sure, you may need to pedal occasionally if your bike is low on battery, but that won’t happen all of the time.
Electric Bikes Aren’t Helpful on Flat Terrain
A lot of people that ride bikes rather than drive cars are people who live in cities. Unless you live somewhere like San Francisco, you might not have a lot of hills.
If you encounter many hills, an electric bike would be useful. However, if you primarily ride on flat roads to and from work, you may have no problem with pedaling yourself.
While an electric bike could be useful in the suburbs or rural areas, it has other problems. Your commute may be too long for an eBike to come in handy.
The Electric Bike’s Range
You should also consider how much range you can get from a single charge.
The average electric bike can get about 62 to 74 miles of range before you need to recharge it.
That might be okay for some people who have shorter commutes. However, if your commute is more than 30 miles one way, you may run out of battery before you return home.
Even if you can go more than a day between charges, you still must remember to charge your bike. Otherwise, you’d need to pedal it yourself, thus negating the benefits of it being electric.
Plus, you’ll need a good place to store the bike while you charge it. That way, it will be close enough to a power source but also in a secure location where thieves can’t get to it.
Electric Bikes are Harder to Store
Finding a place to leave your bike can be much harder to store an electric bike than a regular one.
eBikes tend to be much heavier, so you can’t lift them up as easily and store them on a bike rack in your garage.
It will also be much harder to bring your bike inside your apartment building and up the stairs to your unit. When you’re at work, you may be unable to store your bike in a corner.
You can leave your bike on a bike rack out in the open. However, that can attract thieves because your electric bike is worth much more than a regular bike.
If you want to use a bike rack at home or out and about, be sure you have two bike locks. That way, you can deter people by forcing them to take more steps to get to your bike.
Electric Bikes are Not for All Weather Conditions
Like a traditional bike, an electric bike isn’t an ideal transportation method all year.
If you live somewhere that experiences all seasons, you may only want to use the bike in the spring and fall.
It could get too hot in the summer, and the winter could bring extremely cold temperatures, snow, and ice. That means you’ll have fewer days to use it, making it take longer to pay for itself in savings on gas or car maintenance.
Even if you don’t live somewhere with extreme summers or winters, you may still get rain. I don’t know anyone who wants to ride a bike in the rain.
So unless you live in Los Angeles or another city with a similar climate, your eBike could go unused for much of the year.
Electric Bikes have High Insurance Costs
In the US, you may not need insurance on your electric bike. However, you may want to insure your bike, especially if you buy one of the more expensive models.
Purchasing an eBike insurance policy means spending more money on it each month. As mentioned, if you don’t use your bike during the winter, you could waste money insuring it during that season.
Even if you do use your bike, the insurance policy could wipe away any savings you get by switching from a car to an eBike. And with all of the other reasons why they aren’t more popular, you may decide the bike isn’t worth it.
Now, you may be able to add your bike to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. However, that will still usually result in a higher premium.
Electric Bikes Require Specialized Maintenance
Like any other vehicle, your eBike can break or need regular maintenance. If you manage to make your bike last about three years, you may need to replace the battery.
While you could attempt some maintenance yourself, you may want to take it to a professional. Unfortunately, you may not have many options if you live in a smaller city or town.
Compare that to a car mechanic, which is easier to find. Plus, you can find multiple auto shops in small cities, so you can shop around to get the best deal.
The cost to maintain your eBike can also add up over its lifetime. Be sure you have some savings in case you have an emergency.
Electric Bikes have Higher Speed Collisions
You can go about 10 to 14 miles per hour when riding a regular bike.
However, some of the top electric bikes can surpass 20 miles per hour or even 30 miles per hour, more than double the speed of a traditional bike.
That means you could get into accidents at higher speeds. You may face more severe injuries if you do, and your bike could experience more damage.
Riding faster seems fun, and it can be, but you need to be more careful about where you ride and how you turn and keep your eyes on the road to stay safe.
Of course, you can be in a high-speed collision with a car, even on a traditional bike. However, you can’t control what others do on the road.
Electric Bikes Can’t Fit Much
Depending on why you want an electric bike, the size may keep it from being the right fit.
Sure, it can be a great way to work independently or run a few small errands.
However, you can’t bring any people with you like you could if you drove a car or rode the bus. If you like to carpool with your coworkers, you’ll find that you can’t ride your eBike to do so.
You also won’t have much room to store any items you buy at the grocery store or pharmacy. That means electric bikes are best for individuals going to and from somewhere without the intent to buy anything.
Of course, regular bikes have many of these same issues, so it’s not unique to eBikes. Still, consider how you plan to use an eBike to make sure it’s the right form of transportation for you.