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Can an e-bike replace a car?

09. Juli 2018 14:06:48 CEST

In today's blog, we will discuss the possibility of replacing your car with an e-bike. We will follow the store of one American who claims that it is possible, but it depends on certain factors.

Eric lives in San Francisco for three years. He knew that owning a car is expensive there and decided to go the other way, to sell a car and buy an e-bike instead. So, why did he decide on such a thing?

1. It is very expensive to own a car in SF

Growing gas prices are not the only problem. Dor a young driver, insurance is quite expensive, let's add maintenance and parking cost to that... total expenses exceed $5000 annually.

2. Driving in the city and searching for a parking spot are very frustrating

There are two aspects of driving in the city which show that we are talking about a very frustrating and stressful experience: traffic jams and parking. Of course, Eric's car is very fast on the highway, but his rides were usually from home to work, shopping and gym. The one-way trip is around 7 km long plus since SF is very uneven, it includes some serious slopes.


Before Eric sold his car, he went to a bicycle shop and tried an e-bike. His greatest doubt was that e-bike is just a heavy bicycle on which a 250W motor won't provide any significant assistance.

Yet, as he rode an e-bike, Eric changed his mind, he was impressed by how easy it was to ride uphill and ride parallel to other cars without any sweat. After a test ride, still very impressed with the experience, Eric went home and in the following few days sold his car. He was still doubtful that the idea will work. Next day he went to the shop and rented an e-bike for a day to test it on certain routes. After a steep climb on the 17th Street, which was very smooth, Eric decided to purchase it.

Here are Eric's opinions and experience:

1. Owning an e-bike is much cheaper than owning a car

In the end, the e-bike costs 20 times less than a car (annually)

Here are annual expense comparisons for a car and an e-bike


Insurance: $2600

Maintenance: $1000

Parking: $200

Parking registration: $117

Registration: $150

Fuel: $1200

Total: $5200


Maintenance: $200 max

Fuel: $60

2. Less time to get from point A to point B

Despite the fact that e-bike is much more affordable than a car in the first place, riding through the city is considerably faster, it cannot be compared with other transportation types. E-bike accelerates very quickly and the riding speed is the same as the car's (due to traffic). It is very easy to accelerate and maintain a constant speed, even uphill.

Faster than a car? Unbelievable, but yes. Cars are generally much faster than an e-bike, but there are other factors which affect the trip time. Many cars stop at a traffic light, in a row, one behind the other while a cyclist stops just in front of the light like there is no traffic. So, how much „faster“ is an e-bike? We will find out with the following test: Eric traveled the same 5 km route with different vehicles and measured the time.

Vehicle Time

Car 18min

Public transport 48 min

Bike 27 min

E-bike 15 min

As we can see, e-bike ride takes 3 minutes less than a car ride.

3. You move, but do not sweat

Every cyclist knows how it is to arrive sweaty to work every day... With an e-bike you still use some power, but much less, it feels like walking, yet you are actually moving much faster.