One of the things that I wanted to know when I was recently looking to buy a new electric bike was how much I should expect to pay for it. So, I did some research to find out more about electric bike prices.
So, how much do electric bikes cost? The price of an electric bike can range from $600 to well over $10,000. If you want a high-quality electric bike then you should expect to pay no less than $2000.
The prices of electric bikes can come as a surprise to most people but there are actually a number of factors that increase the cost of electric bikes that ordinary bikes don’t have to deal with.
What Influences The Cost of An E-Bike
Since electric bikes are still in their early stages there are smaller production volumes for e-bikes than there are with ordinary bikes which can drive the price up in a number of ways.
By having a small production volume it reduces the ability of the manufacturer to benefit from economies of scale which are cost savings made from being able to do things in bulk.
The lower volumes mean that the costs of the parts per bike are higher, the cost of training employees is marginally higher, the cost of transporting the bikes is higher and the lower volumes mean that the manufacturers are less capable of getting a good rate with wholesalers. All of this things factor into the prices of electric bikes being higher.
But in addition to that, there are some additional costs that electric bikes must deal with that can significantly raise the cost of the bike.
Below I will go detail what these costs are and why they are there.
- Power of the motor
There are two main types of electric bike and those are pedal assist and throttle assist. Pedal assist e-bikes work by giving you an extra push each time you pedal. If you were to imagine what it would be like to cycle a bike with super strong legs then that is sort of how it feels like to cycle a pedal assist bike. Throttle assist electric bikes work by making one of the wheels turn when you twist or push on a throttle.
In both of these cases, they make use of an electric motor to make the bike go faster. On pedal assist electric bikes the motor can be placed on one of the wheels which is called a “hub motor’ or it can be placed where you pedal called a “mid-drive motor”. Throttle assist electric bikes will only make use of a hub motor on either the front wheel or the back wheel.
Hub motors work by spinning whichever wheel it is placed on and the mid-drive motor works by powering the drivetrain on the bike.
There are a number of advantages to be had with mid-drive motors such as being able to work in coordination with the bikes gears which can be especially helpful when climbing hills.
When it comes to adding to the cost of the bike, it is the power of the motor that will drive the price up or down. Currently, in the United States, the motors are limited to 750 watts but a standard motor on an electric bike will be 250 watts.
The more power there is in the motor the more the motor will drive the cost of the e-bike up. The main reason for this is that higher rated motors will normally generate more power allowing for the bike to accelerate faster and be more responsive.
The amount of power that you will need from the motor will depend largely on the conditions in which you will be using the e-bike. If you expect to be cycling up hills often then having an e-bike that has a lot of power to push you up the hills with will be beneficial but if you live on flat terrain then it won’t be so necessary. You should also be aware that the more power in the motor the more power it is going to need from the battery. So, if you plan on cycling longer distances then you might want to consider a lower rated motor (and a long-range battery).
The battery is the biggest factor in driving the cost of an electric bike up. The cost of a lithium battery for an e-bike can be as high as $800. With the price varying largely based on its capacity, how many recharging cycles it will last for and how far it will allow you to cycle the e-bike.
Most electric bikes have a range of between 20-50 miles with some of the recent more premium models claiming to have a range of over 100 miles. The range that you will actually be able to get out of the battery will largely depend on the conditions in which you cycle the bike. The amount of weight you are carrying, the number of hills you climb, the level of power assistance you use, the speed at which you cycle and the terrain that you cycle on will all have an effect on how far you can go on a single charge. You can read more about how to go further on a single charge here.
With some of the big name battery manufacturers entering the e-bike market in recent years, the cost of batteries could start to go down but it’s not a given.
When buying an electric bike it is important to take how far you plan to travel on it and with what level of power assistance you will be using into consideration. If you plan on cycling long distances or you plan on using the maximum level of power assistance then you’ll probably want to get a battery with an extended range with the bike. Most e-bike manufacturers have options to upgrade to a bigger battery when buying the bike.
Another thing to be aware of is that some of the more premium electric bikes actually come with dual batteries. This is where the bike has two battery slots on it so that you can make use of two batteries when using the bike. This is something that can raise the price by a large amount e-bikes with dual batteries will often start at $5000.
- Quality of the parts
The quality and type of components that the bike is made out of will also play a factor in the cost of the bike.
Generally, the lighter, stronger and more specialized the component is the higher the cost for that part is going to be. This is because they will normally function better than the cheaper counterparts. An example would be the use of hydraulic disk brakes instead of rubber disk pads or even ordinary disk brakes. When using an electric bike you will generally be cycling faster than on an ordinary bike so the use of high-quality brakes will be important.
When choosing an electric bike to buy it is important to consider the quality of its component parts. If you plan on cycling the bike regularly, quickly or in demanding conditions then having good quality components will be important and you should factor that into your budget for the bike.
- The Frame
Another factor that is going to influence the cost of the bike is the materials used to make the frame with. Generally, the lighter and stronger the material that the frame of the bike is made from the higher the cost of the bike will be. Most e-bike frames will be made from aluminum but some of the higher end ones will be made from carbon fiber.
The quality of the frame is something that you should consider when getting the bike since it can have a large impact on how the bike handles and on its weight.
In addition to the cost of the e-bike, there will be some ongoing maintenance costs that you should keep in mind when considering getting an e-bike.
In order to continue to use the e-bike it will be necessary for you to charge the battery. Thankfully, the batteries on electric bikes can easily be charged using a mains outlet and they are cheap to charge.
In a report done at electricbikereport.com it was found that the cost to charge an electric bike for a 12-mile trip was just 2.94 cents during on-peak hours and 0.75 cents during off-peak hours. Obviously, the cost of charging for you will depend on how much electricity costs in your area but it’s still likely to be very cheap.
With that being said, another factor you need to consider when thinking about the charging cost is the battery life. Yes, it’s true that the charging cost is going to be very low but it becomes a lot higher when you consider that the battery will need replacing after 500 full charging cycles.
One commenter in the article above mentioned that his battery has a range of 30 miles, lasts for 500 cycles and costs $500 to have rebuilt. When you consider that the cost to go 30 miles would actually be one dollar. Which still isn’t very high but it means that you won’t really be reducing the gas costs on your car with an e-bike so it is something that you should consider.
One area where electric bike costs will be much lower than with cars is with repair costs. As you use the bike over time some of the parts will wear down and need to be repaired or replaced. The brakes will become loose and need to be tightened, the tires will need to be replaced or you might buckle a wheel and need to get a new one.
Thankfully, since electric bikes are just like a normal bike but with electric motors, you will be able to have the bike be repaired in a bike shop. This means that the cost of repairing the bike should not be too high. Compare that to what it would cost you to repair a car and you’ll see that the cost to repair an e-bike isn’t really that high.
- Battery replacement
What is probably the biggest on-going cost of owning an electric bike is in battery replacement costs. The batteries that are used in electric bikes are normally Lithium batteries that can provide a lot of power to the motor, recharge quickly and last for a comparatively long time. Despite this, their costs are still reasonably high. To replace the battery on an electric bike you should expect to be spending $500-$800 depending on the capacity and range that your battery has.
The batteries on electric bikes typically are rated to last for 500 full charging cycles with some of them claiming to last for 1000 charging cycles. There are some things that you can do to prolong the life of that battery which includes good battery maintenance and maximizing the distance that you can get out of the battery so that you need to charge it less often.
Prices of the Different Types of E-Bikes
There are a number of different types of e-bikes that can have different price ranges. Below I will detail the uses and rough prices that you can expect to pay for them.
- Cruiser e-bikes
The purpose of these types of e-bikes is to be used in a relaxed manner. They are meant to be used when riding along a bike path perhaps on the beach or at a park. Their wheels are wider than normal, and their handlebars go out wide as well, they have big soft seats and have an upright riding style.
Cruiser e-bikes can cost anywhere between $1000-$3000
- Commuter e-bikes
Commuter e-bikes are designed to make cycling longer distances easier. These types of e-bikes have handlebars used on mountain bikes and the wheels used by road bikes.
Commuter e-bikes cost from $1500 and can go up to $7000 for the premium options with dual batteries
- Comfort e-bikes
These are similar to cruiser e-bikes except their handlebars extend backward rather than out to the side.
Comfort e-bikes cost between $1000-$3000
- Mountain e-bikes
Mountain e-bikes are designed just like regular mountain bikes are except with a battery and a motor. They have grippy tires, a more aggressive riding position, front or dual suspension and usually will have good brakes.
You might be able to find a reasonably good electric mountain bike for between $1000-$2000 but to get a more reliable one you should expect to pay closer to $3000. The higher end electric bikes can cost between $4000 – $8000 and there are even a handful that go for over $10,000.
- Folding e-bikes
Folding electric bikes are designed to be able to be folded so that they take up less space and can be transported more easily. They can come in a variety of forms including folding mountain bikes and mini folding bikes which are designed to take up the least amount of space possible.
Folding electric bikes go for between $900 – $2000
- Racing e-bikes
These types of e-bikes are designed to be cycled as fast as possible. They have handlebars that bend forwards, thin tires and light frames.
Racing electric bikes start at $2000 and can go for over $7000
As an alternative to buying an electric bike outright many people opt to turn their own bike into an electric bike by making use of a conversion kit. I have written in depth about how conversion kits work before but here are the basics.
Conversion kits are a set of components that you can buy to turn your bike into an e-bike. This will normally include a wheel with a motor, wires and a throttle. You will also normally have to buy the battery separately. Some conversion kits also come with an LCD.
The main benefits of using conversion kits are that they are cheaper than pre-made e-bikes, you can use it on your own bike and they give your bike a lot of extra power. The problems with conversion kits are that they often can’t be used in the rain, you have to do it yourself, you might get the wrong battery for the motor and they are generally not as efficient as the pre-made e-bikes that you can get from a bike shop.
If you want to convert your bike into an e-bike by using a conversion kit then you should expect to pay $600 for the kit and the battery.
Things to consider
When you’re looking to buy an electric bike it may be tempting to get one that is cheaper but there are some considerations you should make before doing so.
When using an electric bike you will normally be cycling at higher speeds than you would be on an ordinary bike due to the electric motor. This means that it will be important that you can rely on the components of the bike to work when you want them to. But, cheaper bikes use cheaper parts that are less durable and less well equipped to be able to function properly at higher speeds.
Cheap bikes also make use of cheaper batteries that will not last as long. Even though you will be paying less upfront you will not be able to get as much range out of the battery and it will need to be replaced sooner. This means that despite the lower upfront cost you might not save in the long run.
How far do electric bikes go? Typically, electric bikes will have a claimed range of between 20-50 miles. The actual range that you will be able to get will depend largely on the size of the motor, how fast you cycle, on what level of assistance you cycle, the terrain you cycle on and the age of the battery.
How fast do electric bikes go? Electric bikes will normally be able to go up to 20 mph before the motor stops providing assistance sometimes the max speed will be 28 mph and in Europe, the max speed is 15.4 mph due to EU laws.