It can be done. Modern lifestyles can be lived without the often shocking and depressing running costs of motor vehicle ownership. We have several customers who have been able to give up car ownership - or at least give up their second family car - thanks to their electric bike. Some of our staff members don't drive and use their e-bike for most journeys.
Is e-biking really a saving on driving?
At today's prices, one litre of unleaded petrol costs a jaw-dropping 165p. The average cost of 500wh of electricity in UK homes is about 15p; almost 12 times cheaper.
Take the maths further and for £5, the average car goes 15 miles. That could get me from Coulsdon to London. That same £5 used to purchase domestic electricity supply for my e-bike would give me enough charge to go 3125 miles. I could cycle a route from London through Europe to Jerusalem!
If you're serious about saving money, replacing as many car journeys as you can with e-biking makes so much sense.
List out your most common journeys
Think about the car journeys you have taken in the last two weeks. Then think about the car journeys you're likely to take in the next two weeks. The likelihood is that these are going to be the car journeys that you'll regularly take all year long.
List these car journeys out. Which of these journeys is under 7 miles? Highlight these journeys. You might be surprised how many there are. These are the easiest car journeys to replace with an electric bike, and research suggests that electric bikes are the fastest mode of transport for this length of journey. Seven miles would take an e-biker 30 minutes or under (door-to-door).
What can I carry?
Electric bikes can carry a lot more than conventional bikes though this varies with each model. For models like the Haibike Trekking electric bikes, you could expect to carry around three full shopping bags on the rear rack (20-25kg). You'll need a set of good panniers of course.
Many people, including our own staff members, have adjusted their shopping habits to their electric bike. Rather than one big shop with the car, electric bike riders find it easy to make quick detours and stops when they spot a shop they need. If you're on the way back from let's say a doctor's appointment on your e-bike, it's so easy to stop off when you pass a row of shops to pick up a few bits for dinner.
What about passengers?
For passengers, or heavy cargo (tools, equipment, deliveries) you will want an electric cargo bike. Something like a Tern GSD can carry up to 100kg on the rear rack which means there's very little you can't carry on it!
We have customers who use their Tern GSD for taking two children to school before riding off to work. They are very practical bikes since they can be stored upright to save space in the house or garage.
For even larger loads
If you need to carry even larger loads, the Gazelle Makki Load can carry up to 250kg in the front.
Made by the the largest bicycle manufacturer in the Netherlands, the Makki Load has a classic cargo bike design but with the power of a Bosch Cargo Line motor.
This cargo motor is specifically designed to help with pushing off the mark. No matter how much you're carrying, the first pedal stroke won't leave you struggling.
What if I don't need to carry anything for these journeys?
Well, then the options are practically limitless. Even a folding electric bike is capable of most urban journeys in that sweet spot of 7 miles and under.
While the initial investment in an electric bike is large, what you're also buying is the peace of mind that running costs are so low. Charging an electric bike costs around 15p for a full charge, which could get you 60 miles or so.
Take five minutes to carry out an inventory of your weekly car journeys. Which ones could you take by electric bike instead? The potential savings could be huge.
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